The glorious Segyu Gaden Phodrang Monastery is not only the fountainhead of the Gaden Lineage’s Great Secret Tantric Monasteries, which were founded prior to the Upper and Lower Tantric Colleges of Central Tibet, but as stated in the religious history texts, its practiced tradition has been spread throughout Tibet for a long time.
It is evident that in the middle of the 15th century (1430-32 AD) this Tantric monastery of the Segyupas was founded by Jetsun Sherab Sengge and Dulnagpa Palden Zangpo. Jestsun Sherab Sengee was a direct and principle disciple of the incomparable Je Tsongkhapa the Great (the pioneer of the Riwo Gaden tradition), who had also empowered him to be the holder of the Great Secret Tantric teachings. Dulnagpa Palden Zangpo, was a direct disciple of Jetsun Sherab Sengge.
Historically speaking, when Je Tsongkhapa was turning the Wheel of Dharma at Sera Tse in the Earth-Boar Year 1419 AD, Jamchen Choje offered him a seed contribution for establishing a Tantric monastery, Je Rinpoche asked the gathering of his spiritual sons who among them would be able to preserve and promote his Tantric teachings, such as Guhyasamaja.
When asked twice and no other master was confident to respond, Jetsun Sherab Sengge stood up from the gathering, and after prostrating to Je Tsongkhapa, roared like a lion that he would do it in accordance with Je Rinpoche’s wishes. Although others were perplexed, Je Rinpoche was very happy. He then blessed and empowered him to be the holder of the unsurpassed Secret Tantra with the gifts of a skullcup filled with inner offerings, a holy golden statue of Guhyasamaja, the Four-in-One Commentary of Guhyasamaja, two Tantric commentaries, texts of the Generation and the Completion Stages, a treasure-discovered mask of Dharmaraja, ritual dance costumes, and a club. Je Tsongkhapa advised him to go to the Tsang province and institute the study and teaching of Tantra there. He also predicted that a Yaksha would become his main patron and that he would have many fortunate disciples, including a yogi who had been taken care of by Yamantaka in many lifetimes. In keeping with this prediction, Jetsun Sherab Sengge and his spiritual son visited Tsang and extensively taught Tantra at Lhunpo Tse at the invitation and under the patronage of Situ Sonam Pel and Dagmo Shakya Pel.
Many scholars attended the teachings, including Phag Od Yunten Gyatso, the master of Lhunpo Tse monastery. Jetsun Sherab Sengge instituted the ritual accomplishment schedule according to Je Tsongkhapa’s practice-tradition, and also the study and teaching of Tantra. He gave the mask of Dharmaraja to the monastery as its object of worship. Subsequently, at Sengge Tse, he gave Tantric commentaries and also a bare perceptual commentary of the five stages to Je Gendun Drup (the first Dalai Lama) and others. Later, under the patronage of Se Rinchen Tse, he gave commentaries and pith instructions to many great scholars at Se Gaden Phodrang and thereby founded the magnificent Tantric monastery called Upper Tantric College, or Segyu. Gradually, the fame of Segyu Monastery spread in all directions. He handed over the monastery to his spiritual son Dulnagpa Palden Zangpo and gave the Four-in-One Commentary of Guhyasamaja that Je Rinpoche has personally given him to the monastery as a study guide. After Dulnagpa, a line of Gyu-Chen or Great Vajra Masters appeared- from Jamyang Gedun Phel until the present.
In light of this, Segyu Gaden Phodrang Monastery has been the lifeblood of the Riwo Gaden (Gelug) tradition, where the study and teaching of Tantra with its pith commentaries have been preserved without degeneration.