frame_r copy

Untitled Document

The three holiest places at Kailash Area

Sacred Mount Kailash


The monasteries and special sites round Kailash




The monasteris and special sites around the Lake

Travel Information, links and special tours

Tribute to Choying Dorjee

  Donate Us
  View our projects

All contents of this website © 2010 Kailashzone Charitable Foundation


At Sacred Mount Kailash
I pay homage to Palkhorlo Dompa

Palkhorlo Dompa

The Residence of Tantric Deity Palkorlo Dompa

Mt Kailash is the residence of the most wrathful deity Chakrasamvara (Palkhorlo Dompa in Tibetan). The tantric tradition of Buddhism believes there are three principle embodiments of an enlightened being, (Kayas in Sanskrit, Ku in Tibetan). A Buddha or an enlightened being can have all three embodiments: the body of reality, or spiritual existence, is Dharmakaya in Sanskrit (Choe Ku in Tibetan); the Complete Enjoyment Body, or celestial existence, is Sambhogakaya (Long Ku in Tibetan); and the Emanation Body, or bodily existence, is Nirmanakaya (Trulku in Tibetan). Chakrasamvara is believed to be celestial emanation of Buddha Shakyamuni.

In this universe, there are three worlds: the gods' or celestial world (Lha Yul), the human world (Me Yul) and the Naga's world (Klu Yul). Once upon a time, there were eight space-goers - four "deities" (Lha) and four "smell-eaters" (Dre Za); eight ground-walkers - four "malevolent harmers" (Nod Jan) and four "cannibal demons" (Sren Po); and eight underground dwellers - four "Nagas" (Klu) and four "demi-gods" (Lhama Ye). All together, twenty-four of them came to earth and occupied twenty-four different territories. Their evil presence caused great suffering to all the inhabitants of the earth. Therefore Buddha Shakyamuni, from the state of the body of reality, manifested the Complete Enjoyment Body as the most wrathful Palkhorlo Dompa with one face and twelve hands. He subdued all the invaders with his underlying great compassion and converted those twenty-four sites into the residences of Palkhorlo Dompa. Mount Kailash, Trita Puri, Tsari, Lache, Shel-Re-Drugda are five of the twenty-four territories.

Palkhorlo Dompa is one of four aspects of Dechog and is known as "Chakrasamvara" in Sanskrit. "Chakra" means wheel and "Samvara" means supreme bliss. It is also translated as "spontaneous great bliss". By practicing Chakrasamvara tantra, Buddhists try to gain a profound realization of the emptiness of all phenomena and being. This is described as the supreme bliss of mind. The sexual union of Chakrasamvara and his consort Vajrayogini (Dorjee Pegmo in Tibetan) symbolizes ultimate wisdom and compassion to achieve the state of enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings. The practices associated with Dechog are widely practiced by all the Tantric traditions of Tibetan Buddhism.

The image of the tantric wrathful deity, Dechog, is usually drawn locked in union with his consort, Dorjee Phagmo, and has a normal human appearance with two arms and one face. The two together symbolize the union of compassion and wisdom, which are an essential combination for achieving ultimate spiritual realization.

The Precious Snow Mountain

Gang Rinpoche is one of several Tibetan names for Mount Kailash; it means the precious snow mountain. Many Sutra books say that sacred Mount Kailash lies behind nine black mountains, east of Buddhagaya, a place in India where the historical Buddha Shakyamuni attained the state of enlightenment. It is believed that in the 5th century, Buddha Shakyamuni and five hundred Arhats miraculously appeared on Mount Kailash. They were there to prevent a cannibal demon, Ravana (Gonpo Bang in Tibetan), from magically removing Kailash. Today, there are four footprints, one on each side of Kailash, which are believed to have been left by Buddha Shakyamuni in order to nail Kailash down. The surrounding mountains of Kailash are known as the residences of the five hundred Arhats. Behind Kailash can clearly be seen the mark of a rope, believed to have been left by Ravana.

The King of Mountains

Many authors refer to Mount Kailash as Mount Meru. This name comes from beliefs about the formation of the universe. Space came into existence as the result of innumerable causes and conditions. Wind depends on air and water depends on wind; earth depends on water and living beings depend on earth; celestial bodies such as the sun, moon, stars and planets are also dependent on the wind element. This is how the universe was formed. At the centre, there is a mountain, known as Mt Meru in Sanskrit, which is the earth's navel. In Tibetan Mt Meru is known as Re-Gyal, which means the king of mountains. Living beings came into existence through the five elements and common Karmas. Karma is a Buddhist term that is defined as the sum of somebody’s good and bad past actions, which is believed to decide their fate in the future. Among living beings, there are those who have physical bodies (zug kam) and those who don't (zug med kam); all live in this universe at a wide range of levels, like a stupa reaching from the foot to the peak of Mt Meru.

