Thang lung and Zam tsha

Tanglung Gowa (thang lung mgo ba)[1] descended from Tsangwa Namlhabum (gtsang ba gnam lha ’bum). Many generations later, a pönpo (dpon po)[2] by the name of Tanggé Lhündrup (thang dge lhun grub) emerged and he met Künkhyen Jamyang Zhepa (kun mkhyen ’jam dbyang bzhad pa) and founded Lari Gül (bla ri mgul) Monastery.  

Zamtsa (zam tsha) also had the same ancestry as Tanglung. However, during the time of Tanglung Gorgen (mgo rgan), who was the leader of Tanglung in the early twentieth century, they became hostile to each other due to a conflict between Mokri (rmog ri) Monastery in Zamtsa and the Zamtsa Pönpo. Shitsang and Tanglung took the side of Mokri Monastery, which forced the Zamtsa Pönpo to seek support from the local Guomindang officials. The Guomindang officials sent an army against Shitsang and Tanglung, and Shitsang Monastery was burned down. Because Tanglung Gowa and the king of Mé (dme) in Ngawa (rnga ba) were sworn brothers, the king of Mé (dme) sent his army to help, but it was too late. This conflict was resolved finally by the Guomindang officials in Lanzhou and Awa Aplo (a ba a blo) from Labrang (bla brang).

It seems that Tanglung Gorgen was not on friendly terms with Labrang. Gopo Trashi (mgo po bkra shis), the father of the fifth Künkhyen (kun mkhyen), claimed control over Tanglung because Tanglung Monastery was under Labrang Monastery. But Tanglung Gorgen refuted the claim. Interestingly, Tanglong Gorgen enjoyed a close relationship with Ma Bufang and his officials.

[1] Pönpo (dpon po) is a general Tibetan term and it means leader, but it is attached with official authority.

[2] Gowa (mgo ba) is a general Tibetan term, which simply means leader (“headman”). Unlike Pönpo, Gowa is not always officially recognized.


Hor gtsang ’jigs med. Mdo smad lo rgyus chen mo las sde tsho’i skor glegs bam dang bo [The Second Volume of Sde tsho (Communities and Tsho ba) in the Greater History of Amdo]. Dharamsala, India: Library of Tibetan Works & Archives, 2009, 468-93.