The Shri Singha monastic university is one of the most renowned Nyingma educational centers in Eastern Tibet. Many famous masters have been educated at Shri Singha, and the institution has for many decades established educational standards applied at many other Nyingma, Sakya and Kagyu institutions. Many great scholars from Shri Singha, such as Khenpo Shenga (1871-1927), Dzogchen Patrul Rinpoche (1808-1887) and others, produced numerous commentaries and other educational materials which are to this day widely used in many shedras throughout Asia.
The present Shri Singha monastic university at Dzogchen Monastery
Shri Singha was founded by Gyalse Shenpen Thaye, the first Kushok Gemong Rinpoche, during the early nineteenth century, with the direction of the Fourth Dzogchen Rinpoche. It is said that Gyalse Shenpen Thaye and other masters were traveling through the region, looking for the right location to build a monastic university, when they passed an Indian yogi sitting on a rock. After searching through another area, they returned to the rock, and the yogi was gone. They later realized that the appearance of the yogi was a sign by the great Vidyadhara Shri Singha, who was pointing to that spot as the right location to build the shedra. Therefore, the monastic university is named after him.
When Gyalse Shenpen Thaye was considering which master to invite to give the blessings at the groundbreaking ceremony of Shri Singha, a great yogi of the time, Do Khyentse Yeshe Dorje, appeared suddenly and blessed a spot with his dagger. The institution was built on that spot, which is on the left-hand side of the valley of Dzogchen Monastery. The first Khenpo, or Abbot, of Shri Singha was Sengtruk Pema Tashi. From that time on, many great masters have graduated from Shri Singha.
In this way Shri Singha continued to expand and develop until the recent unfortunate destruction which took place throughout Tibet and China beginning in the late 1950s. During this time the monastic university, including the library, were completely destroyed. In the early 1980s, a long process of rebuilding the the shedra began anew, and is still continuing to this day.
In the early 1980s, the regional Chinese government started the Tibetan College at Dzogchen on the original location of Shri Singha. At this university, many Tibetan students were given the opportunity to study literature, poetry, medicine, astrology and obtain higher education in Buddhist Studies. Many of the graduates from this university are serving now as highly trained teachers throughout Tibet and China.
In 1985, this Tibetan College moved from Dzogchen to Ta-Wu, and the Shri Singha shedra was rebuilt on its original location under the direction of Tulku Kalsang Rinpoche. In 1989, complete training of monastics in traditional education started at Shri Singha monastic university. Many participants at this monastic university now are from the Dzogchen Monastery region, as well as from other parts of Tibet. To this day, many monks and reincarnate lamas from all lineages continue to graduate from Shri Singha and carry on their activities of propagating the scholastic lineage of the Buddhadharma in all directions.
Shri Singha monastic university in winter
Today the scholastic tradition of the Nyingma lineage continues to be kept alive through Shri Singha monastic university. Some contemporary scholars who graduated from Shri Singha before the 1950s, such as Khenchen Petse Rinpoche, who is widely known throughout Tibet and outside for his scholarship and meditative accomplishment, have been the primary teachers for reestablishment of this institution. Shri Singha today has many Khenpos of the younger generation who are teaching continuously.
Students of the Shri Singha Monastic College