SETTING FOR KALSANG MONASTERY
What follows is a brief historical account of the Victorious Eastern Kalsang Sangye Choling (the thousand Buddhas of virtuous kalpa, bsKal-bZang Sangs-rGyas Chos-kLing) , abode of the Great Secret Mantra Early Translation School of the Clear Light Great Perfection.
This monastery is situated in the lower region of Dokham (the composed name of Amdo and Kham, the whole of East Tibet, mDo-Khams) in the Snowland of Tibet, in the center of the Nyak Adzi Rong (Nyag-A-‘Dzi-Rong), a valley of medicinal herbs.
This place, surrounded by natural beauty and grace, is known as Shanglang Drakar (Shang-Lang-Brag-dKar), White Boulder Sword, or Ne LhangLhang Norbu Yantse (gNas-Lhang-Lhang-Nor-Bu-Yang-rTse), Sacred Place of Clear Sound, Crest of the Jewel.
In Sangye Lingpa (Sangs-rGyas-gLing-Pa)’s Prophetic Account of Sacred Places, he writes,
"The Snow Realm of Tibet is a lotus garden of holy places;
Among these, the Sacred Place of Clear Sound is like an Udumbara."
Also, in the Great Saint Pema Duddul (Pad-Ma-bDud-‘Dul)'s Prophesy of Hidden Treasures, he writes,
"In the wondrous southern sphere in the East of the Land of Snows,
In the hidden land between Mount Rongchen (Rong-Chen)
and Mount Borragang (‘Bor-Ra-sGang),
A conch-colored crystal rock pierces the sky known as Sword Boulder or
White Boulder Sky Fortress or especially as Jewel Crest of Clear Sound.
There dwells the inconceivable divine assembly of gods and deities.
There the three divine protectors (Manjusri, Avalokitesvara and Vajrapani),
the Second Buddha (Guru Padma Sambhava) and many others have
performed innumerable miraculous displays of accomplishment.
Merely seeing, hearing, recalling or touching this
place brings one to complete realization.
It is a holy place where the rainbow body
and dakini's heaven can be attained."
The wondrous landscape is adorned with much great natural beauty. The three divine protectors and the Three Ancestral Spiritual Kings, Master Padma Sambhava, the Great Translator Vairochana, Dakini Yeshe Tsogyal (Ye-Shes-mTsho-rGyal), Nyangwen Tingdzin Sangpo (Nyang-Ban-Ting-‘Dzin-bZang-Po) and others personally stepped upon this land, miraculously concealed treasure-teachings, subjugated the local gods and spirits and made them protectors of this sacred place.
For the sake of the propagation of the Buddha’s doctrine and the happiness of all sentient beings and the people of Tibet in particular, a profusion of great deeds were performed. There is a self-arisen image of Guru Rinpoche in the famous form known as "Overwhelming the Universe with Glorious Lustre" and a footprint of King Ling Gesar's (gLing-Ge-Sar) horse.
The saintly father and son, Lord Marpa and Milarepa, came to this place by mystical means, and the cave where they stayed, called Valley of the Cotton Clad (Ras-gShong), can still be seen today. A stupa called "Vanquishing the Proud Spirit", a stupa built by Vairochana and a stupa built by Garwa Tongtsan are all built around or nearby the monastery.
The monastery is situated in the southern section of this sublime holy area, and distinctive features of its particular location are described in The Prophesy of Hidden Treasures by the Great Saint (Pema Duddul) himself:
"Prophesied by Buddha, Kalsang Sangye Ling is cradled
thus by the eight directions:
To the East, all the mountains are white and smooth, a sign
of the absence of illness, evil and fearsome spirits.
To the South, the mountains, rivers and forests are vast and bountiful,
a sign of a rich expanse of excellent copious virtue.
To the West, the mountains are red and crescent-shaped, a sign of
victory over the three realms and the three worlds.
The northern mountains are high, rugged and ominous, a sign of
completely expelling all enemy delusions and hindrance-causing demons.
The mountain behind is like a great lion leaping into the sky, a sign
of attaining fearless freedom from birth and death.
The mountain to the right is like a ritual arrow braided with
rainbow ribbons, adorned with a mirror, a sign of the magnificent
glory of the mundane and supramundane attainments cascading down.
The mountains to the left are like banners of victory hoisted high,
a sign of the unfurled and ever-flying Victory Banner of Buddhism.
The rocky foothills are like a great multi-tiered throne, a sign that
the adamantine throne will endure for hundreds of Kalpas.
In the center of the rock mountains is a treasury of diamonds,
a sign that all opposing forces will by conquered.
