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Pabongkha Hermitage (Pabongkha Ritrö)
Pabongkha Hermitage (Pabongkha Ritrö)1
by José Ignacio Cabezón
April 28, 2006
Sera Monastery Lhasa - Sera Monastery Sera Monastery ཕ་བོང་ཁ རི་ཁྲོད
A view of Pabongkha from the south.
A view of Pabongkha from the rear, looking down into the Nyangdren Valley.

Pabongkha, one of the largest and most important of the Sera hermitages (ritrö), lies about eight kilometers northwest of downtown Lhasa on the southern (Lhasa-facing) slope of a peak known as Mount Parasol (Udukri), northwest of Sera. It takes a little over one hour to walk from Pabongkha to Sera. Pabongkha is the starting point for the “Sixth-Month Fourth-Day” (Drukpa Tsezhi) Sera Mountain Circumambulation Circuit (Seré Rikhor) pilgrimage. To see images of the circumambulation taken in 2002, click here.

The site has a long history that is said to go back to the time of the first Buddhist king (of Tibet) Songtsen Gampo (Chögyel Songtsen Gampo).2 Although originally the site of his castle (kukhar) or fort, it appears that Pabongkha was quickly converted into a monastery, perhaps as early as the reign of the second great Buddhist king (of Tibet) Trisong Detsen (Chögyel Trisong Detsen). The monastery was partially destroyed as part of King Langdarma’s (d. 842) campaign to dismantle monastic Buddhism. During the so-called “later propagation period” (chidar), Pabongkha was taken over by members of the Kadampa school. Later, Tsongkhapa (1357-1419) lived at the site as a hermit, and it eventually became a Geluk institution. Before 1959, Pabongkha was apparently an autonomous institution that belonged to no other monastery, although at various times it has had informal ties to Sera through the person of the various Sera lamas that served as its abbots. The monastery suffered considerable destruction from 1960 to the mid-1980s. Sera monks began renovating the buildings in the mid-1980s, and today the monastery belongs to Sera. Since the mid-80s, all of Pabongkha’s monks are Sera monks, and the hermitage is managed by a senior Sera monk. As was the case before 1959, and as is typical of the Sera hermitages in general, Pabongkha is principally a ritual institution. It maintains its own tradition of monthly and yearly ritual cycles.3 The most important of these yearly ritual events (at least for the laity) are:

  • the six-day (three sets of two-day) Avalokiteśvara fasting rituals (nyungné) that take place during the time of the Tibetan New Year (Losar) celebrations,
  • the sixteen-day (eight sets of two-day) Avalokiteśvara fasting rituals that take place during the fourth Tibetan month. This attracts many (especially elderly) people from Lhasa and the surrounding area, and
  • the ritual and other events that take place during the “Sixth-Month Fourth-Day” pilgrimage.

Location and Layout

Various kinds of rhetoric have been used to portray Pabongkha as a sacred site – metaphysical, historical, archival, and so forth. In the more metaphysical accounts, Pabongkha is depicted as a site that is sacred by its very nature – that is, sacred by virtue of the fact that from among the twenty-eight sites in the world associated with the deity Cakrasaṃvara (Demchok), Pabongkha is one of the Four Principal Sites (Nyewé Né Zhi): “the one called Debikoṭi (Debi Koti).”4 In these accounts, then, Pabongkha is depicted as sacred at a deep or ontological level because it is a part of the body of a deity, Cakrasaṃvara.

But other discourses on the sacredness of the site exist alongside the metaphysical one. As is typical of many Tibetan religious institutions, various auspicious self-arisen images (rangjön)5 and rock formations are believed to exist on the mountains behind Pabongkha. The parasol has already been mentioned in other contexts; there is also a famous rock formation that resembles a conch. These various magical properties of the landscape are considered signs of the “purity of the site” (sajang). [Click here to read a discussion of the metaphysics of sacred space at a site like Sera.]

The “white conch shell” rock formation, one of the signs of holiness visible in the mountains above Pabongkha.

