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

9. Annual rituals performed in former times, based on the Tibetan calendar

  • First month: on the 4th and 5th days, commemoration of the anniversary of the birth of mNyam med Shes rab rgyal mtshan; from the 6th to the 15th, the examination of the candidates for the dge bshes degree; on the 8th, the bya mjal ceremony; on the 10th, a performance of the ritual cycle of Tshe dbang rig ’dzin; on the 14th and 15th, the memorial service of the birth of sTon pa gShen rab.
  • Second month: from the 19th day of the second month to the 9th day of the fourth month, twenty-one monk students went into retreat at dByar skya hermitage to devote themselves exclusively to debate.
  • Fourth month: from the 10th day, all the hostels held assemblies of their own for prayers.
  • Fifth month: a performance of the dgu gtor rite, which ended with the gtor rgyag ceremony and the ’cham dance.
  • Sixth month: on the 10th day, performance of the ritual cycle of Tshe dbang rig ’dzin at ’Khrungs gzhis, the house of the Bru family situated below the monastery.
  • Seventh month: from the 25th to the 29th, a performance of the ritual known as sPyi rim chen mo, based on the ritual cycles of Khro bo and Phur pa; the ceremony ended with the following ’cham dances: gShen rab dgu ’cham, gYung drung dgu ’cham, rNam brgyad, sTag ’cham and Seng ’cham, and the gtor rgyag ceremony called Me ri rtse.
  • Eighth month: the celebration of the New Year, for thirteen days, during which all the monks were customarily served tea and barley flour.
  • Ninth month: a performance of the ritual devoted to sMra ba’i seng ge, deity of wisdom, for a week, ending with the empowerment ceremony.
  • Tenth month: offerings of the sacrificial cake a thousand times to sTag la me ’bar.

About the twelfth month some monks from the monastery were sent to perform various rituals at the palace of the sacred Bonpo family known as Bru, situated below the monastery. From the 17th century the palace was called ’Khrungs gzhis, the ‘Birth place’, since the Second Panchen Lama, Blo bzang ye shes (1663-1737), and the Fifth Panchen Lama, bsTan pa’i dbang phyug (1854-1882), were both born to the Bru family.

The monastery provides tea and gruel at noon for monk students. As for the regular monks in the monastery, their families are responsible for their living expenses or in some cases the monks make a living reciting prayers and conducting religious ceremonies outside the monastery. In summer and autumn almost all the monks return to their homes.

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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.