Shar Drol Dechen Yangwen Ling was founded by Kalsang Dagpa Shelzhig in the 17th century. For generations it was known as a place where Bön and Buddhist practitioners - monks, yogis, and lay practitioners - attained high levels of meditative experience. The lineage of Shelzig has been continuously maintained at the center through teachings of the Dzogchen texts Yabse Sum and Tsewang Bodyulma. In 1959, Shar Drol Dechen Yangwen Ling was destroyed, and then completely reduced to ruins during the cultural revolution.In 1980, the current Khenpo's root Lama, Thaye Rangdrol Rinpoche, re-established Shar Drol Dechen Yangwen Ling as a meditation center and invited Lungrig Namdak Rinpoche, lineage holder of Shardza Rinpoche, to teach there. The center flourished and soon there were about 100 practitioners receiving Dzogchen and other meditation instructions in Shardza Rinpoche's lineage - among them a young monk, Tenzin Yeshe, who was to become Khenpo of Shar Drol Dechen Yangwen Ling in 2011. In 1998 Thaye Rangdrol Rinpoche passed away and since then the meditation center has been deteriorating, because there has been nobody to oversee it.
In 2005, when Geshe Tenzin Yeshe went to Tibet to visit his family, there were about 50 monks and nuns living at the meditation center. They asked him to stay and teach and help rebuild the meditation center. Between 2005 and 2011, Geshe Tenzin Yeshe has been teaching in the West, and collecting donations for the reconstruction of Shar Drol Dechen Yangwen Ling both as a monastery and as a meditation center where any serious practitioner, male or female, can go into meditation retreat and receive instructions.
Khenpo Tenzin Yeshe's appeal for donations for Shar Drol Dechen Yangwen Ling
In 2011 Geshe Tenzin Yeshe has been appointed Khenpo of Shar Drol Dechen Yangwen Ling, and has returned to Tibet to teach and instruct at Shar Drol Dechen Yangwen Ling and to help with its reconstruction. Under his guidance, Shar Drol Dechen Yangwen Ling has again become a center in which meditation, in particular Dzogchen, is taught at a high level to monks, nuns and lay practitioners alike. Much reconstruction work remains to be done.