In 1431 Sherab Gyaltsan, the first Chagdud incarnation, built a monastery on the ruins of an earlier gonpa, in Nyagrong, Eastern Tibet. Gonpa means “quiet place” and therefore is the general term for monastery. Chag dud means “iron knot,” has its name-source in the fact that Sherab Gyaltsan folded an iron sword into a knot with bare hands, which deeply impressed the emperor of Mongolia and inspired him to shower honors on him. H.E. Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche (1930-2002), the sixteenth recognized Chagdud incarnation, demonstrated the same extraordinary power several times in his youth when he compressed stout swords into folds.
Chagdud Gonpa in Tibet was one of the few monasteries not completely destroyed by the Chinese communists. It was saved by a combination of the loyalty of the surrounding villages and a series of miraculous occurrences. In 1983, H.E. Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche established Chagdud Gonpa in the United States through the Chagdud Gonpa Foundation, and in 1995, in South America through Chagdud Gonpa Brasil. Most recently Chagdud Gonpa Hispanoamerica has been formed as the umbrella organization for Spanish-speaking Latin America. Affiliate meditation groups have groups practice in Australia and Switzerland.
Chagdud Gonpa centers practice Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism, primarily in the Nyingmapa tradition of Guru Padmasambhava.