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.

Li thang County

(169) sPang gi lung Monastery

1. Name

The monastery’s full is sPang gi lung bDe ldan nor bu gling. The name is also written as Phu gu lung (gNyags Chos nyid rdo rje, Nor bu bde ldan gling) and ’Bur gu rlung.

2. Location

The monastery is located on the ridge of a small mountain range, 2 km east of Rong brag, the county seat.

3. History

According to a legend recorded by gNyag Chos nyid rdo rje, there existed a monastery with about seventy monks at sPang nang in Sog po stag btsan in which both Bonpo and Buddhists practised together for decades, but owing to its remote location, the monastery was moved in the 15th Rab byung (1867-1926) to a site called ’Gu ya and its master was a Nyi ma rgyal mtshan. Grub thob gYung drung nyi ma, one of its masters, again moved the monastery to Bur gu rlung in the Wood-Bird year of the 16th Rab byung (1945) and renamed it sPro snang Grub thob Bla brang. From then onwards the monastery became known as bDe ldan nor bu gling. The monastery was knocked down during the Cultural Revolution and rebuilt in 1983 at the same site.

4. Hierarchical system

  • one khri pa
  • one dbu mdzad
  • one dge skos
  • one dkor gnyer

The terms of office are not fixed.

5. Current number of monks

There are seventeen novices and monks in the monastery.

6. Current education

There are no organized classes. The young novices are trained by the elder monks.

7. Educational exchange

The monastery has no special ties with any other establishment, and the monks are free to go to the monastery of their choice (generally Shar rdza Hermitage, No.138) for ordination and further teachings.

8 / 9. Rituals

Commemoration of mNyam med Shes rab rgyal mtshan for a few days at the beginning of the 1st month; sgrub mchod in the 3rd month; g-yang sgrub in the 5th month, smyung gnas fast in the 8th month.

The dates and length of the rituals mentioned above vary according to the amount of donations received from the monastery’s followers.

10. Books held in the monastery

The monastery has no library. The monks have their own books for ritual purposes.

11. Income and expenses

The monastery depends on offerings from its followers. The monks provide their own food.

12. Local community

The local lay community consists of three villages: Tsog bu with forty-six families, Bar so with forty-one families and La ba with sixty-one families.

14. Economic occupation of the local people



(1) Interview

In autumn of 1997 with gYung drung rab rgyas, a monk at the monastery who is around twenty-five years old.

(2) Texts
  1. Nor bu bde ldan gling by gNyags Chos nyid rdo rje. MS

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.