The Reting monastery was founded in 1057 in the center of Tibet. Its founder was Dromtön who was the chief disciple of Buddhist Master Atisha, and Dromtön brought some of Atisha’s relics with him when he came to the Tsampo Valley. Atisha was very influential to the point of dictating teachings and inspiring structures near the monastery. In fact, a hall was erected specifically to enshrine a statue of Tara who Atisha worshiped.
Dromtön was a preacher and teacher who made the monastery all that it has ever been. The monastery became a Gelug school that was the seat of the Reting Rinpoche, and these Rinphoches were credited for helping find the 14th Dalai Lama. Because of political strife with the Chinese, the seventh incarnation of the Reting Rinpoche was chosen by the Chinese Government and is not privately accepted to be the real incarnation. The Dalai Lama himself never recognized this so-called reincarnation and claims it is a pawn from the Chinese government.
The Reting monastery has been through much throughout its history. In 1240 the Mongol’s saw Reting as a prime location for their possible attack of Song China, and during a mission to do so the monastery was burned and 500 people were killed. Also, in 1947 the Tibetan army arrested the 5th Reting Rinpoche and ransacked the entire monastery and destroyed much of its scared relics and statues. Once again during the Cultural Revolution the monastery’s stupa was destroyed, along with much of the entire complex.
The monastery is located by the beautiful Lhasa River and is heavily shaded by foliage throughout. In addition the location was once only accessible by foot, but in recent years a highway has been built that follows along the river up to the monastery. The monastery itself consists mainly of sutra halls and Buddha halls, but also has conservative dormitories for the monks.
The rich and troubled history of the Reting Monastery makes it a very educational and awe-inspiring location.