As a refugee in India in the early 1960's, Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche, an eminent lama from the Nyingma school, perceived the urgent need for preserving the sacred texts of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Trained by outstanding teachers who were close descendants of the most renowned masters of the nineteenth century, he was uniquely prepared to appreciate the full richness of the Tibetan Buddhist traditions. In 1963, while teaching at Sanskrit University in Varanasi, he founded Dharma Mudranalaya. The name Dharma Mudranalaya, Sanskrit for Dharma Press, commemorated the printing house in Derge in east Tibet, famous for its production of the Kanjur and Tanjur.
Arriving in Berkeley, California in 1969, Tarthang Tulku established the Tibetan Nyingma Meditation Center as a foundation for Dharma study and practice in America. Dharma Publishing and Dharma Press began operations in 1970 and in 1975 they were formally incorporated as a non-profit organization under the name Dharma Mudranalaya (DBA Dharma Publishing and Dharma Press).