Ralung monastery

The Ralung monastery can be traced back to one of the great Tibetan Yogi Jetsun Tsangpa Gyare Yeshe Dorje, born in the year 1161 in Ngang To Shigatse prefecture. Je Tsangpa Gyare was one of the fortunate masters who has a chance to meet the great Yogi Je Lingrepa Pema Dorje. 

History of the Ralung monastery

After meeting his main master at the village namely Ralung, he later established the magnificent monastery namely Ralung near the mountain and a river ( a great place for retreat ) during the year 1180. 

Ra means Goat and Lung means place or oral transmission. From my knowledge, I have a deep feeling that the name Ralung is connected to one of the greatest Tibetan Yogi ( Jetsun Ra Lotsawa )

When I read the short biography of Jetsun Lingrepa Pema Dorje, it's written that he had met a master namely Ra Lotsawa. Since Ra Lotsawa was one of the Tibetan masters said to have lived for around 180 years so it might be Jetsun Ra Lotsawa from whom he received the teachings of Yamantaka Buddha, or it might be another master namely Ra.

Je Lingrepa Pema Dorje was one of the Tibetan masters having a precious lineage from Jetsun Milarepa's disciple Jetsun Rechungpa, and Jetsun Gampopa's disciple Jetsun Phakmo Drupa. Another great linage from Jetsun Ra Lotsawa. 

Photo: Ralung monastery with a stupa

Drukpa Kagyu 

Buddhism in Tibet has more than seven schools before, but now we only have four major schools. 

  1. Nyingma school 
  2. Kagyu school
  3. Sakya school
  4. Gelug school 

Three other schools are Kadampa school, Shije school, and Jonang school. 

The Kagyu school is divided into four major Dakpo Kagyu schools and eight sub-Pagdru schools. 

Four Major Dakpo Kagyu schools

  1. Karma Kagyu
  2. Barom Kagyu
  3. Tsalpa Kagyu
  4. Pagdru Kagyu

Eight sub-Pagdru schools

  1. Drigung Kagyu
  2. Drukpa Kagyu
  3. Taklung Kagyu
  4. Martsang Kagyu
  5. Shugseb Kagyu
  6. Trophu Kagyu
  7. Yamzang Kagyu
  8. Yelpa Kagyu

The Kagyu school is famous for focusing on meditation and retreats. ( The school of the Yogi wanderers )

The name Drukpa is the name for Bhutanese. The compassion of Tibetan masters from Drukpa Kagyu school is one of the beautiful influences behind the name of Bhutan ( Druk ) meaning Dragon. 

Ralung monastery is the principal monastery of the Drukpa Kagyu school of Buddhism in Tibet. During those centuries Drukpa Kagyu school was one of the most popular schools of Buddhism in Tibet. There is even a saying (One-third of the people in the world are Drukpa Kagyu school disciples ) That is the reason the Monastery was once a huge Buddhist college. 

Photo: Inside Ralung monastery walls

The beauties of Drukpa Kagyu school 

The Drukpa Kagyu school focuses on meditation-like their great ancestors starting from Je Dorje Chang, Je Tilopa, Je Naropa, Je Marpa, Je Milarepa, Je Rechungpa, Je Dakpo Laje, Je Phakmo Drupa, Je Ling Repa, and Je Tsangpa Gyare. 

The school has many great crazy wisdom masters including the three crazy masters from the Tsang Shigatse area.

  1. Je Drukpa Kunley
  2. Je Tsang Nyon
  3. Je U Nyon

Few other very compassionate masters from Drukpa Kagyu school that I have merit to know the names are: 

  1. Je Gotsangpa Gonpo Dorje 
  2. Je Yanggonpa Gyeltsen Pel

They are so many great Yogis from Drukpa Kagyu school that I have no merit to read the biographies.  I have a deep love for the Drukpa Kagyu school because they focus on the walk instead of the talk. They are the ones who spent many decades in solitude at the retreat. 

They are the real wandering Tibetan Sadhus sleeping at the retreat area and playing with the Sentient Beings like a mother plays with her son. 

Photo: Jetsun Drukpa Kunley

Modern-day Ralung monastery

The reason I would like to recommend Ralung monastery to Travelers is the genuine feeling of the monastery. They are barely any tourists here since most of the travel agencies are focusing on bigger and more popular tourist sites so it's essential that Tibet Travelers include Ralung to see the genuine spiritual beauties.

The monastery is not as huge as other monasteries in Lhasa or Shigatse. The principal relic of the monastery is the statue of Drukpa Kagyu founder Jetsun Tsangpa Gyare. For people with lots of good karma, the statue can be seen smiling. For people with lots of evil karma, the statue can be seen as a bit sad. 

Photo: Blue Sheep and nature near the Ralung monastery

Location of the Ralung monastery

Ralung monastery is located around 20km from the Karo La Glacier and a  few hours' drive from Yamdrok Lake. 


Tibet is the home of Buddhism, so it is essential to share with Travelers a genuine monastery in Tibet. 
Ralung monastery, Sakya monastery, and a few other countryside monasteries are excellent recommendations for Travelers. We highly recommend Ralung for Travelers loving spiritual beauty.

For Tibet travel free information or booking a tour to Tibet. Email Tibet Travelers at info@tibettravelers.com 

Written By :Tenzin

Nov 15, 2018


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