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"Conquer the angry man by love.
Conquer the ill-natured man by goodness.
Conquer the miser with generosity.
Conquer the liar with truth."
The Dhammapada

History of Lhatse Monastery

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Lhatse monastery

The secret mantrayana descend like nectar

Uniquely manifest in the three realms

The Treasure of conventional and ultimate truth

To the Lineage Gurus of the three realms, I prostrate.

In the year of 1668, Serpa Yeshe Sengge founded Lhatse Sangngag Rabten Ling (in short known as Lhatse Monastery) in the western Kham Serda region. This monastery is located at a beautiful place where the front and rear mountains are like the confluence of two elephants, which is an auspicious sign. On the right of the mountain has two rivers where the intersection of them are like meeting of the mother and son dragon, surrounded by forests laden with various fragrances . The shape of the land is like the eight petals lotus, and also look like the Dharma Wheel in the sky, which continue to release nice fragrances. As for those who have undergone retreat in Lhatse Monastery, thirteen of them attained rainbow body, thus it is the holy land from which flourished the Nyingma Palyul Lhatse Lineage.

Serpa Yeshe Sengge was born in 1st January, 1638 and born with an auspicious form. His father was Nam Setob and his mother was Nor Tsin. While he was an infant, his parent and servants saw two lions guarding him while he was asleep, thus named him Lion Guard. On his twenty first day after he was born, at sunrise, there was a peacock that fed him with an auspicious fruit, and after eating that fruit, his body transformed. Till this day, there still remains a tree that was transformed by the fell off feather of the peacock and Serpa Yeshe Sengge’s footprint that was formed while he was a child. Since young, he developed renunciation and bodhicitta. Due to his previous karmic imprint of learned dharma, he can quickly pick up and understand the scripture and dharma teaching. Some of the local high monks cited scriptures and praised Serpa Yeshe Sengge as the reincarnation of bodhisattva with the auspicious nobility family line and even his mother family was also one of the best. According to local custom, he should be married at 14 years old. His parent thus asked him to marry Tshewang Lhamo, the daughter of the nobleman Shing-ra Dragthog. However, Serpa Yeshe Sengge did not want to get married. His mother said to him: “Please go to the Great Perfection Master Shelphug and practice secretly under him. I will provide all your needs and I will look after your father, so do not worry”.

So Serpa Yeshe Sengge at the age of 14 on the first day of the eleventh month, at sunrise, left home to go to practice with Lama Shelphug. That same year on the twenty-second day of the eleventh month, his father Nam Setob and his father’s three brothers all passed away at the same time. This is how the family of Lhatse began: the ancestors made request to a siddha (one who has attainment) for descendant. The siddha asked them to make request to the gods of Zhag-ra Lhatse Mountain. Then in a dream appeared the four heavenly kings descended to the womb of the mother and she conceived, and finally gave birth to an egg like a ball and within the egg there are four babies, thus, the family name of Lhatse was given by the deva of the gods realm. Since Anam four brothers were the four heavenly kings that descended to the human realm during their dream, when the four heavenly kings woke up from the dream, the four brothers also at the same time returned back to heaven, and Serpa Yeshe Sengge performed puja for them. (One night in heaven is approximately 50 years in human realm).

During the seven years of leaving home, Serpa Yeshe Sengge followed Master Shelphug to study all teachings of sutra and tantra, and personally beheld Padmasambhava and his twenty five disciples, and also during the meditation in the dream received the three classes of inner / secret tantra (Mahayoga, Anuyoga, and Atiyoga) of the Old Translation School. Guru Rinpoche instructed him to seek for the one who was indistinguishable from Guru Rinpoche and secret mind of the three times Buddhas, Master Kunzang Sherab, and from whom to learn the Old Tantra via listening, contemplation, and practice, and shall speedily attain the sign of realisation of the union (of method and wisdom). The dakinis of the twenty-four heaven pure lands and the dakinis of the thirty-two earth purelands taught him many secret instructions. When he arose from the dream-meditation state, as far as he recalled the name of Kunzang Sherab, tears flowed down from his eyes. This shows that he and his Master indeed had the profound karmic link over many generations.