Pabongkha is located on a rise above the fields in the Lhasa suburb of Nyangdren. Just east of the monastery is a cemetery (durtrö) that is in use even to this day. The cemetery is identified as one of the cemeteries in the maṇḍala of Cakrasaṃvara. Informants report that before 1959 only fully ordained monks could be brought here for “sky burial.” Today no such restriction exists, and the bodies of lay people are also disposed of here. Inside the main temple at Pabongkha there is a small stone statue of a Buddha6 said to have magically emerged self-arisen image out of a stone as Songtsen Gampo was gestating in his mother’s womb. By the time the king was born, the statue, which was slowly emerging from the stone over the nine months he was in his mother’s womb, took its final and present form. The image faces the cemetery, and – like the Maitreya statue at Keutsang Hermitage (Keutsang Ritrö) that gazes down upon the eastern cemetery of Lhasa – this statue too is said to effectuate the “transition of consciousness” (powa) to the pure land for any deceased person whose remains are brought to this cemetery.

The first temple that one sees as one arrives at Pabongkha is the Temple of the Three Protectors (Riksum Gönpo Lhakhang). The temple that presently exists at this site is recent. Before 1959, it seems that only a small shrine to the Three Protectors (Riksum Gönpo) existed at this spot.7 The present temple was built sometime in the late 1980s. In 2004 it was being renovated, and new murals depicting the Eighty Deeds of Tsongkhapa (Tsongkha Gyepchu) were being painted on its walls by a group of artists from Tsang province. The temple contains several important icons:

The self-arisen image of the Buddha housed in the Pabongkha temple. It emerged from a rock slowly as Songtsen Gampo was gestating in his mother’s womb.

  • In the center portion of the main altar one finds the stone self-arisen images of the Three Protectors – Avalokiteśvara, Mañjuśrī, and Vajrapāṇi.
  • On the western portion of the main altar – the left side as one is facing it – there is a miraculous statue of Thousand-Armed Avalokiteśvara, which is said to grow slightly in size every time the yearly fasting ritual of the deity is performed in this temple.
  • Along the eastern wall of the temple, one finds the famous stone containing the six-syllable mantra (oṃ maṇi padme hūṃ) that was carved into (or that emerged miraculously from) the rock onto which Tönmi (seventh century), the legendary founder of the Tibetan written language, wrote these letters as the first exemplar of Tibetan writing.

Proceeding northwest from the Temple of the Three Protectors, one arrives at what is arguably the most important structure in the monastery: the temple called The Boulder House (Pabongkha/ng). Known originally as Maru Castle (Kukhar Maru), it sits atop the largest boulder on the site, the so-called “Female Turtle” (Rübelmo)Boulder (see below). The castle – reportedly the first structure built on this site – is said to date from the time of Songtsen Gampo. It is not clear, however, whether the present temple is (or contains) a remnant of that original building, or whether the castle was completely destroyed and later rebuilt as the temple that exists there today.

The Pabongkha Temple, purportedly the oldest temple at the hermitage, sits atop the Female Turtle Boulder. At the bottom of the boulder (in the center) one can see the small door that leads into Songtsen Gampo’s meditation cave (druppuk).

One enters this temple building from the north side. The first floor is little more than a vestibule containing stairs that lead to the second story. Ascending the flight of stairs, one arrives at the three chapels that together comprise the second floor:

  • A small chapel that houses statues of some of the more important figures in the history of the monastery
  • The large assembly hall (dukhang) has room for about one-hundred monks. This is the main meeting hall used by the monks of the monastery today. In a small case on the eastern side of this room, facing the windows overlooking the cemetery, one finds the self-arisen image of the Buddha that emerged from a stone during Songtsen Gampo’s gestation.
  • Behind the main assembly hall is a small protector deity chapel (gönkhang).

The third floor contains the private rooms of the lama.

Beneath the main temple, in the interior of this boulder is a cave chapel, the place where Songtsen Gampo remained in retreat in order to pacify the negative forces that were hindering the building of the Jokhang. There is a mortar throne in the middle of the room that is said to be Songtsen Gampo’s actual meditation seat. The altar along the northern wall of this cave contains a self-arisen image rock image of the deity Pel Lhamo, who appeared in a vision to the king while he was in retreat here.

