The Retreat Lands
Yang Gon Cho Khor Ling, in Powo, Tibet.
Togden Kunzang Longdrol's original retreat land in Powo, Tibet – called Yang Gon Cho Khor Ling – is perched on a spectacular mountain known as Yuri, which means "turquoise hill." It commands a view of villages set in a breathtaking landscape, and is considered to be ideal for the Dzogchen practice of Thogal (or “direct crossing”).
It is said that long ago, a great yogi known as Gyalwa Yang Gonpa blessed the land, named it Yang Gon, and prophesied that here, an excellent yogi would one day build a temple and fulfill the needs of sentient beings. When the time ripened, the Dzogchen yogi Togden Kunzang Longdrol, who had been practicing as a mendicant, established Yang Gon Cho Khor Ling as his residence on the very spot foretold. There, he benefited many sentient beings, thus fulfilling Gyalwa Yang Gonpa's prophecy.
As Togden Kunzang Longdrol (also known as Togden Sithar) established himself at this retreat land, a number of ordained and lay practitioners joined him, devoting their entire lives to the practice of Buddhadharma. Many practitioners from various other regions of Tibet frequented the land as well, visiting to receive pith instructions from Togden. Extensive group practices came to be a regular feature of life at Yang Gon Chos Khor Ling, many held on an annual or monthly basis.
Later, this retreat land became an important gathering place in the region, especially for T’hroma Chod practice in Dudjom lineage. Thus, His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche named the retreat land Yang Gon Thegchog Osel Choeling. In addition to Togden's practices, both Dudjom T’hroma Chod practice and other main Dudjom lineage practices were established at the land.
Togden and his devoted disciples lived and did much of their solitary retreat on this land until Togden departed to search for a suitable and safer environment in Lower Pemaköd.
Thegchog Osel Choeling in Lower Pemakod, India:
This Retreat Land, which Tulku Orgyen P’huntsok has been preserving and will visit every year with his students, is located in Lower Pemakod, now part of the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. On the upper part of the land, there is a small temple with a complete set of facilities for sadhana practice. Surrounding this, there are cabins which have been used by three-year retreatants and also by many short-term retreatants. Extra cabins and a camp site with a shower and restroom is also available for visiting practitioners.
Brief history of the retreat land:
In 1959, Togden Kunzang Longdrol relocated himself to this part of the Hidden Land, accompanied by many of his disciples from powo Tibet. After a brief search for a suitable environment in which to continue his spiritual practice, Togden settled in this retreat land, which is, geologically speaking, a perfect place for Dharma practice. The front view is of Dewakota, a supremely holy place only a few miles from the retreat land, and which embodies the blessings of all the holy sites of lower Pemakod and the location where HH Dudjom Rinpoche bestowed the Rinchen Terzod empowerments for the first time in his life.
Togden's main students – the great practitioners Lama Tshering Chodrag, Lama Tashi Gyaltsen, Lama Dolma Tsering and others – used to lead various annual and monthly practices on the land. Whenever a drupchen (extensive group retreat practice) was performed, numerous auspicious signs would appear. Many people still alive today can bear witness to such phenomena. On the retreat land, many tsakhangs (large wooden huts filled with tsa tsas) were built in many locations by different practitioners, and can still be found today.
Togden invited many other great masters to visit and live in this retreat land. One of the most revered teachers was the great and realized master Phulung Sangye Rinpoche. He was the teacher of many masters, including H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche himself. Terton Chhoje Lingpa, one of the most important treasure revealers in the Nyingma tradition, also lived at the retreat land for many years. He was one of the incarnations of the three revealers of the land of Pemakod, known as "Beyul Rigzin Namsum," or "Three Vidyadharas of the Hidden Land."
Terton Chhoje Lingpa, PhuLung Sangye Rinpoche and Togden Sithar were very devoted to one another, and would often do meditation practice retreats together in one mandala. On this retreat land, there is a small creek, and it is said that these three masters together revealed this as the water source for the retreat land.
In “The Brief History of Deden Tashi Choeling Temple,” it is written:
At the request of Togden's disciple, Lama Tsering Chodrak,
Along with the benefactor Tashi Rabten,
And all residents of Yoldong, upon such auspicious circumstance,
Togden found this joyful retreat land as a unique place.
The retreat land with spaciousness and panoramic view, In the front, the unceasing river of blessing flows from the three holy sites, And with the smile of mountains and valleys around ever gracing the land, It is a significant place where samadhis spontaneously arise and ever flourish.
Regarding Practitioners Visiting the Retreat Land:
About the power of the Dharma practice in Pemakod, Guru Padmasambhava said:
"Whoever undertakes one day of practice in this sacred place obtains greater merit than those who do one year of practice in other places. Whoever undertakes one year of practice in this holy place obtains greater merit than those who do one lifetime of practice in other places."
“Those who practice sincerely will attain enlightenment in this lifetime. Pure samadhi will spontaneously arise just by being in this land.”
Tulku Orgyen P’huntsok feels in some ways that offering opportunity to practice Dharma in Pemakod to sincere aspirants is one of his most sacred responsibilities. For those who have genuine aspiration to practice authentic, pure Buddha Dharma for the benefit of all beings, in its authenticity, Tulku Orgyen P’huntsok welcomes you to join him for the retreat in Pemakod. The tentative schedule will be between November and January of each year.
For more information, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org