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A Brief History of Kyodrak Monastery

Om Swasti! From the profound instructions

of the incredible Lake Manasarovar

Comes the wealth of precious pith instructions endowed with the Enlightened mind;

I respectfully bow to those of the Kagyu tradition:

Tilopa, Naropa, Marpa, Milarepa, and Dakpo [Gampopa], the protectors of beings!


The Universally Abundant Kyodrak Monastery: The Place that Disseminates and Proliferates the Theory and Practice of the Buddhist Teachings[1]


Tibet, the Land of Snow, a place exalted like a crown jewel on the top of the Earth, is divided into three regions: Amdo, Central Tibet, and Kham. In Do Kham there is a famous practice site of Guru Pema called The Universally Abundant Kyodrak, which is one of the twenty-five great sacred sites of Do Kham. It is the excellent Akanishta descended upon the Earth, an utterly vast arrangement of implements and seed syllables. That is the location of Kyodrak Monastery.


In the Iron Bull Year of 1361 in the sixth calendrical cycle of the Tibetan calendar, one of Lha Repa Tsondru Pelwa’s[2] many disciples, the supreme emanation of Manjushri, Langre Drakpa Gyeltsen,[3] practiced in the area’s sacred site of the eastern facing Kyoko Cave.[4] When he had discovered accomplishment in a single life, the primordial wisdom dakini prophesised:

“On the palace atop the cliff over there,[5] is the pollen bed of the enlightened mind of the great, glorious Chakrasamvara. In its centre sits a boulder like a sizeable and majestically poised tiger. Compile the embers of a fire in this essential place![6] This important place is like a vigorous striped tiger. The benefit of beings and the teachings will flourish far and wide.”

Saying that, the dakini emanated into a fox and stole his shoes. Early the next morning he sought for the tracks [of the dakini] in the fallen snow. There he saw the main cliff of Kyodrak—at its crest was a swirling rainbow tent of the dharmakaya, at its slope was a pleasant rain of blessings, and diffusing across its base was the aromatic fragrance that arises from discipline. Understanding the dependent arisings from having arrived at this place of solitude, he constructed the initial monastic [structure] of Kyodrak.

It was at that time that the Mongol King Genghis Khan offered a bronze[7] statue of the unparalleled Teacher Shakyamuni. He, [Drakpa Gyeltsen], saw that the figure of the Teacher was made of a brilliant mass of rainbow light and stated that this supreme sacred object is equal in blessings to Shakyamuni. Consequently, he made it the central sacred object of the temple.

The dependent arisings of that statue are well suited to allow the teachings to abide for a long while and for there to be a continuous stream of beings who understand the teachings and benefit whomever they encounter. The main representational statue of the enlightened mind was an eight-year-old form of the Sixth Dharmakaya Vajradhara[8] made from a refined gold of high-quality. 

In the representational statue of the unified enlightened mind are many relics of the buddhas including small pearl-like relics (ringsel) of Tilopa Prajnabhadra (988–1069),[9] small pearl-like relics from the nose blood of Naropa Jnanasiddhi (1012–1100),[10] a tooth from Marpa Chokyi Lodro (1012–1097)[11] with a manifested Hevajra, a small pearl-like relic in the shape of a conch shell from the Laughing Vajra Milarepa (1040–1123),[12] the combined tongue, heart, and eyes of the Youthful Moonlight of Dagpo [Gampopa], and small pearl-like relics from Barom Darma Wangchuk (1127–1194).[13] After those were put into the representational [statue] of the unified enlightened mind, a ‘rain of flowers’ fells three times and consecrated the sacred place. “In future times, this will be my representative,” he said as the people received his command.

Later when the accomplished meditator Marmo [Sonam Dondrup] was young, as he offered prayers, the compassionate eyes [of the statue] looked upon him pensively. Marmo [Sonam Dondrup] was actually able to see its smiling face and nicely arranged white teeth. Blazing with sincere and measureless devotion, he genuinely discovered the realization of the single experience of meditation. Thus, he built a temple and sacred objects.

Philosophical System:

It adheres to the stainless tradition of the unbroken lineage of the essential meaning of the dharma lords of the Barom Kagyu, one of the four great Kagyu traditions.


The transmission is maintained firstly by the lineage gurus of the accomplished ones, secondly by the lineage of the Bare[14] knowledge holders, lastly by the lineage of the emanations of the bodhisattvas.


There is the unbroken lineage of accomplished masters inseparable from the great masters and accomplished ones of India who soared like a flock of birds in the sky. They include the Kyodrak dharma lords, [specifically] the thirteen accomplished ones of Barom, who knew how to fly as they had mastered the power over their winds and mind. Their fame has spread far and wide.

There are various representations of enlightened body, speech, and mind including the thirteen [sets] of the Translated Words of the Victor written in gold. Up until this point, it has been the history of the development of the precious teachings of the victor at the central peak of Kyodrak, or the main Kyodrak cliff. 


In the Wood Dog Year, 1754, of the thirteenth calendrical cycle, Kyodrak Tsoknyi Ozer (b. 1737)[15] received the complete instructions of the abiding nature from Nedo Dechen.[16] Then he went on pilgrimage to U in [central Tibet] and met Karmapa Dudul Dorje (1733/34–1797/98)[17] who had decided that Tsoknyi Ozer was the reincarnated emanation of Choje Lingpa (1682–1720)[18] and bestowed him the name Tsoknyi Ozer and all of the instructions.

“Since your benefit to beings is in Kyodrak,” the Karmapa prophesised, “you must go there and be of service. In the future you will be of great help for the Barom teachings.” Accordingly he travelled to his homeland. He received all the instructions of the liberative methods from Selje Chogrub Senge. Before that time as there had only been black yak-haired tents at Kyodrak, he [Tsoknyi Ozer] built Pur Khang Fort[19] in 1779. There he conducted meditational practices, rituals, and offerings.

