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.

The bo County

History

The bo was occupied by A zha in the sixth century, and descendents of A zha’s people may still be found in the following thirteen villages in A zha valley (A zha khog), one of the side-gorges in A zha district (xiang): Nags sked, A rta srib, Khe lam, Phyug bcu, Pe gseb, Nags gong, Nyin pa, bTsun mo, sMad lung, rGyab klu gong ma, rGyab klu ’og ma, lTag srib, Sa dkar sgang. Shortly after A zha’s invasion, the Tibetan army defeated A zha’s forces and annexed the whole The bo area to Tibet. Ancient Chinese Sources refer to The bo as Di Zhou (Di is the Chinese pronunciation of The, Zhou the Chinese word for prefecture), and state that it was established as a prefecture in 577 A.D. It is also mentioned that at the time, in addition to the present The bo county area, the prefecture included mDzo dge and Nan ping located in present day southern Gansu. In recent history The bo was conquered from the North by the King of Cone and remained under the control of Cone until the nineteen-forties. The bo was intergrated into Cone Autonomous Region in 1950 and established as a separate county in 1962.

It is not certain when Bon first reached the area; according to oral history, it was during the Imperial period when the Yarlung kings unified Tibet and the ’Phags pa rnams gsum spread Bon in Amdo. Later, with the development of Buddhism in the area, many Bonpo monasteries were converted to Buddhism, especially to the dGe lugs pa tradition.

There are more than twenty Buddhist monasteries in The bo, all of which are dGe lugs pa with the exception of sPe gu Monastery which is Sa skya pa. The first Buddhist monastery in The bo appears to be sTeng ka Monastery, which was founded by dPal Shes rab ’bar, a famous disciple of ’Phags pa Blo gros rgyal mtshan (1235-1281), and which was later converted to the dGe lugs pa tradition. The dGe lugs pa began to establish monasteries in the area from the late sixteenth century onwards --three monasteries at the end of the sixteenth century, six in the seventeenth century, six in the eighteenth century, three in the nineteenth century, whose foundation date remains unknown.

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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.