Earth Treasure Vase for our root temple
Tolu Tharling Gompa, Nepal

Tolu Tharling Gompa (Monastery) suffered terrible destruction by Nepal’s 2015 earthquake
Thankfully the main temple building is still standing.

The Root Temple of the Global Mandala

Tolu Tharling Gompa (Monastery) is one of the oldest temples in Nepal and the root temple of the Gaia Mandala Global Healing Community. It was Lama Ngawang Tsultrim Zangpo, the current abbot of the monastery, who guided Cynthia to meet his teacher H.E. Kushok Mangden (Charok Rinpoche) from whom she received the practice of the Earth Treasure Vases. Lama Tsultrim is also responsible for overseeing the crafting of the treasure vases that the global community has been distributing around the world.

Sadly, in 2015, an earthquake measuring 8 on the Richter scale devastated Nepal and damaged the monastery radically, leaving only two buildings standing – the main Gompa (Temple) shrine building and enclosed Prayer Wheel Temple.

Lama Tsultrim is devoted to rebuilding this beautiful seat and to pass on the dharma for a new era of life on Earth. He was born and raised at Tolu Gompa and entered his first three-year retreat at age twelve. All the teachings of the lineage were given to him by two great Lamas – his father and Charok Rinpoche. With the passing of Charok Rinpoche and his father, Lama Tsultrim is now the lineage holder at Tolu Tharling, who will continue to uphold the tradition.

With the intention to help plant the seed of restoration and to support the continuation of this precious and ancient lineage, it was decided to bring an Earth Treasure Vase to this sacred mountain portal, our root temple, Tolu Tharling Gompa.

History of Tolu Gompa

Since the 7th Century, the practice of Himalayan Buddhism has flourished in Nepal. With the Chinese invasion of Tibet in the 1950s, hundreds of monasteries were built in the bustling city of Kathmandu and surrounding high and low lands. Amongst these, Tolu Tharling Monastery stands out as a unique and hidden treasure. Sitting at an elevation of 9,317 feet in the Sagarmatha (Mt Everest) region of eastern Nepal, the remote Nyingma Dzogchen Monastery of Tolu Tharling, holds a 400-year-old unbroken lineage of dedicated dharma practice and learning.
Tolu Tharling Monastery is known as a place to connect with the wisdom and clarity of the Himalayas. For four centuries, wisdom seekers including many lamas of well-known monasteries, advanced tantric practitioners, monastics and lay people have chosen to come here and immerse themselves in long term retreat, hidden within the forest in cave dwellings and simple cabins at this sacred site. Within a culture where the norm is for monasteries to only house monks, Tolu Tharling Monastery offered a unique setting where both men and women, monastics and tantric practitioners, formed a Dharma community and practiced together. It is from this foundation that many revered lamas and great yogis and yoginis have served the local Sherpa and international communities with love, compassion and dedication by actively passing on the lineage traditions that have sustained Himalayan Buddhist practice for over 400 years.

Both the monastery compound and surrounding forest are home to many holy sites where physical signs of the presence of great masters and their teachings can be found among the trees and rolling hills. Here, in this amazing place of cultural significance, a myriad of beautiful “mani” inscriptions can be discovered. The ‘mani’ (meaning ‘jewel’ or ‘infinite altruism’) carvings are of sacred syllables and prayers on rocks. These ancient inscriptions are the remnants of teachings left behind by dedicated practitioners who lived in the area.

Tolu Tharling Monastery is also renowned as a place that Padmasambhava visited. Also known as Guru Rinpoche, the enlightened master who traveled through Nepal on his way from India to bring Buddhism to Tibet. Guru Rinpoche visited this region in the 7th Century, leaving an exceptionally clear body print in a rock not far from Tolu Tharling. Secret markings of protectors such as Ekajati, which self-arise only in places where deep practice has been achieved, lie deep within the forest canopy. In the 1940s, after centuries of practice by hidden yogis in the surrounding caves and cabins, a temple was finally constructed to provide a main shrine building for ceremonies to be performed in. The site on which the temple is built was carefully chosen based on an exact calculation of sacred geomantic ley lines that run through the heart of the Himalayan range.

Tolu Tharling Monastery is one of only three monasteries in the whole of Nepal, that contains murals and shrine artwork done by the hand of one master craftsman who was an emanation of a well-known artist and treasure revealer (tertön) from the 14th century. The temple buildings still standing, are home to these hand-painted murals done with precious mineral paints sourced from the ground in the region, depicting full visual representations of the highest level of Nyingmapa Dzogchen Vajrayana teachings, including the Shitro Bardo of Death and Dying; the Dzogchen teachings of the Konchok Chidu, Vajrakilaya and the great dharma protectors Mahakala, Ekajati, Rahula and Dorje Legpa.

