King Trisong Detsen from his wisdom mind and enlightened intention was seeking ways to benefit beings. He understood that the establishment of a palace would bring great benefit and started the activities necessary to bring about Lhasa Samye. In order to accomplish that, he invited from India Guru Padmasambhava and the abode Shantarakshita. These two, along with the king, formed the triad known in Tibet as “khen lo tchi sum”, the basis that made possible for Buddhism to be established in Tibet.
Lhasa Samye had 3 architects: a Chinese, a Nepalese and an Indian one. Each of them planned one of the three levels at Samye, and the levels represent the three kayas. At that time, Padmasambhava found a reincarnation of Buddha Shakyamuni’s great disciple Kungawo: the sublime translator Vairotsana, who then translated the three baskets of the Buddha’s teachings.
Some amongst the king’s ministers were under strong influence of hindrances and demons, who were jealous and resentful towards the great accomplishments of the translator Vairotsana. The king was helpless to deal with the situation and sadly had to send Vairotsana to the region known as Tsawa Ru, in the border between Tibet and China. At that time, on his way there, Vairotsana stopped and stayed at the spot where kathok monastery would be later on founded. Still today his meditation cave can be seen in the Kathog site, and it is called “Vairo Pu”. He nailed his walking stick in the ground and from this blessing a juniper tree grew. Next to it, a stupa was built. Both can still be seen at Kathok. This juniper tree is said to have many healing qualities. This was the very foundation of Kathog, which started with the great Lotsawa Vairotsana. So this means that Kathog monastery started just after Lhasa Samye, showing the great power and energy of the blessing to make of the snow land a sacred and holy spot for the benefit of all beings.
After this, many years later, sometime around 1159-1162, Kathok Dampa Deshek was sent to kham by his Guru, who said he would bring much more benefit by being there. He was the one who made of Kathok a prominent monastery. Among his immediate successors were Tsangtun Dorje and Jampabum. The supreme energy of Kathok Monastery was like a great sun at its zenith in the time of the fifth abbot, Yeshe Bum. During this time there were 180,000 practitioners and lamas surrounding the monastery. One-hundred thousand of the practitioners at Kathog attained the rainbow body, and for this reason there are one-hundred thousand stupas in Kathog. Each stupa has hair, nails other things of each of the rainbow bodies. The place of the stupas is called “ku bum”. Kathok Dorje Den is considered in Tibetan Buddhism to be the most sacred of monasteries in Tibet. It is a precious treasure like Bodh Gaya in India, known as Gyakar Dorje Den.
After centuries of carrying on the lineage, in the seventeenth century, the great treasure revealer, Rigdzin Dudul Dorje and his disciple, Vajradara Longsal Nyingpo renewed the energies of the great lineage. Of the many great disciples of Dudul Dorje, Kunsang Sherab began Payul Monastery, which later on became a very important lineage in Nyingma tradition; and Padma Rigzin created the Dzogchen monastery. Yet, from all of these great masters of Kathok history, the treasure revealer Longsal Nyingpo is outstanding. Through his past life connections with Guru Rinpoche, and as Guru Rinpoche prophesized, he revealed many sacred texts and substances and carried on the lineage accordingly. The Tibetan Buddhist Center in Brazil called Dorje Chokhor Ling holds the practice of Yeshe Rabar, the main treasure of Vajradara Longsal Nyingpo.
From the record of history we know that on the original spot where Kathok Monastery is located, Guru Rinpoche and his twenty-five disciples practiced for twenty-five days and consecrated the ground thirteen times. There are many miraculous signs there such as the handprints and footprints of Guru Rinpoche in solid rock. This was a land of great bliss where the dakinis danced and left footprints on top of the huge rocks. Kathog Monastery practices include both tantra and sutra. There are many, many precious texts in this tradition. Through the inspiration of great masters and the power of dharma protectors, the Kathog lineage is advancing very strongly and more powerfully in these degenerating times. There are now many hundreds of Kathog branch monasteries and centers around the world. Many, many great Masters and teachers of Kathog still remain alive and are continuously carrying on the precious lineage.
E ma ho! Sarwa Mangalam!
Lama Chimed Rigdzin has the complete Kathog lineage of practices with full authority to teach and transmit these precious lineages but he considers his main practice to be Tröma Nagmo. His lineage for Tröma is very short and comes from Semo Dechen Yudron, Dechen-la, daughter of Dudjom Rinpoche, who many consider an emanation of Tröma. At Lama Ling in Tibet he received the complete Tröma cycle, including the profound teachings, from Dechen-la and her consort, Choniyd Rinpoche, and completed a retreat conducted by them.
Also, due to these degenerate times and pervasive illness, Lama Chimed feels a need to teach Medicine Buddha, Green Tara, Vajrasattva and Chenrezig. Medicine Buddha practice helps to purify illness and the negative karma associated with it. Green Tara encompasses the activities of all the Buddhas and her special quality is protection against the eight fears. Vajrasattva is the deity that Vajrayana Buddhism relies on to purify our past non-virtuous actions. Chenrezig is considered the Buddha of Compassion. All Buddhas have love and compassion but Chenrezig is the foremost among them for his love and compassion as he is more connected to all the beings in the six realms.