The big village in the front meadow is shaped like a mandala, a sign of
the perfect accumulation of both meritorious action and spiritual insight.
The eighteen mountains in front seem to be bowing down with reverence,
a sign that all beings venerate [this monastery] with fervent devotion.
All the foothills are arranged like rows of stupas, a sign that the
unchanging Buddhist doctrine will flourish until the end of the Kalpa.
The shadowy slopes half-way up the mountains are like fluttering
black prayer flags, a sign that the local spirits have all been
subjugated and bound to the Dharma as protectors.
All the mountain peaks are like white silk curtains, a sign that
the dignity of the gods of virtue has triumphed [over evil].
The passage on the mountain behind is like a causeway
stretching upwards to heaven, a sign that all beings
without exception will ascend to the Akanishta heaven.
From the right flows a river of nectar from the god realms, a
sign of the quintessential blessing of the Vase Empowerment.
From the left flows a river of nectar from the Naga World,
a sign of the complete bestowal of the naga attainments.
The lower terrace sloping up the mountain is like a carpet, a sign
that all the entrances to rebirth in the lower realms are sealed.
The mountain ridge behind is many miles long, a sign that the
life spans of the lineage holders will be long and unobstructed.
From the right flows a river the color of a blood-red ruby,
a sign that the witches and dakinis will bestow their attainments.
From the left flows a river the color of a kumu water lily, a sign that
the fearless heroes of the Father Tantras will grant their attainments.
On the lower terrace the two rivers flow together, a sign
of the great bliss of the union of wisdom and compassion.
From the East flies a golden bird riding a turquoise dragon, a sign
of the continuity of the luminous clear light of primordial wisdom.
From the South comes a sound like the golden drumbeat of summer, a
sign of having achieved the mighty fearless state of the Victorious Vajradhara.
Looking North it is as if lion cubs are frolicking in the snow, a
sign that many fortunate disciples will attain profound realization.
Those who see, hear of or visit this realm, adorned with innumerable
qualities such as these, shall obtain the seed of Bodhicitta."
Thus it is praised in the adamantine prophesy.
FOUNDING OF KALSANG MONASTERY
On the tenth day of the third Tibetan month of the so-called "Wrathful" Iron Monkey year (1860), in accordance with earlier predictions, the land where the temple was to be erected was consecrated. The sky was filled with rainbows and points of light, and a fine rain of sleet descended like flowers from the atmosphere. Aromatic scents wafted from every direction, cymbals crashed and clattered, and all the rainbow light dissolved in the monastery site.
In visions, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the ten directions and in particular the thousand Buddhas of this Fortunate Era dissolved into this sacred place, thus inspiring the name Dharma Realm of the Fortunate Era Buddhas, Kalsang Sangye Choling.
With the combined efforts of disciples, followers and the people living in the surrounding area, a structure expressing the realms of the three kayas replete with gallery windows was completed. [The temple was painted with] murals depicting the four main schools of Tibetan Buddhism expressing pure nonsectarian vision of the Buddha's teachings. The colors and deities depicted were done entirely according to the hidden treasure-teachings revealed by the Great Saint himself.
Inside the walls, a thousand Buddha statues from Takok, a thousand Amitabha Buddha statues from Lhangdrak, the Realm of Clear Sound, and inconceivable numbers of statues representing lamas, deities, dakinis and Dharma protectors were concealed as hidden treasures. A ritual dagger of meteorite was concealed in each of the four pillars and secured with immutable nails. A net of vajras and daggers made of the five kinds of metal concealed in the central upper pavilion was later beaten with the old Gyarong Treasure Lady’s waist dagger and the sound was heard by all.
When the Great Saint performed the consecration, many wondrous signs appeared, experienced differently in each person's perception. Some people saw Buddha figures inside points of light, others saw many golden figures raining down like sleet from within a dense lattice of rainbow light, and so on.
The Great Saint pronounced the place equal in blessings to the Immutable Spontaneously-Accomplished Temple of Samye, saying that to see, hear of, think of or touch the place plants the seed of liberation.
His moon-like heart son Sonam Thaye (bSod-Nams mTha’-Yas) oversaw the completion of the construction, and through the immense efforts of his sun-like heart son Rang ri Dorje (Rang-Rig rDo-rJe), the place became known as the Domain of the Illusion-Destroying Trio of Father and Sons, Trulshik Yabse Sum.
According to the Great Saint's prediction, Sonam Thaye oversaw the successful construction of Samdrup Palace, a vast and elaborately decorated lamasery built to accommodate Buddhist teachers. Building materials and other necessities were supplied by the four parties of the Nyakrong region.