Tsongkhapa’s meditation hut lies just north of the Pabongkha main temple. Tsongkhapa is said to have stayed here when he once took the one-day Mahāyāna Precepts (Tekchen Sojong). Beside Tsongkhapa’s hut is a small chapel containing a self-arisen image stone image of the Medicine Buddha (Menla).

North of Tsongkhapa’s meditation hut are a series of stūpas that are said to date to the time that the site was a Kadampa monastery. And north of these is the building, which contains two chapels:

  • A small building, and
  • A large building. This chapel has large clay statues of Tsongkhapa and his two disciples, as well as statues of Tsongkhapa in various forms as he appeared in visions to his disciple Kedrupjé (1385-1438). This set of images of Tsongkhapa is collectively known as the “Five Visions of the Lord (Tsongkhapa)” (Jé Zikpa Ngaden).

In the foreground, the (white) meditation hut of Tsongkhapa. Behind it are the stūpas that are said to date to the time that Pabongkha was a Kadampa institution. Behind the stūpas is the Temple of the Five Visions of the Lord (Tsongkhapa).

Northeast of the Temple of the Five Visions of the Lord (Tsongkhapa) is the Male Turtle (Rübelpo)Boulder (see below) with a small structure atop it. Before 1959, there was a stūpa where this small structure now stands.

Finally, to the east of the Male Turtle Boulder are the ruins of what used to be the headquarters of the estate of Lhaptsün Rinpoché (Lhaptsün Rinpoché Labrang).

In addition to the buildings just mentioned there are many other buildings, like the kitchen, as well as minor structures and shrines, and of course various large buildings that contain monastic living quarters.

Founding Narratives

Pabongkha, also known as Maru Castle, has a history that spans more than thirteen-hundred years. Traditional accounts tell us that the oldest building on the site, the temple known as Pabongkha (“Boulder House/Man”),8 predates the Jokhang, Lhasa’s central cathedral. If this is true – and carbon-14 dating may prove definitive in deciding this, as it has in helping us to fix the date of the interior portions of the Jokhang itself – it would make the main temple at Pabongkha one of the oldest Buddhist monuments in the Tibetan world, dating to seventh century.

There are two distinct narratives of the founding of Pabongkha. The first relates the founding of the hermitage to the building of the Jokhang. The second relates it to the figure of Tönmi, the legendary founder of the Tibetan writing system and literary language. In each case, the founding of the monastery is associated with foundational events in the introduction of Buddhism into Tibet. In both narratives, the turtle spirit, who resides within the giant boulder at the site, is seen as something to be controlled or dominated. But in the second account, it is portrayed as something wondrous rather than as a threat. In neither of these narratives is the turtle gendered, as it will be in the later apocalyptic myths of the Pabongkha site (see below).

Version One9

According to many Tibetan sources, the Jokhang – the central cathedral of Lhasa and the first Buddhist temple built in Tibet – is said to have been constructed to house the statue of the Jowo Mikyö Dorjé, brought to Tibet by Songtsen Gampo’s Nepalese queen. But the building of the Jokhang was no easy thing. The site where the temple was supposed to sit was a swamp or lake (tso), and the water of this lake was the heart’s-blood (nyingdrak) of the female demon that lay supine over (or in some accounts that actually was) the landscape of Tibet. The demoness, we are told, had to be subjugated if Buddhism was to thrive in the country.10 And so, the narrative continues, Songtsen Gampo ordered that the area be filled with dirt. The dirt was carried on the backs of goats.11 Once the site had been prepared, construction on the Jokhang began. But the portion of the walls that went up by day would be destroyed by demons at night. The Nepalese queen asked her co-wife, the Chinese queen, to perform an astrological prognostication to determine how to deal with this problem. The Chinese queen determined that an earth spirit, a golden turtle named Ser Maha,12 who lived in the northern mountains of the Lhasa Valley, was the cause of the problem.13 She recommended that the king build a fortress at the site: an edifice that, being placed atop the huge turtle-boulder, would subdue the spirit beneath it, thus clearing away the obstacles that were impeding the building of the Jokhang temple.