In the thirteenth calendrical cycle of the Wood Dog Year, 1785, Tsoknyi Ozer constructed Kyodrak Monastery’s new assembly hall along with its sacred objects. His enlightened activities flourished and spread: He established the tradition of Choje Lingpa’s revealed treasure teachings, becoming the object of worship for the people of China, Tibet, and Mongolia. He [built] innumerable and priceless representations of the enlightened body, speech, and mind and established retreat centres at numerous hermitages. In brief, he extensively spread and proliferated the teachings of both theory and practice, such as the dances, mask dances, and melodies, following the traditions of the previous knowledge holders.


During the Cultural Revolution, the sacred objects and the immeasurable mansion of this monastery were destroyed, falling into ruin just like the other monasteries. Only its name had remained.


Relying upon the marvellous armour of the aspirations of the Eighth Dungtrul Rinpoche, the Ninth Selga Rinpoche, the emanation Aten Puntsok, the elder guru Yeshe Rabgye, the emanation Tsoknyi Ozer, Chadrel Tsultrim Tarchin, Khenpo Damcho Dawa, Khenpo Jikga, the accomplished guru Tashi Namgyel, and Lopon Tsering Gyurme, the abbots, emanations, and the sangha newly constructed the assembly hall along with the sacred objects even more elaborately than before.

In the main monastic seat [of Kyodrak Monastery] are the following: Barom’s Immutable and Spontaneously Established Temple, a college for the theories of the excellent teachings, the retreat centre for spontaneously accomplishing the two benefits, a tantric college for teaching the three vehicles in the lineage tradition of Marpa, a medical college to bring love and benefit to all, the Dzamo retreat centre, the Kechara nunnery of great bliss, the Lotus Stem retreat centre of enlightenment, Barom’s practice centre of the blissful and secret mantra, Victor Gyam’s Avalokiteśvara practice centre, the practice centre of all knowledge, Narong’s practice centre of the luminosity of great bliss, and Khongne practice centre of auspicious liberation. As for the minor temples that are always in use there are the new protectors’ temple, the Vajrakila meditation centre, the Lion-Faced centre, the Lotus Vajra centre, the longevity centre, the Dorje Drolo centre, and the Three Blissful Seals centre.

Each year there are gatherings including a great accomplishment ceremony of the peaceful practices, enlightened heart practices, vase practices, longevity practices, practices for the tenth day, practices for all greater and lesser days, Barom’s grand prayer festival, and Barom’s ritual offerings for the deceased. Their corresponding sacred objects, dances, chants, and melodies are better than before. The monastery and its affiliated institutions have around two-thousand monastics [in total].

Furthermore, for the benefit of the entire district, there is the Precious Pleasant Grove School: The Source of Qualities for the orphans separated from the care of their parents, a nursing home for those separated from their loving children, a thrift store for those who are not able to conduct business, a hospital of both Chinese and Tibetan medicine with reduced costs of treatments for the destitute and sick, and so forth. In brief, it is an extraordinary place for maturing the beings and the teachings.



May all the mountains be filled flock of meditators!

May all textual traditions be enriched with scholars! 

May the teachings of the victorious Barom, the beautiful and conquering teachings

Of the two wheels of meditators and scholars, flourish!


Composed collectively by those at Kyodrak Monastery.

[1] skyo brag spyi 'byams phun tshogs thub bstan bshad sgrub dar rgyas gling

[2] lha res pa brtson 'grus dpal ba

[3] mchog tu gyur pa 'jam dbyangs rnam 'phrul glang ras grags pa rgyal mtshan

[4] skyo kho nyin phug

[5] ya ki brag

[6] This means to construct a new monastery at this location.

[7] zi khyim

[8] This is the Vajradhara of the sixth buddha family from which the other five families emanate.

[9] ti lo pa

[10] nA ro pa,  BDRC P3085

[11] mar pa chos kyi blo gros, BDRC P2636

[12] mi la res pa bzhad pa'i rdo rje, BDRC P1853

[13] 'ba' rom pa dar ma dbang phyug, BDRC P1856

[14] 'bar re

[15] skyo brag tshog gnyis 'od zer 

[16] gnas mdo bde chen

[17] karma pa 13 bdud 'dul rdo rje, BDRC P828

[18] chos rje gling pa, BDRC P671

[19] phur khang


Skyo brag dgon pa. 2021. Skyo brag dgon pa'i gsal bshad mdor bsuds. London: Tib Shelf I001


A brief history of Kyodrak Monastery where the successive reincarnations of Tsoknyi Öser reside. It is the main seat of the Barom order, one of the four main divisions of Kagyu, situated in Dokham. 


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Do Kham


Kyodrak Tsoknyi Ozer

Langre Drakpa Gyeltsen

Marmo Sonam Dondrup

The Eighth Dungtrul Rinpoche

The Ninth Selga Rinpoche

Tulku Aten Puntsok

Guru Yeshe Rabgye

Chadrel Tsultrim Tarchin

Khenpo Damcho Dawa

Khenpo Jikga

Guru Tashi Namgyel

Lopon Tsering Gyurme


Tib Shelf




Tsoknyi Ozer


Kyodrak Monastery

A Brief History of Kyodrak Monastery

Alongside our own publications, Tib Shelf peer reviews and publishes the works of aspiring and established Tibetologists. If you would like to publish with us or request our translation services, please get in touch, our team would be pleased to help. Tib Shelf has been accredited by the British Library with the International Standard Serial Number (ISSN):  2754–1495


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