Dema Tsemo Monastery is known as the University of the Five Shastras (Five Doctrines) and renowned for the unification of all Buddhist lineages - Kagyu, Sakya, Nyingmapa , Gelupgpa. It is located at the sacred caves of Padmasambhava, Yeshe Tsogyal and Mandarava in Kham, Tibet. The head of the Monastery is Dema Choktul Jiangyang Sengie Rinpoche - 'Dema Tulku', one of the 25 disciples of Padmasambhava and the 8th incarnation of Namkha lekhpa Rinpoche. The Monastery, originally built by Padmasambhava, is 1200 years old and historically many holy masters and scholars have lived and taught there. It is renowned for the unification of the Buddhist lineages.
In May 2000, Dema Tulku recognized His Holiness Buddha Maitreya to be the reincarnation of his teacher, Guru Rinpoche - Padmasambhava in Kathmandu, Nepal. Padmasambhava is considered the Second Buddha and the founder of Tibetan Buddhism. He invited Buddha Maitreya to a formal enthronement and recognition ceremony at Dema Monastery in Kham, Eastern Tibet which took place in the middle of winter in November 2000. During that ceremony Dema Tulku passed back responsibility for the monastery to Buddha Maitreya as its Senior Rinpoche.
Between then and 2004, Buddha Maitreya and MandaravaTara through the Church of Shambhala Vajradhara Maitreya Sangha raised over $450,000 to sponsor the reconstruction and expansion of the Monastery to house 3 great halls for puja and dharma teachings and three floors, as well as ensuring regular food supplies for all of the monks and surrounding villagers. The centerpieces is a Maitreya Buddha statue that reaches up from the main puja hall to the third floor. November 2001 saw the completion of the first floor of the Dema Monastery construction project exactly one year after the enthronement of Buddha Maitreya. By the end of 2002, the second floor had been completed. All of the construction work at the monastery was done manually by the monks and villagers. Since the region is so remote, construction materials had to be trucked in from distant cities some 3-4 days drive away.
Dema Monastery is well known in Tibetan Buddhism as one of the 16 most holy pilgrimage sites in Buddhism. Historically it is where another of Buddha's incarnations Boddhi-Zen sent his students to meditate, in the caves above the Monastery. This special place, high up in the hills and overlooking the valley and its mountain ranges, is where Guru Rinpoche, Yeshe Tsogyal and Mandarava's meditation caves are found, and they are the same today as they were over a thousand years ago. Many holy masters and scholars have lived and taught out of this monastery including all incarnations of the Karmapa up to the last incarnation, His Holiness the 9th Dalai Lama, Ley Rinpoche (the first incarnation of Lay Ganden dembe Jantse and a very high Gelugpa scholar, brother and teacher to the Dalai Lama), the last incarnation of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Mopa Rinpoche and many other high lamas of the Nyingma and other lineages.
By September 2003, the new Monastery had been finished and Dema Tulku invited his teacher, Buddha Maitreya, back to Tibet to see the new monastery and for an auspicious enthronement and inauguration ceremony, which several western dharshan students of His Holiness were able to be present for. During this visit, Buddha Maitreya was welcomed an enthroned at several other monasteries in Dema Valley, including being enthroned by Dema Tulku's brother - Sakyayate Tulku, High Lama of 30 Sakya Monasteries.