Tibetan and Himalayan Library - THL

THL Title Text
A Survey of Bonpo Monasteries
by Dondrup Lhagyal, Phuntso Tsering Sharyul, Tsering Thar, Charles Ramble and Marietta Kind
Edited by Samten G. Karmay and Yasuhiko Nagano
National Museum of Ethnology and THL
Reproduced with permission from the authors
under the THL Digital Text License.

(1) sMan ri Monastery

3. History

The monastery was founded in 1405 by mNyam med Shes rab rgyal mtshan (1356-1415), formerly a monk in gYas ru dBen sa kha. His successor, rGyal tshab Rin chen rgyal mtshan, enlarged it with several monks’ living quarters. After having been gradually expanded over four centuries, the monastery became an important centre for the propagation of Bonpo doctrines. Apart from having two assembly halls, it had many buildings and there were about three hundred monks divided among four monastic colleges: Gling stod, Gling smad, Gling skad and Gling zur and six hostels (khang tshan): A sta, Rong mi, La dbyil, rGyal rong, Grub thob and Drel pa. The monk students came from various regions of Tibet. Among the Bonpo, the monastery was considered the source of all their monastic and liturgical traditions.

From the founder of the monastery, mNyam med Shes rab rgyal mtshan, to the abbot Shes rab blo gros, there were thirty-two abbots. The last abbot, Shes rab blo gros, fled to India in 1959 and later died there. The monastery itself was completely destroyed during the Cultural Revolution and remained unrestored for about twenty years. Rebuilding of the monastery did not begin until 1984, and it is still under reconstruction.

In 1970, the new sMan ri Monastery was founded at Dolanji, Himachal Pradesh, India. With this establishment, the monastic tradition of sMan ri has been revived through the efforts of its abbot, Lung rtogs bstan pa’i nyi ma (b.1929), who is now counted as the thirty-third abbot of sMan ri.

The monastery had a system of abbotship. Abbots were appointed by a lottery from among those well versed in religious philosophy and holding the dge bshes degree. The line of abbots is as follows:

  1. Shes rab rgyal mtshan (1356-1415)
  2. Rin chen rgyal mtshan
  3. Nam mkha’ ye shes
  4. Kun bzang rgyal mtshan
  5. bsTan ’dzin rin chen rgyal mtshan
  6. Tshul khrims rgyal mtshan
  7. bSod nams ye shes
  8. bSod nams g-yung druung
  9. She tsu drung mu
  10. Shes rab ’od zer
  11. gYung drung rgyal mtshan
  12. Shes rab blo gros
  13. Shes rab ’od zer (2nd)
  14. gTsug phud ’od zer
  15. gYung drung tshul khrims
  16. Rin chen ’od zer
  17. Rin chen lhun grub
  18. Shes rab bstan ’dzin
  19. Shes rab dbang rgyal
  20. gYung drung dbang rgyal
  21. Phun tshogs rnam rgyal
  22. bSod nams blo gros
  23. Nyi ma bstan ’dzin
  24. bSod nams phun tshogs
  25. Shes rab g-yung drung
  26. Sangs rgyas bstan ’dzin
  27. bsTan ’dzin Tshul khrims
  28. Phun tshogs blo gros
  29. rGyal ba blo gros
  30. bsTan pa blo gros
  31. Nyi ma dbang rgyal
  32. Shes rab blo gros
  33. Lung rtogs bstan pa’i nyi ma
/bonpo-monasteries/b4-1-3/

Note Citation for Page

Dondrup Lhagyal, Phuntso Tsering Sharyul, Tsering Thar, Charles Ramble, and Marietta Kind, A Survey of Bonpo Monasteries and Temples in Tibet and the Himalaya (Osaka: National Museum of Ethnology, 2003), .

Bibliographic Citation

Dondrup Lhagyal, Phuntso Tsering Sharyul, Tsering Thar, Charles Ramble, and Marietta Kind. A Survey of Bonpo Monasteries and Temples in Tibet and the Himalaya. Osaka: National Museum of Ethnology, 2003.