Later he followed the guidance of Guru Rinpoche and Lama Shelphug and went to the mid-area of the western Kham region to seek for Kunzang Sherab. During that time there was a battle between the Mongolian tribes of Gushrihan and Leu-tsei. The soldiers cam towards him and wanted to capture him, however, these soldiers became immovable. Later they heard that Serpa Yeshe Sengge is the high monks with great attainment and they confessed to him their faults and also made offering to him. They all vowed to receive the teaching from him and finally both tribes ceased the war and live in harmony and peace. The soldiers of the Mongolian tribe of Gushrihan escorted him to Kathog Monastery to meet the Dharma King of the Three Realms, Lama Kunzang Sherab. When he saw Kunzang Sherab, he generated the supreme faith, bodhicitta, and renunciation, and offered 113 oz of gold and twenty five types of food. He then received from Master Kunzang Sherab all the common and uncommon teachings of the Nyingma three classes of secret tantra. Kunzang Sherab also transmistted to him all the lineages that he has received in his mind. Serpa Yeshe Sengge in his practice instantly gained perfect realisation of his teacher’s instructions with the signs of attainment. Later he went to Kathog Monastery to listen, contemplate, and practice the five sciences of the Sutra Path of Buddhism, and the Vajrayana’s Karma (Oral Transmission) and Terma (Hidden Treasure) teachings, and became spiritual practice teacher of Kathog Monastery, and was invited by the King of Dege to the palace to lead the Sangha community in conducting the Blessing and Elimination of Obstacles Puja. During the puja, in the midst of recitation, all the buddha statues in the mandala appeared to be shaken – a sign of power and auspiciousness. He also became the disciple of Terton Longsal Nyingpo and received from Migyur Dorje many initiations, oral transmission, and oral instructions. At the same time he also personally sought after Karma Chagmed for many teachings. When Kunzang Sherab became the Abbot of Palyul Monastery, Serpa Yeshe Sengge followed him to Palyul Monastery, and once again perfectly received the initiations, teachings, oral transmission, and oral instructions of the practice of Eight Heruka Gongpa Dongpa (the deity of the essence of the secret mind), Vajrakilaya, and Namcho (Sky Treasure). He also followed Master Kunzang Sherab to Lhari Odsal Hill Retreat Centre for practice. The place where Lama Kunzang Sherab led his four heart disciples to practice the Great Perfection with attainment is later known as Dago Richo in Tibetan, meaning “the retreat centre of Hitting Awareness”. Upon completing and perfecting all the practices, in the presence of Kunzang Sherab, he explained the various practice experience and realisation of the Generation and Completion Stages and received recognition from Kunzang Sherab. His realisation are as followed:

1. Realisation of the perfection practice of Subtle drops of the Mahayoga, and the realisation of the eight common attainments by able to hang his robe on the sunlight rays, thus his future disciples called the robe as Robe of the Rays of Sunlight.

2. Realisation of the illusory completion stage’s wisdom body of the Auyoga, and through the wisdom mudra generated the outer and inner realisation. And also the realisation of the ultimate clear light completion stage’s wisdom, and generated the realisation of the four visions.

So in the presence of Lama Kunzang Sherab, Serpa Yeshe Sengge demonstrated many signs of his realisation with the recognition from Kunzang Sherab. Lama Kunzang Sherab was very pleased and said “In the past, Padmasambhava has predicted about me that one of my disciple whom practice is more profound than me (‘me’ refer to Kunzang Sherab that was predicted by Guru Rinpoche) and his Dharma activity is more broader than me, is Serpa Yeshe Sengge. One whose pacify activity is more profound than me is Janggang Aphar. One whose summon activity is more profound than me is Tsangda Dorje Thar. One whose wrathful activity is more profound than me is Shuggang Badong. One whose serve and assist me well is Tshakhor Ba Tsondru Gyatsho. I have already transmitted all the essence of the teachings of the Nyingmapa Palyul Lineage to you, so you must propagate the Buddhadharma.”