Many other precious artifacts are also housed here, including hundreds of traditional hand-made block print texts brought over to the Himalayas from Tibet on the backs of fleeing pilgrims in the early 20th Century, antique ceremonial musical instruments, crystals, statues and stupas that retain the powerful energetic imprint of the great masters who have offered their lives, by seeking enlightenment to serve all sentient beings and emanate their light into the world.

A hill above Tolu Tharling Monastery where Charok Rinpoche used to picnic with Lama Tsultrim’s father.

Pilgrimage to Tolu Gompa

In 2018, a group of Earth Treasure Vase pilgrims met in Kathmandu, to travel to this sacred place behind the veil – the crumbling monastery of the lineage that Lama Tsultrim inherited from both his father who recently passed away, and from Kushok Mangdon (Charok Rinpoche) who lived here for 50 years.
Earth Treasure Vase pilgrims at the Great Stupa of Bodhanath: David Nicol, Ginny McGinn, Tyler Hess, Cynthia Jurs, Lama Tsultrim, Andre Lambertson, Lenya Reese, Roger Sanford & Leslie Meehan. Photo by Katie Teague.
This is the view of the Himalayan Range from a hill above Tolu Gompa, where Lama Tsultrim’s father and Charok Rinpoche, used to picnic. We gathered here to share our prayers and make offerings into the Earth Treasure Vase.
Lama Tsultrim blessing the vase for Tolu Tharling.

Cynthia was moved to tears to bring these mountains into the global mandala of Earth Treasure Vases

Some of the ETV pilgrims at Tolu Tharling:
David Nicol invoking the vast spirit of Gaia to bless the Vase.
Doctor LenyaReese praying for the healing of women’s bodies and new lives being born
Filmmaker, Andre Lambertson’s constant prayer was always, “love, love, love, joy, joy, joy”
The ever-smiling Lama Chundu with Tyler Hess & Andre Lambertson
Local lamas gathered with us in the temple to invoke Tara in an all-day ceremony. Following this, we brought forward the Earth Treasure Vase for Tolu Gompa and filled it with offerings from all the Vase locations around the world and more offerings that were brought by the group for the occasion.
Monks from the surrounding area came for all day ceremonies in the Gompa (temple) dedicated to protection and renewal and a special invocation of Tara. At the end of the day, Cynthia presented Lama Tsultrim with a gift of funds raised by Alliance for the Earth to initiate the Tolu Gompa Rebuilding Project.
The Earth Treasure Vases at the center of the altar.
The vase lived on the altar inside the treasure box crafted by Santa Fe, sangha member, Juan Handelin until it was placed inside the Stupa at Tolu Gompa.
May it be so!

Placement of the Earth Treasure Vase for Tolu Tharling Gompa

On the full moon of November 2019 on the land of our root temple, Tolu Tharling Monastery, the relics of Lama Tsultrim’s father, Lama Kyabrok Tulku Rinpoche were interred inside the stupa of Nag Kharka. Our 44th Earth Treasure Vase was also placed inside this stupa at the same time, by Lama Ngawang Tsultrim Rinpoche, who crafted the Earth Treasure Vases for us so long ago.

May the wisdom and beauty of this sacred place, now a node on the mandala, feed all the other nodes, spreading the light of our love and the profound intentions of the lineage masters, ever more powerfully around our world.

Help Restore Our Root Temple in Nepal and Preserve a Hidden Treasure

In this powerful and undisturbed location, Tolu Tharling Monastery offers a unique and energetically potent presence in the world—one which can facilitate a deep connection to the expansive wisdom energy of the lineage masters. This sacred mountain portal, is a place where beings have committed themselves to guard the teachings and protect the stream of devoted practitioners who quest for wisdom, clarity and insight. It is a place of refuge in a world out of balance. Tolu Tharling Gompa is a precious jewel and is in desperate need of being rebuilt.

To revitalize this ancient seat so that it is relevant today, we are seeking the support of our extended community. Together we can preserve, rebuild and revitalize Tolu Tharling Gompa for the benefit of all beings and future generations yet to come.

Please consider becoming a member of the Tolu Gompa Preservation Project
by making your generous contribution today!

Click HERE
to make a tax-deductible donation in the USA
(Select Nepal Rebuilding Project in the dropdown menu).
Thank you!


Monday Mindfulness Meditation