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.

Dolpo (Nep. Dolpa) District

(228) Dorpatan Monastery

1. Name of monastery

bKra his dge rgyas mtha’ brtan gling

2. Location

Dorpatan refugee camp, Rukum District, Dhaulagiri Zone

3. History

Shes rab blo gros, the old abbot of sMan ri monastery in Tibet, was living for a while with other members of the Bonpo community in Kathmandu, including bsTan ’dzin rnam dag, shortly after coming into exile. The Red Cross began to build a refugee camp in Dorpatan in the early sixties, and after the departure of bsTan ’dzin rnam dag to England, Shes rab blo gros went to Dorpatan. The Dorpatan temple was created at this time. Shes rab blo gros later went to Manali in India, and the management of the temple was taken over by Tshul khrims nyi ma, a bla ma from Kre ba, north of Kyirong, in Tibet. Most of the members of the Dorpatan camp were from Kre ba. After the murder of Tshul khrims nyi ma in a celebrated incident in 1969/1970, the temple was run by mKhan po bSod nams rgyal mtshan, from Khyung po. He died in 1995, and has been succeeded by dGe bshes bsTan ’dzin dar rgyas, a monk from Dolanji who was appointed to this position by the mKhan chen Sangs rgyas bstan ’dzin.

4. Hierarchical system

The monastery is small, and the hierarchical system not elaborate. There is a mkhan po, an dbu mdzad and a gnyer pa, Tshul khrims rgyal mtshan.

5. Number of monks/ priests

Including the hierarchs listed above in no. 4, there are six monks, who live in the monastic quarters attached to the temple.

6. The present educational system

Religious education is relatively unstructured; the dge bshes sporadically teaches Tibetan to the children from the refugee camp.

In addition to the monastery there is a medical centre, where teaching is provided by dGe rgan Tshul khrims sangs rgyas, who came from Khyung po, in eastern Tibet, in the mid-1980s. He has about ten students, most of whom are from the local refugee community but one from Dzar, in the Muktinath Valley of Mustang District.

7. Personnel and educational exchange of monks between monasteries

There is a certain amount of mobility between Dorpatan, sMan ri Monastery (No.231) in Dolanji and Triten Norbutse (No.230) in Kathmandu.

8. Description of daily rituals of the monastery

Essentially, fumigation (bsang) and water-offering (yon chab) in the morning and bka’ skyong (invocation of the protectors), with the lighting of a mchod me (votive lamp), in the evening.

9. Description of annual rituals of the monastery

The main annual rituals are: mNyam med dus chen (commemoration of mNyam med Shes rab rgyal mtshan) in the first month; smyung gnas in the fourth month; dgu gtor of sTag la in the ninth month.

10. Daily life of an individual monk

The monks do not farm or engage in much commerce, but they are much in demand for the performance of domestic rituals among the lay community.

11. Books and manuscripts kept by the monastery

The library consists almost entirely of Bonpo works reprinted in India.

12. Economic circumstances of temples

The monastery owns a number of fields, and receives an income from the lease of this land to lay farmers from the refugee community. Further support is provided by the lay population and also from Triten Norbutse (No.230) and the Bonpo community in Kathmandu.

13. Number of local villages or nomads

Approximately 200 people.

14. Economic occupation of the local population

The people migrate seasonally between Dorpatan and the south (mainly Pokhara), where they live for part of the time. In Dorpatan they grow mainly potatoes, as well as oats for livestock. Apples are now being grown in increasing quantities.

The potatoes are exchanged in the south for salt and rice, and this exchanged in turn in the middle hills for maize and wheat.


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.