2500 years ago Buddha Shakyamuni taught the path to enlightenment for the first time to sentient beings of his day. As the reputation of this unique fully enlightened teacher grew, during his lifetime the Buddha’s message spread throughout large sections of India. In the centuries after the Buddha entered parinirvana, his teachings flourished all over India and eventually spread to most countries in Asia where they brought happiness, well-being and, in many instances, liberation to those who put them into practice.
In Tibet, the teachings of the Buddha were embraced with a zeal and devotion unparalleled throughout history. Within a short time, all the Buddhist traditions of study and practice had been assimilated and were scrupulously preserved down through the ages by generation after generation of Tibetans.
The 8th century Indian master, Padmasambhava, was chiefly responsible for kindling this remarkable adoption of Buddhism by Tibetans. Throughout Tibet, the eminent Lord of Dharma came to be known to all simply as Guru Rinpoche, meaning “Precious Master.”
The collection of Buddhist teachings and methods known as the Great Perfection, or Dzogchen, embodies the innermost essence of Padmasambhava’s realization. During his stay in Tibet, Guru Rinpoche transmitted these profound teachings to only a handful of his closest disciples. He entrusted these disciples with the unique task of safeguarding the legacy of Dzogchen instructions for the benefit of future generations. Guru Rinpoche instructed them to reveal the teachings to sentient beings at specific times and places only when recipients would be spiritually mature enough to benefit from Dzogchen’s immense power to engender enlightenment.
By means of the extraordinary revelations of Terchen Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa (1829-1870), Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery is the direct beneficiary of the Great Perfection teachings. This outstanding Nyingma tertön was among the last of Tibet’s 108 great revealers of Padmasambhava’s concealed treasure-teachings. Chokgyur Lingpa’s lineage, known as the Chokling Tersar, is a compilation of extraordinarily clear and potent heart practices contained in a body of literature filling more than 40 large volumes. For at least fifteen decades, they have been practiced by both the Kagyu and Nyingma schools of Tibetan Buddhism.
How is Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery linked to the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism? The monastery was established based on the directive of His Holiness the 16th Gyalwang Karmapa. Its founder, Kyabje Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, was the main holder of the unique Barom Kagyu tradition. Moreover, three of his six sons — Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche, Tsoknyi Rinpoche and Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche — are revered high Lamas within the hierarchies of the Drikung Kagyu, Drukpa Kagyu and Karma Kagyu traditions respectively. Additionally, the family of high Lamas are, themselves, all direct descendants of Terchen Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa. Therefore, their bloodline is Nyingma while their individual incarnations are Kagyu.
Furthermore, Tsikey Chokling Rinpoche’s elder son, Phakchok Rinpoche, is a regent among the Taklung Kagyu tradition and his younger son, Khyentse Yangsi Rinpoche, is the reincarnation of one of the greatest Nyingma tertöns of the 20th century, His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche — both off-spring are, needless to say, direct descendants of Terchen Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa. Thus, “Ka” for Kagyu and “Nying” for Nyingma — Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling.
How does Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery seamlessly sustain both the Nyingma and Kagyu traditions? By serving as a hollowed place for the intensive study and practice of the teachings and practices of both schools as well as all the other sacred scriptures and practices of the Buddha as they have been passed down in an unbroken line. As such, the pure traditions of monastic conduct, the sutras and tantras bequeathed by the Awakened One and the learned treatises explicating their intent all remain vibrant and carefully handed down through the activities at Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery.