A shepherd of a village in Nyangtod of Tsang region of Tibet observed that a white she-goat always left the flock everyday when he went to graze his flock of sheep and goats. One day out of curiosity he followed the she-goat and saw it sprinkling milk on a rock. He went to the rock to take a closer look and saw the syllable "AH HUNG" naturally formed on the rock. At that time Lingchen Repa (1128-1188) visited the village and the rock was offered to him. Lingchen Repa built a cave at the site and meditated there. Since then the place came to be called 'Ralung' or the place prophesied (lung in Tibetan) by the goat (ra in Tibetan). The holy rock was kept at Naphu Cholung, the main seat of Lingchen Repa.

As prophesied by his protective deity, in 1193 the first Gyalwang Drukpa Tsangpa Gyare Yeshi Dorje (1161-1211) built the Shedrub Chokhor Ling Monastery at Ralung, the main seat of the Drukpa lineage. The landscape had unique features: the land appeared like an eight-petaled lotus in bloom, with the surrounding snowy peaks, rocky mountains, hills and meadows bowing in respect and diverting the inflow hundreds of streams, and the sky above appeared like an eight-spoke wheel. The eight auspicious symbols adorned the surrounding: The mountain in front of the monastery appeared in the form of a white conch turning clock-wise; the peak of Rala pass appeared like a precious open parasol; the peak behind Pokya appeared like a brimming vase; the Tsenchu peak appeared like a victory banner hoisted high; the Yangon hill appeared like a pair of golden fish; the ground at Gormo appeared like a golden wheel; the hill in the direction of Penthang appeared like an open lotus stem with the twin streams appearing like two birds facing each other; and Gyamo meadow appeared like an auspicious knot.

Since the monastery at Ralung was visited and blessed by a number of realised masters, it is known to be as holy as Bodhgaya. So popular and well known was the monastery that it became synonymous with Ralung, the place, and generally came to be called as simply Ralung.

The above was extracted from The Dragon magazine (Autumn 2002 Issue), published by Drukpa Publications (DPPL), my publishing arm. You can visit DPPL's website (www.drukpa.com) to buy a copy, if you wish.

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