The interior of Songtsen Gampo’s meditation cave located in the Female Turtle Boulder. The throne is said to have been Songtsen Gampo’s actual meditation seat.

Songtsen Gampo then built a nine-story fort made of bricks mortared with molten metal on the “back” of the Female Turtle Boulder.14 It was fastened to the boulder in each of the four directions with powerful, magically-blessed chains. He and his two wives then set themselves to meditating in this building for a period of three years. According to an alternate tradition, Songtsen Gampo meditated not in the castle but in a cave inside the huge boulder: a cave that has been preserved to this day.15 While living in this cave he had a vision of a goddess, Pel Lhamo,16 who promised to act as the protectress of the site, and of Buddhism in general. According to another account,17 on the third day of their retreat, the king and his two queens had visions of the Three Protectors, who promised to help the king realize his plan to introduce Buddhism into Tibet. They dissolved into a rock, and the figures of the three deities then emerged spontaneously from the rock-face. These self-arisen images of the three deities are to this day found on the main altar of the Temple of the Three Protectors in the southern part of Pabongkha hermitage. Finally, Pabongkha is said to be the place where Songtsen Gampo and his court created Tibet’s first legal code: the set of “sixteen rules of purity for the populace” (michö tsangma chudruk), which was then spread throughout the empire.18

The self-arisen image of the protector deity Pel Lhamo inside Songtsen Gampo’s meditation cave.

Version Two19

In the alternate narrative of the founding of Pabongkha, the Jokhang has already been built, and the king and his ministers are residing in Lhasa. One morning, while inspecting the Lhasa Valley from atop the roof of the White Palace in Lhasa, they noticed “a large dark shape” (nakril chenpo zhik) in the middle of the trees on the side of Cakrasaṃvara mountain north of Lhasa. The next day they went to inspect the site, and saw that the dark shape was a giant rock shaped like a turtle. Songtsen Gampo thought to himself, “Tönmi is about to return from India, and I should build him a palace that can serve as the headquarters from which he can spread the new written language. This place [Pabongkha] is a beautiful place, and the turtle is a wondrous thing. I will build Tönmi’s palace here.” The king designed the palace himself. Once the foundation was finished, he had molten metal poured onto it so that the turtle-rock and the nine-story building would be forever fused as one. Once Tönmi arrived, Songtsen Gampo set him up in this palace, and Tönmi began to teach the written language – first to the king and his ministers, and then to others, who in turn spread this knowledge throughout Tibet.20 But before beginning to instruct his fellow Tibetans, Tönmi wrote the six-syllable mantra (oṃ maṇi padme huṃ) for the sake of good luck. According to one account, the king saw these letters, was amazed, and had them engraved onto a rock. An alternative account tells us that Tönmi from the outset traced out the letters onto the rock’s surface, and that they then magically emerged in bas-relief in a self-arisen image fashion. This rock has been preserved, and can be seen in the Temple of the Three Protectors at Pabongkha Hermitage (Pabongkha Ritrö) even to this day.21

The stone bearing what oral lore says are the first Tibetan letters written by Tönmi, kept in the Temple of the Three Protectors at Pabongkha.

The Gendered/Sexual Landscape

There is one other aspect of the site – related to the narrative of the turtle – that must be mentioned. Oral tradition has it that there are in fact not one but two turtle spirits on the site, each associated with its own boulder. The boulder that sits lower on the hill – the one on which Songtsen Gampo built his castle – is said to be the Female Turtle. Northeast of the Female Turtle, farther uphill, there is another larger boulder identified as the Male Turtle. A small structure (before 1959, it was a stūpa) has been built atop it. Oral tradition has it that the Male Turtle is attempting to slide down the hill to unite sexually with the Female Turtle, and that if this event occurs, it will usher in an apocalypse – that is, the destruction of the universe by wind, fire, water, and so forth.

