The 9th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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Six Mother Monasteries
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Six Mother Monasteries
Tradition has held that there are six Monasteries known as "mother Monasteries" of The Nyingma Lineage, although there have been slightly different formulations of the six.
At one Time they included;
Palri Monastery in Upper Tibet;
Dzogchen Monasteries in Lower Tibet.
After the decline of Chongye Palri Thegchog Ling Monastery and the flourishing of Shechen, the mother Monasteries became Dorje Drag and Mindroling in the upper region, Shechen and Dzogchen in the center, and Kathok and Palyul in the lower part of Tibet.
Dodrubchen is often substituted for Kathok in the list.
Out of these "main seats of the Nyingma" developed a large number of Nyingma Monasteries throughout Tibet, Bhutan and Nepal.
Six principal Nyingma Monasteries: Kathok, Pelyül, Dzogchen, Shechen, Mindrolling, and Dorje Drak.
The main Monastery of Kathok, which is situated in the region of Derge in East Tibet, was founded in 1159.
The full Name is Kathok Dorje Den because it is built on top of the syllable “GA” that naturally manifested on a smooth, white-coloured stone.
Dorje Den is Tibetan for the Sanskrit term Vajrasana, the Name of the holiest site of Buddhism in Bodhgaya where Lord Buddha attained Enlightenment.
Padmasambhava consecrated Kathok thirteen Times and said that it was a supreme holy place for the dissemination of the teachings of Yeshe Tsogyal In Tibet.
The Rangjung Yeshe Dictionary furthermore writes that “the Kathok Nyingma Lineage is analogous to the essence of the most refined gold. (…)
In the centuries of Kathok’s history, there have been a total of 123 accomplished masters.
For hundreds of years, the Kathok Nyingmapas had Monasteries all over Tibet, Bhutan, India, Sikkim, Mongolia, as well as China.
During the ancient Times, there were over 300 Monasteries but many were in ruins. (…) They (the Khenpos and Rinpoches) are rebuilding many Kathok holy temples, Monasteries, Buddhist colleges and Meditation Retreat centers.
In particular, they oversee the reconstruction of the magnificently spectacular holy Mandala of the Auspicious Copper-Coloured Mountain, the Pure-land of Padmasambhava, so that it can once again be a holy place for everyone, everywhere.”
Also of great importance to The Nyingma Lineage is Samye, the first Tibetan Monastery, founded by Shantarakshita.
He is the unbroken lineage leader of the Nyimgma Kathok Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism.