Pangphug monastery is the seat of activity of First Karmapa
Pangphug monastery is well known as one of the great sites founded by the first Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa (1110-1193), one of the four main students of Gampopa. During his 84-year lifespan, Dusum Khyenpa founded many monasteries in different areas; among these are his five major seats, those of his body, speech, mind, qualities, and activity.
Tolung Tshurphu is the seat of Body.
Karma Lhateng (Karma Gon) is the seat of Speech.
Kampo Gangra (Kampo Nenang) is the seat of Mind.
Khawa Karpo is the seat of Qualities.
Lingthang Pangphug is the seat of Activity.
Dusum Khyenpa founded Pangphug monastery in the Earth Year of the third rabjung (1169), when was 60 years old. It is said that First Karmapa lived at this monastery for about 20 years. At the time, there were 125 Retreat Centers, though only 13 survive today.
On the upper side of the monastery at Machen Lake, there is a protector called Dorje Gyaltsen whom the Third Karmapa, Rangjung Dorje (1284-1339), subdued and incited as the protector of this area. Dorje Gyaltshen is depicted with hands in anjali at the heart center as a symbol of devotion towards three jewels. In his wrathful form, he holds a kilaya at his waist, and is called the “powerful genyen naga”. Here, the third Karmapa, Rangjung Dorje also left his footprint in the rock and performed many inexpressible kindnesses to ripen and liberate the people there.
While clear evidence shows that the third Karmapa, Rangjung Dorje visited the monastery, there are statues of the sixth Karmapa, Thongwa Donden and the ninth Karmapa, Wangchuk Dorje at the nearby Chagra and Tenjen branch monasteries; thus indicating that they too may have spent time at Pangphug.
The seventh Karmapa, Chodrak Gyatso (1454-1506) came and blessed Pangphug by building the Dechen Ling retreat center from which many practitioners have greatly benefitted. There are also many blessing symbols of the seventh Karmapa such as footprint on the wall, his famous dharma throne, as well as the ruins of a summer retreat center of which part is still used today.
The eighth Karmapa, Mikyo Dorje (1507-1554) came to Pangphug Monastery and paid homage to the famed speaking statue of the first Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa, and at that time, had vision of the first Karmapa.
When the tenth Karmapa, Choying Dorje (1604-1674) came, he performed miracles and produced several hot springs in the nearby region of Choying Khog to benefit those with illness.
When the fifteenth Karmapa, Khakhyab Dorje (1871-1922) was 14 years old, damage fell upon the main shrine room of the monastery. Upon completion of the repairs, the Karmapa was requested to perform a blessing ceremony for the new shrine room. He accepted he request, and on the appointed day, from his seat at Tshurphu (a very long distance away), laid out a drawing of the plan of the monastery and performed the ceremony, and as though playing a game, threw perfumed white rice on the paper. Meanwhile, at Pangphug, great clouds of offerings gathered and golden rice rained both outdoors and indoors. All those in attendance gave rise to unwavering devotion. Later in his life, the fifteenth Karmapa came in person and revealed a previously unknown image of Dusum Khyenpa in the face of the rock, below which he produced a spring of long-life water.
As well as the Karmapas, many other great beings have come to Pangphug to bestow their blessings. Tai Situ Pema Wangchog, Goshir Gyaltshab Choephel Zangpo, Tshurphu Dondrub Tulku, Khenchen Tashi Oser, Gomchen Melong Drugdrag, Drungpa Namkha Gyaltshan, Drungpa Lodro Rabsal, Rindzin Pema Choling, Drubchen Pema Tendzin, Jang Tulku Shab, Kunzang Chokyi Nyima, Kyeli Chokyi Gyaltshan, Choling Gyaltshan Rinpoche all tread here to liberate and ripen beings.
There are two main relics in the monastery. The first is the statue of the First Karmapa, made himself. The lower part of the statue Karmapa made from clay, and the upper one appeared itself during his meditation. You can not take pictures. Here’s a poster of the statue. But if you really want, then you can, of course))
Also somewhere under the statue the “water” tsa-tsa is stored, made by Karmapa as a memory of the victory over elementals. But visitors can see this relic only on big holidays.