There are two factors that are seen as preventing this. First, each of the two turtle boulders is fixed in its respective location by Buddhist monuments. The Female Turtle is fixed in place by the castle/temple built by Songtsen Gampo, which is said to have a mythic axis/pole running through its middle that pierces the heart of the Female Turtle and holds her in place so that she cannot move.22 The Male Turtle is held in place by the previously-mentioned stūpa. Second, the stūpas that have been built between the two turtles are said to act as an additional barrier – a second line of defense, as it were – between the two boulders/spirits. In one account, there are said to be one hundred and eight stūpas, each one of them containing one bead from Tsongkhapa’s rosary.23

The Male Turtle Boulder.

The myth of the turtles both presumes and reinforces aspects of Tibetan gender ideology. First, the relative position of the two turtles is hardly accidental. In the natural world, as in the social world, the male must be located higher. Sexually speaking, as well, the cultural logic requires that the male be in a position to mount the female – yet another reason for situating the Male Turtle on top of (and descending towards) the female. It might seem strange that sexual union, a generative act, should be seen here not only as threatening, but as the very deed that ushers in the end of the world cycle. But we must remember that this was most likely an oral myth created by monks, and that for monks sex is the end of a world – the end of their vows, and therefore of their life/world as celibates. Sex that takes place within the confines of a monastery is, moreover, considered to be a great sin (dikpa chenpo). Sex in a holy place also brings pollution. From several vantage points, therefore, there is an imperative to keep sex from happening within the confines of Pabongkha. Finally, we must not forget that the turtles are in actuality geo-spirits (sadak): the powerful indigenous gods who are the original “owners” of Lhasa. The mating of the two spirits might have been seen as potentially leading to the proliferation of these creatures as a species, or to their reassertion of power over the land that was once theirs. To have allowed this to happen is to have risked the destruction of the world of Buddhism, whose existence on Tibetan soil depends metaphysically on the control of Tibet’s native spirits. The stūpas that separate the turtle spirits in the physical space of the monastery are the physical symbols of Buddhism as the force that controls the indigenous spirits of the country in the meta-physical sphere.

Later History

Although the various accounts agree that Pabongkha was originally built as a fort and not as a monastery, traditional lore has it that the site was converted into a religious center very early in its history. Initially, it is said to have served as the home to “about a hundred tantrikas.”24 According to some accounts, after Tibetans began to get ordained as Buddhist monks, Pabongkha was converted into a residence for the first seven Tibetan monks (semi dün). This would have taken place during the reign of Trisong Detsen). If this is true,25 it would make Pabongkha one of the oldest monasteries in Tibet.

Pabongkha was destroyed during the reign of King Langdarma. There are different accounts of this event. In the more naturalistic version given by Dungkar Rinpoché, the temple on the rock was completely destroyed by the king. According to the more super-naturalistic version current among the monks of the monastery, Langdarma began to destroy the nine-story temple story-by-story starting from the top. After destroying four stories, the deity Pel Lhamo appeared to him and told him to stop.26 A five-story temple then remained. During the Cultural Revolution the temple lost two more stories. This explains how today it is a three-story building.

We know little about Pabongkha between the time of Langdarma and the eleventh century. It was then that the site was re-established as a Kadampa monastery by one of the most important masters of that tradition. The great Kadampa master Potowa Rinchen Sel (1027/31-1105) is said to have lived in the so-called “Cave of the Tenth Day” (Tsechupuk),27 for a period of time. Pabongkha is the site where Potowa Rinchen Sel transmitted many of the Kadampa teachings to Geshé Drakkarwa (1032-1111), one of his eight great close disciples (kabap buchen gyé).28 Because Potowa Rinchen Sel was quite old at the time, he regretted that he could not bring Pabongkha back to its former glory, so he entrusted this work to his student. It is Geshé Drakkarwa, then, who is credited with the re-establishment of Pabongkha as a monastic institution.29 He stayed in retreat in the Cave of the Tenth Day for quite some time, and during this period gathered many disciples. He then began the process of reconstruction, and rebuilt at least two stories of the temple that had been destroyed during Langdarma’s reign. He also taught extensively at Pabongkha until his death at around the age of eighty. During his decades of residence at Pabongkha, upwards of three hundred monks gathered around him. The monastery appears to have remained a Kadampa institution for the next two hundreds of years, passing through seven or more abbots, and growing in size to upwards of four hundred monks.30 Many stūpas31 are said to have been built at the site by the successive Kadampa masters who held the throne of Pabongkha, and some of these monuments still exist at the site today. A small clay tablet repository (tsakhang) to the east of the temple of the Three Protectors is also said to have been built during the Kadampa period as an antidote to demonic influences.

