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History of Spiti Sakya Monastery

A Brief Introduction of Tengyud Monastery

Generally, Tanguyd/Teng Gyud Monastery has different histories between oral saying of older generations and historians. Yet it was surely built about one thousand or seven hundred years ago on the base of certain histories. According to the great translator, Lochen Rinchen Zangpo's account in establishing of hundreds of temples built mainly in dedication to his mother. The present Teng Gyud Monastery can surely be included within them. Due to the time of digging, the remains of Gomig(Komic) Monastery for the new Mahakala shrine, some historical objects and specially the stone pile, etc of Tapho/Tabo Monastery which is so called established by Lochen Rinchen Zangpo as well as some fragmented statues of the four-direction Maharajas discovered, which have been still kept in some old local people's houses.

In another reason it was said by the great master of Guge, Choepal Zangpo that there was a Sakya Monastery in the area currently called as Ngonga during his visit to Spiti. Later he had combined that Sakya monastery and Gomig (Komic) monastery (were) together, and gave the name as Teng Gyud Lhundrub Choekhor Ling. He was a direct disciple of Bodong Panchen Chogley Namgyal and Ngor Chen Kunga Zangpo.

Ngor Chen Kunga Zangpo (1382-1456) was a matchless Sakya Dharma Holder during his time. Although he visited Ngari in Tibet three times, he bestowed the empowerment and instruction of Kalachakra and Gur to his disciples during his second visit including Khenpo Sonam Rinchen from Spiti. Because of those reasons it can be sure that it is more or less eight hundred years ago since Teng Gyud Monastery's establishment.

Secondly, our aim to reconstruct the present monastery is that the damages to the old Gomig caused by so many inner and outer obstacles, only the name have remained. Even though there was a beautiful temple and its reliance in the old castle, the earthquake  around 1970s caused the drinking water gradually absorbed into the ground.

As you all know that it is unbearable to stay there in the winter, His Eminence Khangsar Khenchen Ngawang Khyentse Thubten Nyingpo Rinpoche established a temple and monk's residence in Kaza. After completing the construction His Eminence compassionately gave empowerment, oral transmission and instruction of the Common Lamdre to monks and lay people.

It was unanimously agreed to reconstruct a new temple and rooms for the monks that/as we had been facing difficulties since the number of the monks are increasing and at the same time our devotion to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and as well as His Holiness Sakya Trizin is always the same when His Holiness frequently visits Spiti.

The greatly learned master and emanation of Manjusri, was born to the fourth son of Sachen Kunga Nyinpo in the water horse year of the third rajung (cycle). At the time of his birth there appeared many signs and auspicious omens. At the time of his birth, he spoke in Sanskrit and by the age of three Sakya Pandita could read and speak Sanskrit, Tibetan, Chinese and Mongolian without having been taught, and within a few years he was able to recite lengthy works of philosophy and Tantra by heart.

Through the power of seeing his uncle and mentor Dragpa Gyaltsen (1147-1216) directly as Manjusri, Sakya Pandita became possessed with limitless knowledge.

When he was seventeen, Sakya Pandita dreamt that the master Vasubandhu appeared to him and conferred the knowledge of the entire Abhidharma system to him directly. At eighteen he dreamt that Dignaga placed him on a high throne and he was given the key to all of his teachings, (key of library, de me zon) and when he awoke he possessed a complete knowledge of logic. Sakya Pandita studied and learned the teachings of the Kadampa lineage and was accomplished in all the sciences and medicine, as well as grammar, poetry, art and music. He composed numerous lucid philosophical commentaries, and his skill in debate was unsurpassed.

During one great debate he defeated the most renowned Hindu scholar of this time. After losing the debate, the Hindu said :"Let us see who is more powerful". He flew into the sky, but one Lama put a dagger into a rock down he came, thus converting this master to Buddhism. Afterwards this protector was placed at the border and a rule made that no Hindu (real Hindu) could enter, and if he did, problems would happen to him.

As the fame of Sakya Pandita spread, Godan Khan, the Mongol Emperor of China, sent messengers to Tibet to find the most outstanding lama. They reported that Sakya Pandita was the most learned master and Milarepa the most accomplished yogi. So the Emperor invited Sakya Pandita to come to the Mongol court as his spiritual guide.

Remembering his uncle's earlier prophecy, Sakya Pandita journeyed to China at the age of sixty-five (65). In order to determine the extent of the lama's knowledge, Godan Khan devised a test. He had his most clever magicians create an illusory temple and asked Sakya Pandita to consecrate it. But when the lama said the appropriate prayers and scattered the blessings of rain, the temple became completely real and all could walk in it. This has been called the Emanation Temple. After this the Khan had great faith in Sakya Pandita and received many important religious teachings from him. As a sign of his great reverence for Sakya Pandita, Godan Khan had three exquisite statues of him cast in gold, silver, and other precious metals. Each was inscribed on the back in Chinese, Tibetan and Mongolian and personally consecrated by Sakya Pandita. One remained in China, one in Mongolia and the third was sent to Tibet.
Shortly before he passed away in the Mongol court, Sakya Pandita named his nephew, Chogyal Phagpa, as his successor and Pandita turned over his bell, dorje, and other ritual instruments to him. After Sakya Pandita was cremated, many relics were found and numerous Buddhist images appeared on his bones

Plun po phyag rgya che bsgom pa/ /
phal cher dud 'gro'i rgyu ru gsungs/ /

When fools meditate on Mahāmudrā
It generally becomes a cause for the animal realm, it is taught.
Clear Differentiation of the Three Sets of Vows, 161

rig pa nangs par 'chi yang bslab/ /
tshe 'dir mkhas par ma gyur kyang/ /
skye ba phyi mar bcol ba yi/ /
nor la rang nyid len pa 'dra/ /

Even if you must die tomorrow, study today.
Though you may not become a sage in this life,
Your knowledge will be preserved for the future
Just like wealth deposited and then reclaimed.
The Precious Treasury of Elegant Sayings, 7

dbang shes lkugs pa mig can 'dra/ /
rtog pa long ba smra mkhas 'dra/ /
rang rig dbang po tshang ba yis/ /
gnyis po de yi brda sprod byed/ /

The sense consciousnesses are like a dumb person who can see.
And conceptual mind is like a blind person who can talk.
Self-cognition is like someone with all the senses complete,
Who facilitates communication between the other two.
The Treasury of Valid Reasoning, chapter 4

pha rol phyin pa'i spros bral las/ /
lhag pa'i lta ba yod na ni/ /
lta de spros pa can du 'gyur/ /
spros bral yin na khyad par med/ /

If there were a view higher than the non-elaboration
Of the transcendental perfection of wisdom,
It would be a view with conceptual elaboration.
If it were without elaboration, there would be no difference.

thog mar shes bya kun la mkhas par sbyangs/ /
bar du mkhas pa'i tshogs la legs par bshad/ /
tha ma 'dris pa'i tshogs la brtson pas bsgom/ /
dus gsum rgyal ba kun gyi bzhed gzhung yin/ /

First, become well versed in all fields of knowledge,
Later, discourse eloquently before learned gatherings,
Finally, meditate diligently on all that you have learnt—
This is the approach of all the buddhas of the three times.

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