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.

Nyag rong rdzong

(160) gZhung ring Monastery

1. Name of monastery

The full name is gZhung ring (also spelt gZhu ring) bKra shis smin grol gling.

2. Location

It is located 41 km southeast of the county town of Brag ’go.

3. History

According to gZhung ring dgon by Sang dga’, gYung drung bstan ’dzin, the founder of the monastery, was born into a leading family of dGe bshes tsa (also written rdza, rtsa) valley in rGyal rong in the Earth-Dog Year of the 11th Rab byung (1658). He founded the monastery in 1691. Around thirty generations later, a family in dGe bshes tsa valley produced another important master, known as ’Chi med grub dbang. His reincarnation was sTon bla bsTan ’dzin rgyal mtshan. The present master is called Tshe dbang g-yung drung.

4. Hierarchical system

  • one dbu mdzad
  • one dge skos
  • two mchod g-yog
  • four gnyer pa (two bdag gnyer ba, one dngul bdag)
  • one rtsis pa

The dge skos and the gnyer pa are replaced every two years on a rotating basis, the mchod g-yog every year, and the dbu mdzad every three years.

5. Current number of monks

There are thirty-five monks at the monastery.

6. Current education

There are no organized classes; the younger monks are trained by the elder ones. They go to Shar rdza Hermitage (No.138) for ordination and further training.

8 / 9. Rituals

The smon lam prayer from the 5th to the 11th day of the 1st month; the ritual Bla ma’i mchod pa and the mDo g-yung drung klong rgyas from the 11th to the 15th day of the same month with the ’cham dance on the last day. The ’cham include the mChod pa’i lha mo brgyad, dPal ldan lha mo, gShin rje lha dgu, Dam can shel khrab and dMar lam bcu. The smyung gnas fast from the 5th day of 6th month to the 4th day of the 7th month; the ritual cycle of Ma rgyud for seven days in the 7th month; the ritual sTag la’i dgu sgrub from the 1st to the 10th day of the 10th month.

10. Books held in the monastery

The monastery has one copy of the Bonpo Kanjur published by A yung and sKal bzang phun tshogs; one copy of the collected works of Shar rdza bKra shis rgyal mtshan; one copy of the collected works of mNyam med Shes rab rgyal mtshan, the Chamdo edition; two copies of the wood block prints of the Dran pa’i bka’ thang and those of the Tshe dbang bka’ thang from Gong rgyal Monastery (No.152).

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 twelve villages: Kha ’brog village with twenty familes, Ri nya with six families, sTag lung with five families, sMi nub with seven families, Khri cha with three families, ’Ug gling with six families, rDzas nub with ten families, Brag ’go with nine families, Ba nang with four families, Sa dmar with fourteen families, sPang yul with eleven families and Glas rkong with one family.

13. Local festivals

The mountain facing the monastery is known as dGa’ ldan dpal ri. It is propitiated in the 6th month by both monks and lay communities and is circumambulated by both Bon po and Buddhists. The mountain was “opened” by Sangs rgyas gling pa. The mountain behind the monastery is called Khro bcu brag or Khro chu brag and is associated with three local deities known collectively as Gong gsum and individually as rDo rje btsan rgod, gYung drung ’od ’bar and Do sho btsan rje (each is represented by one peak of the three peaks and each has its own la btsas). The dates of their propitiation are the 1st day of the 1st month, the 13th day of the 4th month and the 15th day of the 6th month. Only the Buddhists propitiate rDo rje btsan rgod, even though this local deity is mentioned in several Bon po ritual texts; gYung drung ’od ’bar is propitiated by both Bonpo and Buddhists; Do sho is no longer propitiated.

14. Occupation of the local population

Farming supplemented by animal husbandry


(1) Interviews

With the following monks of the monastery in autumn of 1997: sKal bzang nyi ma (b.1945), mGon lo (mGon po rdo rje, b.1922) and A g-yung (b.1947)

(2) Texts
  1. gZhung ring dgon by Sang dga’, 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.