Stūpas at Pabongkha that are said to date to the Kadampa period.

After the seventh Kadampa abbot of Pabongkha, the monastery went into a period of decline. It appears that it may have then become a Sakya institution around the time of Pakpa (1235-1280), remaining under Sakyapa control for a period of about two hundred years. At the time of Pakmo Drupa hegemony, Pabongkha once again went into a period of decline. Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Gelukpa school, apparently remained in retreat at Pabongkha for a short period of time. The site was once again revived – this time as a Geluk institution – by Penchen Delek Nyima (sixteenth century). Under Penchen Delek Nyima’s abbacy, Pabongkha thrived, at least for a short period of time, but, like many institutions in and around Lhasa, it suffered as a result of the internecine warfare that plagued Central Tibet as a whole, and Pabongkha once again went into a period of decline.

It was in year 1619 that Pabongkha came under the aegis of the great Gelukpa master Khöntön Peljor Lhündrup (1561-1637). Khöntön was a lama renowned for his ecumenical outlook. He was an important figure in the history of Sera, and one of the teachers of the Fifth Dalai Lama. After the death of Khöntön, the Fifth Dalai Lama had “a three story palace”32 built at Pabongkha. He commissioned an image of his teacher, and endowed the institution generously by providing it with fields, pastures for animals, and many head of yak.33 He also became (at least nominally) the head of Pabongkha, and it seems that he inaugurated a tradition according to which all of the successive Dalai Lamas visited the institution at least once in their lives.

Desi Sanggyé Gyatso (1653-1705), the regent of the Fifth Dalai Lama, lists the following abbots from the time of Khöntön up to his own day:

Pabongkha has remained a Geluk institution up to the present time. Informants tell us that one of the great lamas of Sera, Lhaptsün Rinpoché, established a lama’s residence (labrang) at Pabongkha at some point in time, but we do not know when precisely this was. This compound now lies in ruins.

The ruins of the Lhaptsün Rinpoché’s estate (Lhaptsün Rinpoché Labrang) at Pabongkha.

Before 1959 Pabongkha was an independent monastery, albeit one that had had strong historical and social ties to Sera for several hundred years of its history. According to one informant, before 1959 only fully ordained monks were allowed to live at Pabongkha. While this may have been true in theory, it is difficult to imagine that this rule was strictly observed, given that so much of the menial labor in small monasteries like this one (hauling water, cleaning, serving tea, etc.) is traditionally done by novice monks.

As with many of Tibet’s great monasteries, Pabongkha was forcibly closed after the events of 1959. Many of its important images36 were destroyed. It remained closed until the monks of Sera formally applied for permission to rebuild the site. They began the project of restoring Pabongkha in the mid 1980s. Today Pabongkha is owned and administered by Sera, and all of the monks of the hermitage are Sera monks.


Note: The glossary is organized into sections according to the main language of each entry. The first section contains Tibetan words organized in Tibetan alphabetical order. To jump to the entries that begin with a particular Tibetan root letter, click on that letter below. Columns of information for all entries are listed in this order: THL Extended Wylie transliteration of the term, THL Phonetic rendering of the term, the English translation, the Sanskrit equivalent, associated dates, and the type of term. To view the glossary sorted by any one of these rubrics, click on the corresponding label (such as “Phonetics”) at the top of its column.

