Katok Monastery in 2014
|Location||Baiyu County, Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan|
|Founder||Katok Dampa Deshek|
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Katok Monastery (Tibetan: ཀཿ་ཐོག་རྡོ་རྗེ་གདན་, THL Katok Dorjé Den), also transliterated as Kathok or Kathog Monastery, is one of the six principal ("mother") monasteries of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism. It is located in Baiyu County, Garze Prefecture, Sichuan, China.
Katok Monastery is located 4,000m above sea level on the eastern flanks of a mountain range in Baiyu County, Garze, Sichuan. The entire monastery complex is approximately 700m above the valley floor and is accessed by a dirt road containing 18 hairpin turns. The nearest town is Horpo (Chinese: 河坡; pinyin: Hépō), 17 km to the north.
Katok Monastery's third abbot, Jampa Bum (1179-1252), whose 26-year tenure as abbot ended in 1252, "is said to have ordained thousands of monks from across Tibet, and especially from Kham region of Minyak (mi nyag), Jang ('byang), and Gyémorong (rgyal mo rong)."
Katok Monastery held a reputation of fine scholarship. Prior to the annexation of Tibet in 1951, Katok Monastery housed about 800 monks.
Katok was long renowned as a center specializing in the oral lineages (as opposed to terma) and as a center of monasticism, although both of these features were disrupted under Longsel Nyingpo (1625–1692).
According to The Tibetan Buddhist Resource Centre, disciples of Kenpo Munsel  and Kenpo Jamyang compiled a Katok edition of the oral lineages (Wylie: bka' ma shin tu rgyas pa (kaH thog)) in 120 volumes in 1999: "[T]wice the size of the Dudjom edition, it contains many rare Nyingma treatises on Mahayoga, Anuyoga, and Atiyoga that heretofore had never been seen outside of Tibet."
According to Alexander Berzin,
Katog has 112 branch monasteries, not only in Tibet, but also in Mongolia, Inner China, Yunnan, and Sikkim. For instance, Katog Rigdzin-tsewang-norbu (Ka:-thog Rigs-‘dzin Tshe-dbang nor-bu) (1698-1755) founded a large branch in Sikkim, and when the Eighth Tai Situ Rinpoche, Situ Panchen Chokyi-jungney (Si-tu Pan-chen Chos-kyi ‘byung-gnas) (1700-1744), visited China, he stayed at the Katog branch-monastery at the Five-Peaked Mountain of Manjushri (Ri-bo rtse-lnga, Chin: Wutai Shan), to the southwest of Beijing.
Kathog Monastery became a bastion of the Anuyoga tradition when it became neglected by other Nyingmapa institutions. The Compendium of the Intentions Sūtra (Wylie: dgongs pa ’dus pa’i mdo) the root text of the Anuyoga tradition was instrumental in the early Kathog educational system. Nubchen Sangye Yeshe wrote a lengthy commentary on the Compendium of the Intentions Sūtra rendered in English as Armor Against Darkness (Wylie: mun pa’i go cha).
In 2016, an expansion of the Katok Monastery to the northeast was completed. This expansion included a new temple and assembly hall, directly adjacent to the existing monastery complex.
People from Katok Monastery
- A minor figure from Katok, the First Chonyi Gyatso, Chopa Lugu (17th century - mid-18th century), is remembered for his "nightly bellowing of bone-trumpet and shouting of phet" on pilgrimage, much to the irritation of the business traveler who accompanied him. Chopa Lugu became renowned as "The Chod Yogi Who Split a Cliff in China (rgya nag brag bcad gcod pa)."
- Dzongsar Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö (c.1893 – 1959) was educated at Katok.
- The Fifth Nyingon Choktrul, Gyurme Kelzang Tobgyel Dorje (1937-1979) was a noted teacher in the Katok tradition.
- Jamyang Gyeltsen (1929-1999) served as a principal abbot, and was involved in rebuilding the monastery in the 1980s. He is known for his teaching, writing, and for compiling a history of the monastery.
Lauded scholars seated at Katok Monastery
- Katok Tsewang Norbu (1698–1755)
- Getse Mahapandita (1761–1829)
- Katok Situ Chökyi Gyatso (1880-1923/5)
- Khenpo Ngawang Pelzang (also known as Khenpo Ngakchung)
- Katok Situ Chökyi Nyima (1928–1962, died of starvation in Gothang Gyalgo prison camp)
- Sichuan Sheng Dituce. Beijing, China: Star Map Press. 2013. ISBN 9787547109151.
- McCue, Gary (2010). Trekking Tibet: A Traveler's Guide. Seattle, WA: The Mountaineer's Books. p. 308. ISBN 9781594852664.
- Chhosphel, Samten (March 2011). "Katokpa Dampa Deshek". The Treasury of Lives: Biographies of Himalayan Religious Masters. Retrieved 2013-08-19.
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- "Celibacy, Revelations, and Reincarnated Lamas: Contestation and Synthesis in the Growth of Monasticism at Katok Monastery from the 11th through 19th Centuries" by Jann Michael Ronis. Ph D. dissertation, University of Virginia May, 2009. pg ii
- Chhosphel, Samten (March 2013). "Khenpo Munsel". The Treasury of Lives: Biographies of Himalayan Religious Masters. Retrieved 2013-10-08.
- The Tibetan Buddhist Resource Centre (2006). "bka' ma shin tu rgyas pa (kaH thog)". Source: (accessed: Sunday August 17, 2008)
- "A Brief History of Katog Monastery". Study Buddhism. Original version published in "Nyingma Monasteries." Chö-Yang, Year of Tibet Edition (Dharamsala, India), (1991). 2003. Retrieved 2016-06-06.
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- Chhosphel, Samten (December 2011). "The First Chonyi Gyatso, Chopa Lugu". The Treasury of Lives: Biographies of Himalayan Religious Masters. Retrieved 2013-10-08.
- Gardner, Alexander (December 2009). "Jamyang Khyentse Chokyi Lodro". The Treasury of Lives: Biographies of Himalayan Religious Masters. Retrieved 2013-10-08.
- Chhosphel, Samten (December 2011). "The Fifth Nyingon Choktrul, Gyurme Kelzang Tobgyel Dorje". The Treasury of Lives: Biographies of Himalayan Religious Masters. Retrieved 2013-10-08.
- Chhosphel, Samten (July 2012). "Jamyang Gyeltsen". The Treasury of Lives: Biographies of Himalayan Religious Masters. Retrieved 2013-10-08.
- Adhe Tapontsang; Joy Blakeslee (1999). Ama Adhe, the Voice That Remembers: The Heroic Story of a Women's Fight to Free Tibet. Boston: Wisdom Publications. p. 133. ISBN 9780861711499.
- "Katok Situ Incarnation Line - Rigpa Wiki". www.rigpawiki.org. Archived from the original on 25 October 2016. Retrieved 2018-12-02.
- Rigpa Shedra (July 24, 2008). Katok Monastery.(accessed: Sunday August 17, 2008)
- Ronis, Jann Michael (May 2009). "Celibacy, Revelations, Reincarnated Lamas: Growth of Monasticism at Katok 17th-19th-c". University of Virginia. Retrieved 2013-10-08. Cite journal requires
- Jigtse, Jamyang (January 1996). History of Kathog Monastery. Chengdu: Sichuan Ethnic Publishing House. ISBN 7-5409-1659-1. Archived from the original on 2012-09-12. Retrieved 2013-10-08.