Once when they were travelling the in the Eay district they met a nobleman called Lord Lhagyari, whose family descended from the kings of Tibet. Impressed with the community, he promised that his family would provide for its basic needs from then on for it is the tradition in Buddhist societies for laypeople to support monastics who in exchange provide spiritual services for laypeople. In turn the Dagpo Dratsang monks promised by their prayers to ensure that the Lhagyari family line would never be broken for lack of a male heir. For that purpose they recited The Praise to Tara several times daily.
Indeed, the family continued to assist the monastery until 1959 and in every generation a male heir was born. (When the new Dagpo Shedrub Ling was inaugurated in 2005 in India the heir of the Lhagyari family, aged 15 at the time, was present in traditional royal dress. However the family’s present financial situation makes it impossible for them to continue supporting the monastery.)
Some years later Je Lodrö Tenpa was called to Lhasa to become the sixth Ganden Tripa, Je Tsongkhapa’s successor at the head of the Gelugpa School. On that occasion, he appointed the chanting master, Gomchen Ngawang Drakpa, abbot of Dagpo Dratsang. Over the years many masters of the monastery were to become Ganden Tripas.
Under Gomchen Ngawang Drakpa’s abbotship the community settled in an old Kagyu monastery at Gyatsa in Dagpo. Thus, under the name of Thösamling, the first monastic university for advanced studies in Buddhist philosophy was created in Dagpo.
By the time Shenyen Chöpelwa, who had been the community’s first master of discipline, became the third abbot, the monastery had grown to include 300 members. When the abbot heard that the Second Dalai Lama, Gendün Gyatso, (1476-1542) was in southern Tibet, he invited him to teach at Thösamling and eventually offered him the monastery. In this way Gendün Gyatso became the fourth abbot and the close connection which still exists today was established between the Dalai Lamas and Dagpo Dratsang.
Sometime in the seventeenth century, the communities of Trakteng and Thösamling were consolidated and settled in another abandoned Kagyu monastery on the right bank of the Brahmaputra River in Tibet opposite Trakteng. Dagpo Shedrub Ling, as the community was renamed then by adding part of the Kagyu monastery’s name, has been located there ever since. Some new buildings were constructed on the remains of the old, taking the original architectural features into account. For example on the roof of the temple the monks placed a dharma wheel flanked by two standing deer, as opposed to the sitting deer usually found, as the founder of the Kagya monastery, a former Karmapa Rinpoche, had done. (A similar dharma wheel with standing deer can be found on the temple roof of the new monastery in India.)
Over time Dagpo Shedrub Ling grew further to over 600 members. It became one of three most important monasteries of south-eastern Tibet. It produced many important scholars of Buddhist philosophy and great meditators who through their efforts achieved the highest spiritual realizations. The community continued to respect its founder’s original commitment by transmitting the Lamrim teachings in an unbroken line until 1959. However with the Chinese occupation of Tibet in that year the situation changed radically.