Ka | Kha | Ga | Nga | Ca | Cha | Ja | Nya | Ta | Tha | Da | Na | Pa | Pha | Ba | Ma | Tsa | Tsha | Dza | Wa | Zha | Za | ’A | Ya | Ra | La | Sha | Sa | Ha | A
Extended WyliePhoneticsEnglishSanskritDateType
ka thung katungshort pillar Term
ka ring karinglong pillar Term
kang shi KangshiKangxi 1654-1722 Person
kun rig rnam par snang mdzad Künrik Nampar NangdzéSarvavid Vairocana Buddha
ke’u tshang Keutsang Monastery
ke’u tshang keutsangcave, cavern, or overhang Term
ke’u tshang sku phreng lnga pa Keutsang Kutreng Ngapathe fifth Keutsang incarnation Person
ke’u tshang sku phreng gnyis pa Keutsang Kutreng Nyipathe second Keutsang incarnation b. 1791 Person
ke’u tshang sku phreng gnyis pa blo bzang ’jam dbyangs smon lam Keutsang Kutreng Nyipa Lozang Jamyang Mönlamthe second Keutsang incarnation Lozang Jamyang Mönlam b. 1791 Person
ke’u tshang sku phreng dang po byams pa smon lam Keutsang Kutreng Dangpo Jampa Mönlamthe first Keutsang incarnation Jampa Mönlam d. 1790 Person
ke’u tshang ’jam dbyangs blo gsal Keutsang Jamyang Losel Person
ke’u tshang nub Keutsang NupKeutsang West Monastery
ke’u tshang nub ri khrod Keutsang Nup RitröKeutsang West Hermitage Monastery
ke’u tshang sprul sku Keutsang TrülkuKeutsang incarnation Person
ke’u tshang bla brang Keutsang LabrangKeutsang Lama’s estate Monastery
ke’u tshang bla ma Keutsang Lama Person
ke’u tshang ri khrod Keutsang RitröKeutsang Hermitage Monastery
ke’u tshang shar Keutsang SharKeutsang East Monastery
ke’u tshang shar ri khrod Keutsang Shar RitröKeutsang East Hermitage Monastery
kong po jo rdzong Kongpo Jodzong Place
krung go’i bod rig pa dpe skrun khang Trunggö Börikpa Petrünkhang Publisher
klong rdol bla ma ngag dbang blo bzang Longdöl Lama Ngawang Lozang 1719-1794 Person
dkar chag karchakinventory Term
dkar chag karchakcatalogue Term
bka’ ’gyur KangyurScriptures Tibetan text collection
bka’ ’gyur lha khang Kangyur lhakhangScripture Temple Building
bka’ brgyud Kargyü Organization
bka’ gdams pa Kadampa Organization
bka’ gdams lha khang Kadam LhakhangKadam Chapel Room
bka’ babs bu chen brgyad kabap buchen gyéeight great close disciples Term
bka’ babs ming can brgyad Kabap Mingchen Gyéthe “eight great ones who were named to receive the oral instructions”
bkra shis chos gling Trashi Chöling Monastery
bkra shis chos gling ri khrod Trashi Chöling RitröTrashi Chöling Hermitage Monastery
bkra shis gser nya trashi sernyatwo auspicious golden fish Term
bkra shis lhun po Trashi Lhünpo Monastery
sku mkhar kukharcastle Term
sku mkhar ma ru Kukhar MaruMaru Castle Building
sku bzhi khang Kuzhi KhangChapel of the Four Statues Room
sku rim grwa tshang kurim dratsangritual college Term
bskang gso kangsopropitiation ritual Ritual
bskal bzang rgya mtsho Kelzang Gyatso 1708-1757 Person
Extended WyliePhoneticsEnglishSanskritDateType
khang tshan khangtsenregional house Term
khams Kham Place
khal khela unit of weight/volume equal to about 25-30 lbs. Term
khri byang sku phreng gsum pa blo bzang ye shes Trijang Kutreng Sumpa Lozang Yeshéthe third Trijang incarnation Lozang Yeshé 1901-1981 Person