Lama Kunzang Sherab said to Serpa Yeshe Sengge, “you should return to your home town and build a monastery, and named it as Sang-ngag Rabtan Ling, meaning the Ultimate Secret Mantra Monastery, from which many accomplishers shall arise continuously.” Lama Kunzang Sherab also recognised this monastery as same lineage with Palyul Monastery. He gave Serpa Yeshe Sengge many scriptures, statues, stupa, etc., and predicted that the Palyul Lhatse Lineage of Serpa Yeseh Sengge will abide in this world eternally. He told Serpa Yeshe Sengge that Protector Mahakala will be with him to protect him, and in future, Serpa Yeshe Sengge shall widely propagated the Buddhadharma. So he asked Serpa Yeshe Sengge to return to home town Seryul. The next day, Serpa Yeshe Sengge followed his master instruction and return to home town, and after some journey, he turned back to behold the place of his master, instantly his mind gain realisation that the Guru is the root of all Buddhadharma, and he did not feel like leaving the place. So he prostrated towards the direction where his master resided and made requests for seven days. On the dawn of the seventh day, he beheld Migyur Dorje, Karma Chagmed, and Kunzang Sherab appeared together in the sky of emptiness, and then three of them merged to become an Heruka, surrounded by countless Dakinis. Heruka predicted many future events of Serpa Yeshe Sengge propagation of the Buddhadharma, and said to him, “tomorrow morning you shall quickly return to Seryul, and I will continue to grant blessing to you and your disciples”. Finally, Heruka and the Dakinis recited many auspicious verses and blessing, and dissolve into emptiness and disappeared from the sky.

At the winter of that year, Serpa Yeshe Sengge arrived at his home town Seryul Lhatse. Many people gladly welcomed him and he told them that he wished to build a monastery. At that time Tshewang Lhamo (the daughter of nobility who was planned to marry him by the arrangement of his parents) came forward to offer him gold, silver, and food that were carried by 1,000 donkeys. While Serpa Yeshe Sengge was searching for the site to build the monastery, one day at the location where today Lhatse Monastery located, he saw a white cow sleeping on the floor, next to the cow was an old lady doing needlework. As he wanted to carefully observe whether this is a suitable location to build the monastery, he said to that old lady, “please leave this place as I wanted to build a monastery here”. So the old lady stood up and took the oat popcorn next her and throw to the surrounding and angrily said “you go and build many monasteries, go!” Then she left. Serpa Yeshe Sengge regarded this actions as a profound cause for building the monastery (as oat in Tibetan is “tso”, has the meaning of the arrival of profound interpersonal relationship). In the year of 1668, spring, at the eleventh day of the second month, at sunrise, he began the puja for the building of the monastery, and conducted fire pujas of the four activities of pacify, increase, summon, and wrathful. During the puja, the auspicious signs of dragon and nectar descended from the sky appeared. The fourth emperor of the Qing Dynasty, Emperor Kang Shi, in his seventh year enthronement anniversary, he invited Serpa Yeshe Sengge to Beijing to conduct the puja in the presence of all the officials to commemorate the enthronement. Emperor Kang Shi bestowed the title of Royal Chaplain to Serpa Yeshe Sengge in the presence of all the people, and offered him the statues of Ratnasambhava, Guhyasamaja, Chakrasamvara, Hevajra, etc. Among the offerings, there were the silk thangka of White Tara personally made by the Princess, the Maha-Prajnaparamita Scripture written in gold ink, over one hundred stupas, the Dharma Crown specially commissioned by the Qing Emperor, and the Lion Seal of the Royal Chaplain. While Serpa Yeshe Sengge in Beijing, he met his Gelugpa Master and received the teaching of the New Translation School Tantra. While on his way back to Seryul from Beijing, at Gyalrong Gyalkhab, which is the current region of Gyalrong in the western part of Sichuan Province, eighteen local leaders came to welcome him and requested him to transmit teachings and accepted Serpa Yeshe Sengge as their Root Guru. When he reached his home town, residents of the six villages of Lhatse have already completed the construction of Lhatse Monastery, so Serpa Yeshe Sengge conducted the solemn opening ceremony puja for the newly constructed monastery. About one thousand disciples came forward to be ordained as monks, thus the Buddhist Institute and the Retreat Centre began the teaching of the practice of the union of Dzogchen and Mahamudra, and all the various teachings of the Palyul lineage were perfectly taught in monastery. He also set up the various systems of practice in the monastery. Thus, Lhatse Monastery combined both the Old Translation School Tantra and New Translation School Tantra lineage. Serpa Yeshe Sengge propagated the Palyul teachings to Tibet, China, Mongol, etc via initiation and exposition. He has written fifty volumes of book (some of his works were lost during the cultural revolution).

At seventy years old, in the manifestation of many profound auspicious signs, he entered into parinirvana by dissolving his secret mind into the Dharmadhatu (realm of reality).