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The History of Dzogchen Monastery

Lama Palace
The Lama Palace, home of Dzogchen Rinpoche and administrative building for the whole monastery, was reconstructed in the 1980s

Dzogchen monastery was founded in 1685 by HE Dzogchen Pema Rinzin. He was the most outstanding Dzogchen master of his time and Dzogchen teacher to His Holiness the Great Fifth Dalai Lama. Having received all the Dzogchen teachings, His Holiness instructed Pema Rinzin to travel to the Kham region of Eastern Tibet and found a monastery, so that the teachings might prosper.

Regarding the future monastery, His Holiness made the following prophesy (Rudam is the original name of the Dzogchen valley):

      As prophesied by Guru Rinpoche,
      Powerful lord yogi Pema
      Will establish a seat
      In eastern Dhokham,
      Gye, Rudam or Rawagar.
      Then wild folk will be tamed, 
      And the doctrine’s decline restored.

Following His Holiness’ instructions, Dzogchen Pema Rinzin travelled on foot to the Kham region with his two main students Ponlop Rinpoche and Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche. Having arrived at a spot close by the Rudam valley the masters stopped to have some tea. Pema Rinzin made an offering of the tea and put the offering cup on a nearby stone. Then, as the master watched, a crow flew down and picked up the cup in its beak and carried it off. They saw the crow disappear into an adjacent valley. The masters considered this an auspicious sign and they walked in the direction that the crow had flown. After a short time Pema Rinzin found the offering cup on a rock in the Rudam valley. It was on that spot that he founded Dzogchen Monastery.

Having established the monastery in the Rudam valley, Dzogchen Pema Rinzin spent the rest of his life giving guidance and empowerments of the Great Perfection teachings, and thousands of students gathered to practise with him. Engaging in meditative concentration, they would stay out throughout the night, completely covering the hillside behind the monastery.

Since its founding Dzogchen Monastery has had a total of thirteen abbots. The present throne holder, the Seventh Dzogchen Rinpoche, was enthroned in 2003, taking over from Kyabje Pema Kalsang Rinpoche, who was abbot for over forty years.

The following is the list of the succession of abbots of Dzogchen Monastery;        

  1. First Dzogchen Rinpoche Pema Rinzin. Read the biography
  2. First Ponlop Rinpoche Namkhar Osel.
  3. Second Dzogchen Rinpoche Gurme Thekchog Tenzin. Read the biography
  4. Master Pema Kundrol Namgyal.
  5. Third Dzogchen Rinpoche Ngedon Tenzin Zangpo. Read the biography
  6. Learned and Accomplished Namkhar Tsewang.
  7. Forth Dzogchen Rinpoche Migyur Namkhar Dorje. Read the biography
  8. Sovereign Lord of Buddha's Teachings Gyalse Zhenpen Tharye.
  9. Fifth Dzogchen Rinpoche Thupten Choki Dorje.  Read the biography
  10. Second Incarnation of Great Khenpo Pema Banza Dechog Dorje.
  11. Sixth Dzogchen Rinpoche Jigdral Changchup Dorje. Read the biography
  12. Third Pema Banza Kyabje Pema Kalsang Rinpoche. Read the biography
  13. Seventh Dzogchen Rinpoche Tenzin Longdock Nyima. Read the biography

 

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