Retreat Centre of Kargyu Pa Order of Tibetan Buddhism

A Drawing of Mount Kailash

MilarepaMount Kailash has long been a retreat centre of the Kagyu Pa Order of Tibetan Buddhism. Milarepa (1040-1123) was one of the foremost respected Tibetan yogis. His great master, Marpa, told him that if he wasn't able to meditate on the knowledge he possessed, living a long life would only be cause for rebirth in hell. Marpa advised him to go to the sacred Mount Kailash, which is mentioned in Sutras, and to practice meditation. On completion of his studies, Milarepa reached Mount Kailash in 1093. On arrival at Gur La, a pass where you first see Mount Kailash as you approach from the west, Milarepa was received by the local deities and spirits, the so-called land owners. They offered him the sacred Mount Kailash and the holy lake of Manasarovar as a retreat centre for himself and his followers. Then, at the lakeside, Milarepa encountered the famous Bon Po (the pre-Buddhist Tibetan religion) practitioner, Naro Bon Chung. He asked Milarepa, "Who are you and where are you going?" Milarepa answered, "My name is Milarepa. We are going to the sacred Mount Kailash to meditate." Naro Bon Chong replied "Kailash and Manasarovar belong to the Bon religion, so you can only meditate there if you practice Bon." Milarepa replied, "Buddha Shakyamuni predicted that Mount Kailash would be a sacred place for all Buddhists practitioners in general. The great master Marpa especially advised me to go to Mount Kailash to meditate. Therefore, Mount Kailash is a sacred Buddhist mountain and Bon practitioners can only remain there if they practice Buddhism." Milarepa and Naro Bon Chung had a long argument. Finally, they used their spiritual powers to compete with each other to see who should own Mount Kailash.

Naro Bon Chung stepped across holy Manasarovar. He sang this song: "You, Milarepa, are like Mount Kailash and Manasarovar with great fame from afar. Mount Kailash is just a rocky mountain covered by snow, and Manasarovar is a lake which stores all the dirt coming from the rivers. You, Milarepa, are a skinny man, who is just skin and bone. There is nothing wonderful about you at all." Then, Milarepa left Manasarovar on the tips of his fingers, without causing any harm to the living beings in the lake, and sang this song: " I, Milarepa, known by all people, came to Mount Kailash in order to fulfil Lho Drang Marpa's advice and to achieve my own goal and others' through meditation. Since you, Naro Bon Chung, came with the wrong idea, I am going to compete and do whatever it takes." Their final match was to see who could be first to get to the top of Mount Kailash; this would decide the ownership of Mount Kailash and Manasarovar. So, on the day, Naro Bon Chung left early in the morning while Milarepa was still in his bed. A follower of Milarepa woke him up and said, "Naro has left early. Are you going to give away the sacred mountain?" At sunrise, Milarepa flew to the top of Mount Kailash. Naro Bon Chung lost his drum because he was unable to bear the rays shining from the peak of the mountain. The great scar down the side of Mount Kailash is believed to have been made by Naro Bon Chung's drum. Since Naro Bon Chung was unable to defeat Milarepa, he said, "You have won, but please give me a place from where I can see Mount Kailash." So Milarepa threw a handful of snow from the mountain, creating a small Kailash. Milarepa offered the small mountain to Naro Bon Chung. Still today, the small mountain is known as Gang-Chung (small Kailash) or Bon Re (the mountain of Bon).

Since the 11th century, the Kagyu Pa sect of Tibetan Buddhism have been the owners of Mount Kailash and Manasarovar. Milarepa told his students to practise their meditation on Mount Kailash. Then Gampopa (1079-1153), one of Milarepa's closest disciples, also told his disciple, Pugmodrupa (1110-1170), to send graduate monks to meditate continuously at Mount Kailash, Tsari and Lachi. However, things didn't turn out as expected: Pugmodrupa, the founder of the Pagdru Kagyu Order, sang this song to two of his disciples, Kyabpa Jigten Sumgon (1143-1217), the founder the Drikung Kagyu Order, and Druptop Langje Repa, the founder of the Drugpa Kagyu Order: "As Buddha predicted, the Himalayas are known all over the world. The residence of Palkhorlo Dompa (Chakrasamvara) is there. Today, it is there as an object for worldly sentient beings to make offerings to. To go to Mount Kailash would be a great joy and to meditate there would be a great happiness." Two of the disciples asked their disciple, Je Tsangpa Gyare Yeshi Dorjee, to go to Mount Kailash. He went and gathered thousands of students, ensuring the practice of meditation flourished in the region as the waxing of the moon. His disciple Gyalwa Gotsangpa practised for a long time at Mount Kailash and established the path round the mountain, introducing the tradition of walking around sacred Mount Kailash, known as Kora in Tibetan.

Jigten Sumgon first sent 80 of his students from the Drikung Kagyu Order, under the guidance of Geshe Nyepupa. A second time, 900 disciples went with Geshe Nyochenpo and Garpa Jangdor. The third time, he sent Dordzin Guya Gangpa as the retreat master to oversee 55,525 students. At that time there were no monasteries at Mount Kailash and the meditators lived in caves and under boulders. Later, Lord Jigten Sumgon also instructed Nyo Gyalwa Lhanangpa, Druptob Senge Yeshe and others to practise at Mount Kailash.

Since that day, the abbot of Gyangdrak Monastery has held the title “Dordzin.” “Dor” refers to “dorje” in Tibetan or “vajra” in Sanskrit—representing an indestructible substance such as a thunderbolt or a diamond; “dzin” means “holder”; and so together the title means, “Vajra Holder.” Since the founding of Gyangdrak Monastery, there have been 33 Vajra Holders. The first was Ghuya Gangpa and the current Dordzin is Wangtang Dorje.


Sacred sites at the Mount Kailash  |  Senge Tenzin Rinpoche  |  Ngari: western Tibet  
                                          |  Limi: northwestern Nepal  | Dolpo: eastern Nepal