Tibetan and Himalayan Library - THL

THL Title Text
Purbuchok Hermitage
by José Ignacio Cabezón
Section 4 of 4


[1] There is a constitution (ChayikBca’ yig) for Purchok Hermitage (Purchok RitröPhur lcog ri khrod) written by Purchok Lozang Tsültrim Jampa GyatsoPhur lcog blo bzang tshul khrims byams pa rgya mtsho (1825-1901), see TBRC W2982, but this was not available to me at the time of the writing of this piece. In the account that follows I have relied chiefly on a short history published recently in Tibet: Phun tshogs rab rgyas, Phur lcog rigs gsum byang chub gling gi byung ba mdo tsam brjod pa dad gsum ’dren pa’i lcags kyu [A Brief History of Purchok Riksum Jangchup Ling: A Hook to Draw in the Three Types of Faith; hereafter Phur byung], Bod ljongs nang bstan [Tibetan Buddhism] 1 (2004), and on Bshes gnyen tshul khrims, Lhasé Gönto Rinchen PunggyenLha sa’i dgon tho rin chen spungs rgyan [A Catalogue of the Monasteries of Lhasa: A Heap of Jewels] (Bod ljongs mi dmangs dpe skrun khang, 2001), 79-81.
[3] Dung dkar blo bzang ’phrin las, Dungkar Tsikdzö ChenmoDung dkar tshig mdzod chen mo [The Great Dungkar Dictionary] (Krung go’i bod rig pa dpe skrun khang, 2002), 739, in the biographical entry on DrupkhangpaSgrub khang pa.
[4] PurjungPhur byung, 56.
[5] PurjungPhur byung, 56-57, gives a slightly different etymology.
[6] See PurjungPhur byung, 57, for the sources of this tradition. The author of the PurjungPhur byung also considers (and rejects) the tradition that sees PurchokPhur lcog as the place where the famed Sera dagger (Sera purpase ra phur pa) supposedly fell from the sky (see PurjungPhur byung, 58).
[7] On this important figure, see the “History” section of the “Introduction to the Hermitages.”
[8] PurjungPhur byung, 60, and Lhasé GöntoLha sa’i dgon tho, 79. Other accounts claim that his original plan was for a hermitage of one hundred fully ordained monks. The confusion is perhaps attributable to the fact that the words brgyad (eight) and brgya (one hundred) are very similar in Tibetan.
[9] It is unclear why the Temple of the Three Protectors could not serve as an assembly hall, given that it is about the same size as the assembly hall of the hermitage.
[10] See, for example, Lhasé GöntoLha sa’i dgon tho, 80.
[11] PurjungPhur byung, 62, states that from this time on, Purchok RinpochéPhur lcog rin po che meticulously instructed the monks of Phur lcog on the constitution of the monastery and gave the public admonitions on a yearly basis on the fifteenth day of the sixth month. Such a tradition is, of course, reminiscent of the system of public admonitions practiced at SeraSe ra. See José I. Cabezón, The Regulations of a Monastery, in Religions of Tibet in Practice. ed. Donald S. Lopez, Jr. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997), 335-51.
[12] On this important figure, see the History section of the Introduction to the Hermitages. PurchokPhur lcog enjoyed the patronage of the various rulers of the day – not only of PolhanéPho lha nas, but after him of the Seventh Dalai Lama Kelzang Gyatso (Dalai Lama Kutreng Dünpa Kelzang GyatsoDa lai bla ma sku phreng bdun pa skal bzang rgya mtsho, 1708-1757). For example, it was the “government” who acted as patron (jindaksbyin bdag) during the annual graded stages of the path teachings at PurchokPhur lcog, offering “seven teas and two soups” (ja dün dang tukpa nyija bdun dang thug pa gnyis) daily to the one-thousand or so people in attendance.
[13] It appears that part of the function of the Dharma enclosure was to serve as the site of large public teachings. PurjungPhur byung, 63, says that the original enclosure could hold up to six-hundred monks.
[14] The schedules for the annual spring and autumn teachings given by Ngawang JampaNgag dbang byams pa at PurchokPhur lcog are given in extenso in PurjungPhur byung, 64, and Lhasé GöntoLha sa’i dgon tho, 80-81.
[15] According to PurjungPhur byung, 65, this set of texts is today housed in the Eastern Assembly Hall (Tsomchen Shartshoms chen shar) of the Potala.
[16] Lhasé GöntoLha sa’i dgon tho, 80.
[17] SeraSe ra itself had only about fifteen-hundred monks around this time.
[18] PurjungPhur byung, 66, mentions that it was this figure who was responsible for building the first structures at the Purchok Lama’s estate at SeraSe ra.
[19] PurjungPhur byung, 66, mentions that the following ritual cycles began to be practiced yearly during the tenure of the second Purchok RinpochéPhur lcog rin po che: the self-initiation rituals (danjukbdag ’jug) of Guhyasamāja (Sangwa DüpaGsang ba ’dus pa), Yamāntaka, and Cakrasaṃvara (DemchokBde mchog), as well as various other ritual cycles related to Tārā (DrölmaSgrol ma), DukarDugs dkar, and the Lion-Headed Ḍākinī (SengdongmaSeng gdong ma).
[20] Buildings in Tibet are often measured by the number of pillars they have.
[21] See the description of the present layout of the hermitage above.
[22] For example, the Dalai LamaDa lai bla ma, in exile, has inaugurated doctrinal/philosophical studies at his own ritual monastery of NamgyelRnam rgyal, and has encouraged similar undertakings at ritual institutions like the two tantric colleges (ngakpa dratsangsngags pa grwa tshang) – Upper Tantric [College] (GyütöRgyud stod) and Lower Tantric [College] (GyüméRgyud smad).
Purbuchok Hermitage , by José Ignacio Cabezón

Table of Contents

  1. Location and Layout
  2. History
  3. Glossary
  4. Notes
  5. Specify View:
  6. Specify Format: