Named after the great Nyingma saint Longchenpa’s favourite retreat centre and final resting place, Orgyan Osal Cho Dzong is a 350 acre centre for the study and practice of Nyingma Dharma. Located in southeastern Ontario near the town of Madoc, the centre is situated in the midst of an extensive forest at the foot of Mount Moriah, an ancient aboriginal power spot and south-eastern Ontario’s highest peak. The centre’s facilities include a large temple, 15 room retreat house and a Lama house. Orgyan Dzong was founded by Ven. Peling Tulku, Rinpoche in 1984 and blessed by His Holiness Penor Rinpoche during the transmission of the Long Chen Nying Thig in 1988. The centre is renowned for its natural beauty and an energy which is extremely conducive to Dharma practice.
As we are located in the midst of a vast forest, we would like to request that people respect the abundant native flora and fauna. The 5 mile gravel road to the monastery from Cooper is single lane with many blind corners and steep hills. For your own safety, as well as that of the many frogs, snakes (all harmless) and mammals that also use the road, we ask that you go not faster than 30km/20mph.
The name of the centre, Orgyan Osal Cho Dzong, can be translated as The Citadel of Padmasambhava’s Clear Light Dharma. The Tibetan word Orgyan is the name of Padmasambhava’s homeland (Sanskrit: Oddiyana), which was north west of India, in present day Pakistan/Afghanistan, and signifies Padmasambhava and the Nyingma (ancient) Lineage. Osal (Sanskrit: Prabhasvara) is translated as Clear Light, the primordial enlightened nature of all beings. Cho (Sanskrit: Dharma) are the teachings of the Buddha, and Dzong is a fortress or citadel. This name is commonly abbreviated to Orgyan Dzong for convenience.
An interesting coincidence occurred when Ven. Peling Tulku Rinpoche named the centre. In Tibetan, the signifier for the “O” vowel, called ‘naro’, looks like a soaring bird, and is placed above its related consonant, thus the name of the centre, Orgyan Osal Cho Dzong, has four naro marks above it:
After deciding upon and announcing its name, Rinpoche went outside for a walk with some of his students, and circling in the sky above the centre were four turkey vultures, mirroring the naro marks in the centre’s name. The vulture is a powerful Vajrayana symbol of the path of tantra, as it transforms the flesh of corpses (symbolizing the minds of samsaric sentient beings, ‘dead’ with selfishness and rotten with defilements and negative karma) into the vitality and energy that allows it to soar effortlessly and unhindered in the sky (the vast, open purity of enlightened mind). Additionally, as a symbol of his attainment, Padmasambhava wears three vulture feathers on the tip of his Lotus Crown.