Tibetan and Himalayan Library - THL

THL Title Text
Antiquities of Zhang Zhung
by John Vincent Bellezza
Edited by Geoffrey Barstow, Mickey Stockwell and Michael White
Tibetan & Himalayan Library
Published under the THL Digital Text License.

I.2. Residential Structures in Other Locations: Religious and Elite Residences

Bönpo PukBon po phug

Basic site data

  • Site name: Bönpo PukBon po phug
  • English equivalent: Cave of the BönpoBon po
  • Site number: B-114
  • Site typology: I.2c
  • Elevation: 4670 m
  • Administrative location (township): HorHor
  • Administrative location (county): PurangSpu rang
  • Survey expedition: UTAE
  • Survey date: April 24, 2001
  • Contemporary usage: None.
  • Identifiable Buddhist constructions: Old manima ṇi plaques and manima ṇi mantras carved into the formation at the site.
  • Maps: UTRS X, HAS C4
  • View Place Dictionary Entry
  • View Site Images

General site characteristics

Bönpo PukBon po phug, the site of a 7 m-deep cave and minor ruins, is located in a side valley that empties into the Drak TsangpoBrag gtsang po. Bönpo PukBon po phug is situated just east of the sacred BönBon mountain Pori NgedenSpos ri ngad ldan. Only faint structural remains exist of what is locally believed to have been a Buddhist monastery (it may have been inherited from the BönpoBon po). Even most of the foundation walls have been eradicated. The structural vestiges are spread over an area of approximately 24 m by 11 m around the mouth of the cave. It appears that this cave was completely enclosed by walls. Only a small segment of the south wall has survived. This random-rubble structure is about 2 m tall and 70 cm in thickness. There are possibly structural extensions to the west, the direction of a now disused corral. Against a smaller outcrop, 72 m north of Bönpo PukBon po phug, there are the obscured remains of foundations measuring 18 m by 5.5 m. There are old manima ṇi plaques at Bönpo PukBon po phug, confirming that it was at least symbolically occupied by the Buddhists. In the mouth of the valley in which the site is located, there is a wall with centuries-old inscribed plaques.

Oral tradition

According to local elders, Bönpo PukBon po phug is a BönpoBon po cave that came to be occupied by the sakyapasa skya pa, who built a small monastery here.

Textual tradition

The area around Pori NgedenSpos ri ngad ldan is supposed to be particularly rich in archaic ruins. In a recently authored supplement to the famous BönBon pilgrimage guide, Tisé KarchakTi se’i dkar chag, entitled Gangtsö Nyenkhor Yi Gön KhakGangs mtsho’i nye ’khor g.yi dgon khag, we read about a prehistoric BönBon cave around Tso MapangMtsho ma pang, which may well refer to Bönpo PukBon po phug:

…During the beginning of the doctrine of speech of Gyelwa ShenRgyal ba gshen[RapRab], along the east of Pori NgedenSpos ri ngad ldan, on the east side of the lake [MapangMa pang], at the BönBon cave in Draklung Nawa MardengBrag lung na ba dmar ldeng (Drak TsangpoBrag gtsang po valley), there was the great [religious] community known as Drungmu TritséDrung mu khri rtse, the seat of the lama abbot Dzuntrül YeshéRdzu ’phrul ye shes and his student Yeshé TsültrimYe shes tshul khrims.100 Presently, a footprint of the abbot on a rock near the monastery ruins is visible.101


[100] The founding of other temples in the vicinity of Pori NgedenSpos ri ngad ldan by these two Zhang ZhungZhang zhung personalities is recorded in the Tisé KarchakTi se dkar chag. See Bellezza, Antiquities of Upper Tibet, 59.
[101] See “Gangtsö Nyenkhor Gi Gönpa KhakGangs mtsho’i nye ’khor g.yi dgon khag,” Zhang Zhung RiknéZhang zhung rig gnas, 53: rgyal ba gshen (rab) gyi gsung gi bstan pa thog ma’i skabs mtsho yi shar phyogs spos ri ngad ldan gyi shar brgyud trag (= brag) lung na ba dmar ldeng bon phug tu drung mu khri rtse’i lha sde chen po zhes bya ba mkhan chen rdzu ’phrul ye shes dang ye shes tshul khrims bla slob kyi gdan sa yin cing mkhan po’i zhabs rjes kyang deng sang dgon shul gyi nye ri’i brag steng du mjal rgyu yod/.

Note Citation for Page

John Vincent Bellezza, Antiquities of Zhang Zhung: A Comprehensive Inventory of Pre-Buddhist Archaeological Monuments on the Tibetan Upland (Charlottesville, VA: Tibetan & Himalayan Library, 2010), .

Bibliographic Citation

John Vincent Bellezza. Antiquities of Zhang Zhung: A Comprehensive Inventory of Pre-Buddhist Archaeological Monuments on the Tibetan Upland. Charlottesville, VA: Tibetan & Himalayan Library, 2010.