Tsadra Rinchen Drak

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Tsadra Rinchen Drak (Tib. རྩཱ་འདྲ་རིན་ཆེན་བྲག་, Wyl. tsā 'dra rin chen brag), 'the Jewel Cliff which resembles Tsari' — the sacred site above Palpung Monastery in Derge, Kham where Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Thayé founded his three-year retreat centre and hermitage. The site became Kongtrul's main residence, where he would write most of The Five Great Treasures, as well as the new seat of the Shangpa Kagyü tradition. It is considered to be one of the twenty-five holy places of east Tibet (Do-Kham), representing ‘the mind aspect of enlightened qualities’. Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa revealed the sacred site in 1859 and both him and Tertön Sogyal later revealed termas from its hillsides.

Situ Panchen Chökyi Jungné had founded a retreat centre and monastic residence there in the eighteenth century but, when Jamgön Kongtrul first visited the site in 1842, it was completely abandoned and in ruins. Jamgön Kongtrul restored a small hermitage for himself there and started a personal three-year retreat. He later built a small temple dedicated to Yangdak Heruka, following Chokling Rinpoche's revealed prophecy and advice, as well as a retreat centre, with the intention of leading three-year retreats in the spirit of the Rimé tradition. The first three-year retreat designed and led by Jamgön Kongtrul started in 1860 with five retreatants. Its three-year retreat cycles continued uninterruptedly until Kalu Rinpoche—the retreat master there since 1941—fled to India before the Chinese invasion in the mid 1950s. The centre was completely destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. It was later rebuilt in the 1980s, according to the guidance of Kalu Rinpoche and Jamgön Kongtrul Rinpoche. 1988 marked the new start of continuous three-year retreat cycles.

Further Reading

  • Ngawang Zangpo, Sacred Ground: Jamgon Kongtrul on "Pilgrimage and Sacred Geography," Snow Lion, 2001
  • Ngawang Zangpo, Jamgon Kongtrul's Retreat Manual, Snow Lion, 1994
  • Jamgön Kongtrul, The Autobiography of Jamgön Kongtrul: A Gem of Many Colors, translated by Richard Barron, Snow Lion, 2003

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