Tibetan and Himalayan Library - THL

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

II.1. Stelae and accompanying structures: Funerary and non-funerary structures

DomilangRdo mi lang

Basic site data

  • Site name: DomilangRdo mi lang
  • English equivalent: Standing Man Stone
  • Site number: C-36
  • Site typology: II.1a
  • Elevation: 4630 m
  • Administrative location (township): PuwaPhu ba
  • Administrative location (county): PelgönDpal mgon
  • Survey expedition: HTCE
  • Survey date: September 20, 2002
  • Contemporary usage: Light grazing. A cultic site.
  • Identifiable Buddhist constructions: A couple manima ṇi plaques.
  • Maps: UTRS IX
  • View Place Dictionary Entry
  • View Sites Images

General site characteristics

The lone pillar of DomilangRdo mi lang is located in the middle of an eponymous valley. It is situated in a region of NamruGnam ru traditionally known as RingpaRing pa. The watercourse of the DomilangRdo mi lang valley drains into the Jakar TsangpoJa dkar gtsang po. The terrain is level, sandy and turf-covered.

Oral tradition

One common oral tradition of NamruGnam ru holds that DomilangRdo mi lang emerged with existence in the primal epoch. Another oral tradition of the region claims that this pillar is related to the katsik doringbka’ gtsigs rdo ring (pillar edict) of ZhölZhol in LhasaLha sa. A more elaborate oral tradition relates that the magical she goat, Ramo GyamoRa mo rgya mo (Black She Goat with Brownish Facial Markings), was appointed to carry sand to fill in Oma Tso’O ma mtsho (Milk Lake), in order to prepare for the construction of the JokhangJo khang temple in the center of LhasaLha sa.180 While on her mission, Ramo GyamoRa mo rgya mo was on the lookout for a place suitable for the founding of the RamochéRa mo che temple. This she goat passed by the DomilangRdo mi lang valley and pillar, an important location, but it was determined not to have the qualities needed for the founding of a great Buddhist temple. This location was incomplete, like a monk without his robes (chögöchos gos). The location also fell under the influence of the inauspicious mountain, NakguNag gu (Blackness), the residence of an evil spirit (dré’Dre), rather than the auspicious Karru LhatsoDkar ru lha mtsho (White Divine Lake) locale. Furthermore, the mountain, LangchéGlang che (Great Elephant), to the north lacked a trunk and a saddle, and its spring was like a vase (bumpabum pa) without a cloth lid. Finally, the nearby mountain, LangchungGlang chung (Lesser Elephant), lacked kidney fat. The she goat left her droppings at Karru LhatsoDkar ru lha mtsho, causing a scrub willow forest to appear there. According to this well-developed legend, the DomilangRdo mi lang pillar was already erected by the early seventh century CE.

Site elements

The four-sided blue-gray igneous pillar is slightly inclined to the northwest (1.85 m [height] by 1 m [basal girth]). The top of the pillar narrows until it has a girth of only 50 cm. The southeast and northwest faces of DomilangRdo mi lang are somewhat broader than its other two sides. The pillar is surrounded by five cairns topped with pieces of milky quartz and a couple of plaques inscribed with the manima ṇi mantra, a shrine that is no longer maintained. The heads of goats and sheep are tied to the top one-third of the pillar. This is an apotropaic cult practice to protect the remaining animals of the herd from sickness. Butter and red ochre have also been applied to the pillar, a sign of its sacred status and the healing power it is supposed to possess. There are three faint markings on the southeast face of the pillar, which look a little like Tibetan letters. The faint vestiges of a wall running east-west (15 m long) begins 14 m south of the pillar. On both ends it connects with even more obscure walls running north-south. Although no coherent fragments have survived, it could be determined that these walls are generally aligned in the cardinal directions. A dark-colored metamorphic rock (10 cm to 35 cm long) was used in the construction of these walls. They may possibly represent the remains of a separate funerary enclosure.


[180] This tale about the magical she goat was collected from Lozang TenpaBlo bzang bstan pa (born in Fire Tiger Year, circa 1926), a former chief representative of the NamruGnam rudzongpönrdzong dpon (district head) under the old LhasaLha sa government and a member of the NakchuNag chu Political Consultative Committee under the Chinese Communists. The same story (with minor differences) was also related by the late Pönkya Powo LhawangDpon skya pho bo lha dbang (1935–2005) the great spirit-medium (lhapalha pa) of RingpaRing pa.

Note Citation for Page

John Vincent Bellezza, (Charlottesville, VA: Tibetan & Himalayan Library, 2010), .

Bibliographic Citation

John Vincent Bellezza. . Charlottesville, VA: Tibetan & Himalayan Library, 2010.