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.

Chu chen County

(191) bZod sgom Monastery

1. Name

The monastery’s full name is bZod sgom bKra shis rnam rgyal gling.

2. Location

The monastery is located 74 km northwest of Chu chen, the seat of the county.

3. History

The monastery was founded by Pa go Shes rab rgyal mtshan (992-1043) in the Earth-Dragon year of the 1st Rab byung (1028). Following is a list of his successors:

  1. Pa go Shes rab rgyal mtshan
  2. Pa go bSod nams blo gros (1030-1095)
  3. Pa go Phun tshogs dbang rgyal (1092-1141)
  4. Kun bzang rgyal mtshan (1136-1199)
  5. bSod nams rgyal mtshan (1202-1275)
  6. Rin chen rgyal mtshan (1266-1339)
  7. gYung drung bstan ’dzin (1336-1408)
  8. gYung drung gtsug phud (1398-1448)
  9. sKal bzang g-yung drung (1444-1498)
  10. Nyi ma bstan ’dzin (1466-1552)
  11. Phun tshogs rnam rgyal (1550-1612)
  12. sKal bzang blo gros (1609-1689)
  13. gYung drung dbang ldan (1687-1771)
  14. bsTan pa dar rgyas (1768-1836)
  15. Shes rab bstan ’dzin (1916-1963)

After the time of Kun bzang rgyal mtshan, the fourth master in the line, the monastery was looked after by the masters of dGra lha Khyung dgon Monastery (No.189). Thus from that time onwards the monastery became a branch of dGra lha khyung dgon. The monastery was rebuilt in the nineteen-eighties.

4. Hierarchical system

  • two dbu mdzad (with indefinite terms of office)
  • one dge skos (replaced every two years)
  • three gnyer ba (replaced every two years)
  • one mchod dpon (replaced each year)

5. Current number of monks

There were thirty-six and novices monks at the monastery in autumn 1998.

6. Current education

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

7. Educational exchange

Since it is a branch of dGra lha khyung dgon, the two monasteries maintain close ties. They send their novices to the monasteries of sNang zhig (No.180) and rTogs ldan (No.178) in rNga khog for ordination and further training.

8 / 9. Rituals

The ritual cycle of dBal gsas from the 12th to the 19th day with a ’cham dance from the 18th to the 20th day of the 1st month; the ritual cycle of Phur pa from the 15th to 19th day of the 4th month.

10. Books held in the monastery

The monastery possesses one printed copy of Bonpo Kanjur and one printed copy of Katen, one printed copy of Dri med gzi brjid and a few other texts.

11. Income and expenses

The monastery has no regular Sources of income and depends on donations from its followers. The monks provide their own food.

12. Local community

The local lay community consists of four villages: sByer chu with thirty-eight families, rDi mi with twelve families, mGar rdo with sixteen families and ’Gram with three families.

13. Local festivals

There is a sacred mountain (gnas ri) which was originally a Bonpo site and which was believed to be an abode of gShen lha ’od dkar. However, since most of the region’s population were converted to Buddhism, the Buddhists began to regard it as the abode of Thugs rje chen po or sPyan ras gzigs. The Bonpo, however, still circumambulate the mountain.

14. Occupation of the local people



(1) Interviews

In autumn 1998 with sTag la skyabs (b.1935), Shes rab tshul khrims (b.1930), Bla ma skyabs (b.1943), all three monks at the monastery, and with Nor bu thar (b.1942) and rGyal ba (b.1947), both laymen

(2) Texts
  1. an anonymous untitled history of the monastery, MS
  2. rNga khul chu chen rdzong gi bzod sgom dgon pa’i lo rgyus mdor bsdu in rNga khul gyi dgon pa’i lo rgyus, The Religion Bureau and the Buddhist Association of rNga pa Prefecture, MS, pp.220-224

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.