TSANGSAR LHALAM MONASTERY
A Brief History of Tsangsar Lhalam Oseling Monastery
Tsangsar Lhalam monastery was founded in 1638 by Karma Tenkyong, the son of Dorje Bum of the Tsangsar family lineage. The monastic tradition is Baram Kagyu, one of the four great Kagyu schools. The monastery is in the Qinghai Providence, 160 Kilometers from Nangchen County. It is on about 7 square kilometers of land at an elevation of 4,450 meters. Around the monastery there are rock cliffs and beautiful mountains. There is a wide valley with a long river, thick forests, and a lot of flowers and wild animals.
At the monastery, there is a monastic college, a library, retreat huts, classrooms, and meditation rooms. There are several monks’ quarters, including an assembly hall, protector’s hall, cafeteria, and a two-story lama’s house. There is a very special old statue of Guru Rinpoche there, as well as many new statues, including a large Manjushri statue and three huge statues of Guru Rinpoche, Shakyamuni Buddha, and Amitayus Buddha in the assembly hall. There are many thangkas, stupas, and Buddhists scriptures in the hall as well.
There are several rituals scheduled throughout the year at the monastery, such as the two great accomplishment practices (Chogyur Lingpa), another great accomplishment practice for the peaceful and wrathful deities and recognition in the intermediate state (Karma Lingpa), as well as end of year practices to clear obstacles, tenth lunar day rituals, and many other rituals of the Barum Kagyu, Karma Kagyu, and Nyingma traditions.
The succession of lamas at the monastery begins with Karma Tenkyong, the founder, and then Karma Tenpel, Karma Chodrak Gyatso, Karma Rinchen, Tsangsar Dunggyel, Tsangsar Paddro, Tsangsar Orgyen Chopel, Tsangsar Chime Dorje, Lama Sangngak, Aku Tersey, Samten Gyatso, Tsangsar Padjik, Tsangsar Karma Orgyen, Tenga Dorje, Tudop Namgyel, Gyurme Dorje, and his sons, Kunga Shonnu and Tsepak Dorje. At the monastery now, under the direction of Gyurme Dorje and his two sons, Kunga Shonnu and Tsepak Dorje, there are about 100 monks, and 80 nuns at their nearby nunnery.
Gyurme Dorje traveled to Nepal in the late 1980s to study with his uncle, Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, and received many teachings and empowerments from this great master and other lamas in Nepal, Tibet, and India. He continues to live at the monastery now. His oldest son, Kunga Shonnu, did a three-year retreat on Accomplishing the Lama and Dispelling all Obstacles (Chogling Tersar) as a teenager, and then went to Nepal to meet his great uncle, Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche and his sons. He received empowerments and teachings from them and several great teachers of the old and new schools of Buddhism in Nepal, India, and Tibet. He also studied many great sutras and tantras at Buddhists institutes in Tibet and Nepal. Gyurme Dorje’s youngest son, Tsepel Dorje, studied at Larung Gar in Tibet, and then went to India to study at the famed Dzongsar Shedra. He also received many empowerments and teachings from great masters in Tibet and Nepal. He is now directing the monastery with his father