Tsadra Foundation envisions a flourishing community of Western scholar-practitioners who are fully trained in the traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. Grounded in wisdom and compassion, these individuals actively enrich the world through their openness and excellence.
Contributing to the ongoing development of wisdom and compassion in western minds by advancing the combined study and practice of Tibetan Buddhism
Tsadra: Our Name
The Foundation takes its name from Tsa’dra Rinchen Drak, Jamgön Kongtrul’s hermitage and principal seat in Eastern Tibet. Perched on a cliff face high above Palpung Monastery in the Dergé region of Kham, Tsa’dra is considered to be equivalent to Tsari, one of the twenty-four sacred places in India.
It was there, at his home, that Kongtrul established a traditional three-year retreat center that
would be the seat of the Shangpa Kagyu tradition and in which the practice traditions of Shangpa,
Kalachakra, and Dzogchen were transmitted. Many volumes of Kongtrul’s Five Treasuries, which
comprise the theory and practice of all the main lineages of Tibetan Buddhism, were composed at
Jamgön Kongtrul was a remarkable figure in nineteenth century Tibet. Widely respected for his
accomplishments in contemplation and scholarship, he spent much of his life in retreat while composing
authoritative treatises. His life and activity embody perfectly the values of Tsadra Foundation,
and as such are our primary source of inspiration.
Fully integrating the two facets of Buddhist teachings, Kongtrul worked continuously for the
benefit of others through religious, social, and diplomatic efforts. A tireless advocate of the nonsectarian
movement, he counteracted the religious fragmentation of his time by espousing respect
for all authentic traditions. With this same belief at its core, Tsadra Foundation as an institution is
not attached to a single tradition, nor does it adhere to or represent any single teacher’s activity.
The directors of Tsadra Foundation acknowledge an infinite debt of gratitude to another great
Tibetan master considered to be Kongtrul’s activity incarnation, Khyabje Kalu Rinpoché. With his
profound wisdom, endless patience, and irrepressible humor, Kalu Rinpoché opened our hearts and
minds. Most significantly, he founded the first three-year retreat center in the West, trusting students
with the full and uncompromised transmission of the Buddhist teachings.
Although administratively independent, Tsa’dra Rinchen Drak is part of the Tai Situpa’s Palpung monastic domain. The directors of Tsadra Foundation are grateful to the current Tai Situpa for creating our beautiful calligraphic logo through coupling Tsadra with the aphorism rang rig ye shes kun gyi gzhi—
Tsadra: the Foundation of everything is the primordial wisdom of natural awareness.