The 9th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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Drigung Monastery (直贡梯寺)is a notable Monastery in the Lhasa Prefecture, Tibet founded in 1179. High in the Himalayan mountains, the Monastery stands at an elevation of 4150m and currently houses 250 to 300 Monks.
The Monastery (actually Drigungtil Ogmin Jangchubling Monastery (Wylie: ‘Bri-gung mthil ‘Og-min byang-chub gling); also Drikung Thil Monastery)) is named after its location in a valley about 150 km east from Lhasa, in Drigung district, and is the mother Monastery of the Drigung Kagyu (Drikung Kargyu) tradition.
It was founded in 1179 by the founder of that tradition, Drigung Kyobpa Jigten-gonpo-rinchenpel (Wylie: ‘Bri-gung sKyob-pa ‘Jig-rten dgon-po rin-chen dpal, also called Kyobpa Rinpoche, 1143-1217). The tradition emphasizes on its founders tantric Meditation and Phowa practices.
After being destroyed by Communists following the takeover of Tibet 1959, reconstruction works began in 1980. Additionally, the Drigung Kagyu traditions are now upheld at Jangchubling Drikung Kargyu Institute at Dehra Dun, Uttar Pradesh, India, founded in 1985.
A tradition in Tibetan Buddhism known as sky burials are commonly performed by Monks of the Monastery, and it has become one of the more notable aspects of the Monastery's culture wherein the bodies of the dead are put out for nature to decompose or for predatory birds to eat. As Buddhists believe in Reincarnation, there is no need, in their view, to preserve the corpses.