Dzogchen Monastery

Dzogchen Monastery is one of the "Six Mother Monasteries" of the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. It is located in Kham within modern day Dêgê County, Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan, China. Dzogchen Monastery was founded by Pema Rigdzin, 1st Dzogchen Rinpoche (1625-1697) in 1684. It became especially renowned for its Sri Singha Shedra, which was established by Gyelsé Zhenpen Tayé during the time of Mingyur Namkhé Dorje, 4th Dzogchen Rinpoche shortly after the monastery was almost totally destroyed by an earthquake in 1842. Among the great masters to have lived and taught at Dzogchen are Khenpo Pema Vajra, Patrul Rinpoche, Jamgon Ju Mipham Gyatso and Khenpo Shenga. It eventually grew into the largest Nyingma monastery of all time. During the time of Thubten Chökyi Dorje, 5th Dzogchen Rinpoche (1872-1935), Dzogchen Monastery was at the peak of its activity, with up to five hundred monks residing, 13 retreat centres, and an estimated two hundred and eighty branches - a gathering of which would have seen tens of thousands of lamas, tulkus, khenpos, monks and nuns. Throughout the year, an extensive array of complex ritual ceremonies were accomplished. Dzogchen was also one of the most famous centres of sacred ritual dance, now commonly known as lama dancing. Dzogchen Monastery is also known as the principal repository of the Konchok Chidu cycle of the Jangter or "Northern Treasure", a prominent terma cycle revealed by tertön Jatson Nyingpo. The monastery's main temple was destroyed by fire in the second month of the Fire Mouse year (1936). It was rebuilt and then the whole monastery was destroyed by the Chinese in 1959. Since the early 1980s, the monastery has been undergoing reconstruction. It has 300 legally registered monks in residence, a nunnery, and about 750 others staying there temporarily for varying periods. Besides the monastery itself, the complex includes a shedra and school that teaches traditional Tibetan medicine. At Pema Tang there is a newly built retreat centre and temple complex situated deep in the Dzogchen valley. The centre is dedicated to the teaching and practice of the Dzogchen tradition.