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

(96) bSam ’grub Monastery

1. Name

gYung drung bsam ’grub dgon

2. Location

The monastery is situated about 55 km from the county town of The bo, in the center of Kha ba Township, at the confluence of Nya len black river and Myi chen river which flows southwards to The bo valley.

3. History

Three lamas, Shes rab dbang phyug, rGyal mtshan and Nya le bla ma, from three different hermitages, came together and founded bSam ’grub Monastery in ca. 1395. It is not clear how and when this occurred but the monastery is affiliated to A skyid sKyang tshang Monastery (No.194) in mDzod dge. Until the nineteen-fifties the monastery comprised an assembly hall, thirty-three cells, and housed seventy-seven monks. The monastery had a series of masters as follows:

  1. rGyal ba, from Myi che ba village, he was also the lama of another Bonpo monastery called Shes rab Monastery.
  2. Chos ’byor rgyal ba
  3. bSam gtan rgyal ba
  4. Shes rab dngos grub
  5. Nya len Bla ma
  6. rGyal mtshan of Myi che ba village
  7. Nam mkha’ rgyal mtshan
  8. Tshul khrims rgyal mtshan from Nyin srib village at sTeng ka in The bo, travelled to Central Tibet to receive teachings and then returned to secular life in Kong po
  9. A monk of the Myi che ba village, name is unknown.
  10. Rin chen nor bu of Myi che ba village
  11. Ye shes tshul khrims of Mi rgod kha village
  12. bsTan ’dzin dbang rgyal of Myi che ba village; he travelled twice to Central Tibet to study and receive teachings, and became a renowned teacher when he returned to the monastery.
  13. sKal bzang ’jam dpal of Myi che ba village; according to legend, he went to Lhasa, India and Hongkong to study, and was renowned as a sculptor.
  14. dNgos grub tshogs pa of Nya len pa village, was a renowned teacher and artist (he executed the murals in the previous assemly hall). He died in 1958.
  15. bsTan ’dzin rgyal mtshan, the present master of the monastery. He is currently rebuilding the monastery. Permission to rebuild the monastery was obtained in 1981 and work began in 1982. An assembly hall and forty-one cells have been rebuilt.

7. Educational exchange

Since the monastery is a branch monastery of A skyid sKyang tshang Monastery, Dri med ’od zer, a reincarnation from A skyid sKyang tshang, regularly visits the monastery to inspect the work and to give teachings. However, the monks are currently busy with the reconstruction rather than studying.

8 / 9. Rituals

- The smon lam festival from the 6th to the 16th day of the 1st month, and the dbyar gnas retreat from 15th to 21st of the 6th month. An annual ’cham dance is performed on the 8th and 9th days of the 1st month during the smon lam festival.

10. Books held in the monastery

The monastery possesses complete copies of the Bonpo bKa’ ’gyur and bKa’ rten.

11. Income and expenses

Economic circumstances of the monastery depends on offerings made by disciples. The government has given ten thousand Chinese Yuan for the reconstruction of the monastery. Account for offerings has never been done.

12. Local community

The local community of the monastery consists of three large villages, Nya len, Nyin ga’i kha and Myi che pa, altogether seventy-three families.

13. Local festivals

On the summit of the mountain behind the monastery are three la btsas, all three named after gSas mkhar lha ri snying po and propitiated twice a year, on the 11th day of the 4th month and the 11th day of the 11th month.

14. Occupation of the local people



(1) Interviews

Interviews in autumn of 1996 with: Pad kho (b.1926), who spent several years as a monk in the monastery, was born in Nya-len village; bSod nams (b.1937) was born in Myi che ba village.

(2) Texts
  1. BHMT
  2. DBSJ
  3. KBTL
  4. KNGL
  5. KTSD
  6. TLPY

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.