Hung Syllable surrounded by Vajra Guru Mantra.
The north american seat

Rigdzin Ling

In 1988, a vast and splendid piece of land was acquired in Northern California and Chagdud Rinpoche named it Rigdzin Ling, "the abode of the Awakened State Holders", which became the seat of the Chagdud Gonpa Foundation. The place has been consecrated by great ceremonies, numerous offerings and aspiration prayers.

In addition to providing public teachings and retreats, Rigzin Ling is home to Padma Publishing, and Tibetan Treasures. Padma Publishing is the editorial arm of the Foundation, which publishes sadanas (liturgies), translated books and a compilation of teachings that serve as meditation manuals. Tibetan Treasures, Chagdud Gonpa's store, distributes Padma Publishing books, other Dharma books and offers articles of practice.

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Tara House

As the primary hub of activity at Rigdzin Ling, for decades Tara House has been the location of countless retreats, teachings and empowerments for over three decades. Containing not only the shrine room, but a commercial kitchen, dining room, administrative offices and guest rooms—Tara House provides a foundational support for the dharma activity of Rigdzin Ling and Chagdud Gonpa North America.

People looking at a colorful Guru Rinpoche statue at Chagdud Gonpa Rigdzin Ling in Junction City, CA.
Colorful 15-foot Guru Rinpoche statue with stupas and prayer flags in the background at Rigdzin Ling in Junction City, CA..

Guru Rinpoche Statue

Enlightened Body is represented by the Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche) Statue. The statue of Guru Rinpoche was created from a single block of Western Red Cedar by Chagdud Rinpoche and his students and consecrated in the Fall of 1994. The statue displays the form of the enlightened master, Padmasambhava, who propagated Vajrayana Buddhism in Tibet in the 8th century, established the great Samye Monastery, and introduced the Dzogpa Chenpo, the Great Perfection teachings that are the pinnacle of the Nyingmapa school. The lotus flower that he sits upon rises from the water and represents the stainless quality of inherent natural mind.

The Eight Great Stupas with mountains in the background at Chagdud Gonpa Rigdzin Ling in Junction City, CA.

Prayer Flags & The Eight Great Stupas

Enlightened Speech is represented by the Prayer Flags and the Prayer Wheel. Both the prayer flags and the prayer wheel contain many prayers, or mantras, written in Tibetan script. With the ceaseless turning of the great prayer wheel and the wind blowing across the prayer flags, powerful blessings radiate out into the local environment and the world, benefiting beings.

Enlightened Mind is represented by the Eight Great Stupas. The eight stupas commemorate the eight major events of the Buddha Shakyamuni's life. These events took place in various holy places in India and are noted on the individual plaque for each stupa. The form of the stupas is very precise. The Buddha Shakyamuni gave exact instructions concerning the proportions, and also specified the ritual ceremonies, the contents, and the special mantras to be placed in each stupa. The stupa is a symbol of the path to enlightenment, and each level of the stupa corresponds to an aspect of the path. These stupas were constructed over a period of five years, beginning in 1995, and consecrated in a great ceremony in 2001.

HE. Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche and Tulku Sang-Ngag Rinpoche guided every step of the process. The stupas are a source of immediate benefit, helping to eliminate the obstacles of disease, famine, and natural disasters. They are also a source of ultimate benefit, planting the seeds of enlightenment. Each stupa is a vast mandala of positive qualities and it is of great benefit to honor those qualities by walking around them in a clockwise direction, with the motivation that all beings might find harmony and happiness in their lives.

“In Tibet a lot of the stupas were built at crossroads on high mountain passes, places where nobody would ever go except on their way to somewhere else. Tibetans knew that no matter what stupas looked like on the outside, they contained incredible blessings. Just to see them was a blessing. To touch them was a blessing. To hear the sound of the wind blowing around them was a blessing. And that was why they built them—for the blessings, just the blessings.”
– Tulku Sang-ngag Rinpoche
Sun rising over the prayer wheel house at Chagdud Gonpa Rigdzin Ling in Junction City, CA.

Prayer Wheel House

At the age of eleven, news of his mother’s death reached the young Chagdud Tulku in retreat. Soon afterward, he declared that his mother’s assets were to be sold off and the proceeds used to construct an enormous prayer wheel containing 10 million Vajrasattva mantras. It was a costly and ambitious undertaking. Progress was slow, but two years later the work was completed and the wheel consecrated.

Rinpoche compared the reverberation of the spinning mantras inside the prayer wheel house to an actual experience of Vajrasattva’s Pervasive Purification: “This fulfilled my mother’s intention that all persons who came there and prayed with faith would be cleansed of the obscuring habits and poisons of the mind, and that by the blessings of Vajrasattva’s Compassion and wisdom, all would come to abide in the intrinsic purity of their mind’s absolute nature.”

Constructed in 2007 by Rigdzin Ling staff and volunteers— this huge, profoundly significant project was a collaboration between Rigdzin Ling and Iron Knot Ranch, which culminated in the installation of thirty-two giant prayer wheels (fifteen at Rigdzin Ling, seventeen at Iron Knot Ranch), each containing mantras printed on paper rolls and imaged onto microfilm.

The primary mantra of the prayer wheel project is the Vajra Guru, with more than 5 billion mantras printed on paper and 97 billion on microfilm. One-third of the paper and film is covered with the longevity mantras of Amitabha, Amitayus, and Chenrezig.

The mantras of 11 other deities are included in the wheels. Nine of the mantras are duplicated from the mantras in the 40 prayer wheels that Chagdud Rinpoche created at Khadro Ling: those of Dorjé Drolö, Amitabha, Chenrezik, Amitayus, Vajrakilaya, Vajrasattva, Hayagriva, Kurukulle, and the Lion-Faced Dakini. The wheels at Rigdzin Ling and Iron Knot Ranch also include Longchenpa and Green Tara mantras, as well as the Red Tara mantra in its hand turned wheels.

Each of the hundred-plus rolls of nearly translucent paper is 3 feet wide and approximately 25 miles long. Totaling 2,600 miles of paper in all. The ink itself has been consecrated by sacred substances, some containing minute quantities of past masters’ relics. In addition to the mantras printed on paper, the wheels contain more than 200 miles of microfiche. To the naked eye, microfiche appears to be an opaque film, but with magnification, impossibly tiny and confoundingly numerous syllables are visible.

A metal statue of Guru Rinpoche.
The collected works of Dilgo Khyentse stacked on a shelf.

Tibetan Treasures

Tibetan Treasures was started in 1989 when Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche asked his students to make practice items, books, and texts available by starting a small store at Rigdzin Ling. What began as a small glass display case in a living room has grown into a full-scale internet business and storefront, completely run by dedicated volunteers.