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.

(2) gYung drung gling

3. History

The monastery was founded by sNang ston Zla ba rgyal mtshan (b.1796) in 1834 on the bank of the Yarlung Tsangpo river, at the foot of Mount ’O lha rGyal bzang. Later, the second abbot, sKal bzang nyi ma (b.1841), extended it. Nyi ma bstan ’dzin (b.1813), the 23rd abbot of sMan ri Monastery, came to help set up philosophical studies and became the chief teacher there. Later, the 5th abbot of the monastery, mKhan chen Shes rab blo ldan, further extended the monastery by building the temple mThong grol lha khang, and Shes rab grags pa, who was a chief teacher, had the large assembly hall (’du khang) built. There was a residence for the abbot (bla brang) and seven hostels (khang tshan) for the monk students, as well as individual houses for the chief teacher and the monks who completed their studies.

Formerly, the monastery possessed a great number of gilt-bronze and copper statues, including those of rNam par rgyal ba. In the temples there were reliquary gilt-copper stupas containing the remains of abbots. The monastery was an important seat of learning for Bonpo monks coming from Amdo, rGyal rong, Khyung po, Hor, Khams and nomad regions in Byang thang. It was particularly renowned for its extensive library and had its own woodblocks for printing religious texts. There were normally about two hundred monks resident in the monastery.

The 9th abbot, Shes rab bstan pa’i rgyal mtshan (1911-1979), had a large gilded rooftop erected on the main hall; he also had a gilt-copper statue of rNam par rgyal ba made, two storeys high. In 1959 he fled to India, and the monastery itself was razed to the ground in 1965 during the Cultural Revolution. In 1982 Shes rab bstan ’dzin and Kun gsal blo gros, who were monks in the monastery before its destruction, were put in charge of its reconstruction. They managed to have the assembly hall and two temples rebuilt.

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

  1. sNang ston Zla ba rgyal mtshan
  2. sKal bzang nyi ma
  3. Phun tshogs dbang rgyal
  4. Tshul khrims dbang rgyal
  5. Shes rab blo ldan
  6. Shes rab bstan pa’i nyi ma
  7. Blo gros rgyal mtshan
  8. Blo gros nyi ma
  9. Shes rab bstan pa’i rgyal mtshan
/bonpo-monasteries/b4-2-3/

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.