Situated on the southwest shore of Yamdrok Yumtso , the Samding Monastery is under the charge of the first female living Buddha in Tibet. Samding Dorje Phagmo, name of the living Buddha and her reincarnations, is known in Tibetan Buddhism as the avatar of Vajravarahi the Adamantine Sow, a female deity identified by a small sow's head emanating from the right side of her human head. To date there have been twelve Samding Dorje Phagmo reincarnations living in the monastery. The bodies of the former eleven reincarnations can be found at the monastery where they are still well preserved.
Some records show that the monastery was built by a student of Khyungpo Nyalior (978-1127), founder of the Shangpa Kagyu Sect, a branch of the Kagyupa School. Other records show that the monastery was built in 1441 by the first Samding Dorje Phagmo, student of Bodong Chokle Namgyel (1375-1451, founder of the Bodong Sect). Therefore, the Samding Monastery is considered to belong to the Bodong Sect. The monastery has been expanded from a small temple to an imposing building during the time of the second and fifth reincarnations of Samding Dorje Phagmo. The completed monastery consists of the Red Palace and the White Palace, which resemble the Potala Palace in Lhasa. For those who pay visits to Yamdrok Yumtso, a side trip to the monastery is very rewarding.