khri byang rin po che Trijang Rinpoché 1901-1981 Person
khrod tröin the midst of Term
khrod tröon the side of Term
mkhan ngag dbang bstan ’dzin Khen Ngawang Tendzin Person
mkha’ spyod dbyings Khachö Ying Room
mkhar rdo Khardo Monastery
mkhar rdo sku phreng lnga pa jam dbyangs chos kyi dbang phyug Khardo Kutreng Ngapa Jamyang Chökyi Wangchukthe fifth Khardo incarnation Jamyang Chökyi Wangchuk 19th-20th centuries Person
mkhar rdo sku phreng drug pa ’jam dpal thub bstan nyan grags rgya mtsho Khardo Kutreng Drukpa Jampel Tupten Nyendrak Gyatsothe sixth Khardo incarnation Jampel Tupten Nyendrak Gyatso 1909/12?-1956? Person
mkhar rdo sku phreng bdun pa ’jam dpal bstan ’dzin nyan grags rgya mtsho Khardo Kutreng Dünpa Jampel Tendzin Nyendrak Gyatsothe seventh Khardo incarnation Jampel Tendzin Nyendrak Gyatso Person
mkhar rdo sku phreng bzhi pa padma dga’ ba’i rdo rje Khardo Kutreng Zhipa Pema Gawé Dorjéthe fourth Khardo incarnation Pema Gawé Dorjé 19th century Person
mkhar rdo sku phreng gsum pa chos kyi rdo rje Khardo Kutreng Sumpa Chökyi Dorjéthe third Khardo incarnation Chökyi Dorjé b. 18th century Person
mkhar rdo sku phreng gsum pa rigs ’dzin chos kyi rdo rje Khardo Kutreng Sumpa Rikdzin Chökyi Dorjéthe third Khardo incarnation Rikdzin Chökyi Dorjé Person
mkhar rdo mthun mchod Khardo Tünchö Festival
mkhar rdo ba Khardowa Person
mkhar rdo bla brang Khardo LabrangKhardo Lama’s estate Organization
mkhar rdo tshoms chen Khardo TsomchenKhardo Assembly Hall Room
mkhar rdo ri khrod Khardo RitröKhardo Hermitage Monastery
mkhar rdo rin po che Khardo Rinpoché Person
mkhar rdo srong btsan Khardo Songtsen Buddha
mkhar rdo sgrub sde gsum Khardo Drupdé Sumthe three practice centers of kardo Monastery
mkhar rdo ba Khardowa Person
mkhar rdo bla ma Khardo Lama Person
mkhar rdo bzod pa rgya mtsho Khardo Zöpa Gyatso 1672-1749 Person
mkhar rdo gshin rje ’khrul ’khor Khardo Shinjé TrülkhorKhardo (Hermitage’s) Lord of Death Machine Term
mkhas grub rje Kedrupjé 1385-1438 Person
’khon ston Khöntön 1561-1637 Person
’khon ston dpal ’byor lhun grub Khöntön Peljor Lhündrup 1561-1637 Person
’khrungs dbu rtse Trung UtséBirth Peak Place
’khrungs ba’i bla ri Trungwé LariBirth Soul Mountain Place
’khrungs ba’i lha ri Trungwé LhariBirth Deity Peak Place
Extended WyliePhoneticsEnglishSanskritDateType
ga ru Garu Monastery
ga ru Garudance Term
ga ru dgon pa Garu GönpaGaru Nunnery Monastery
gar gardance Term
gar dgon bsam gtan gling Gargön Samten LingDance Gompa: Place of Meditative Equipoise Monastery
gar dgon bsam gtan gling gi lo rgyus mun sel mthong ba don ldan Gargön Samten Linggi Logyü Münsel Tongwa DöndenA History of Gargön Samten Ling: Clearing Away Darkness, Meaningful to Behold Tibetan text title
gar lo GarloA History of Garu [Nunnery] Tibetan text title
gu ru rin po che Guru Rinpoché 8th century Person
grub thob lha khang Druptop LhakhangSiddha Chapel Room
grog mo chu mig Drokmo ChumikRavine Spring Place
grong smad Drongmé Place
grwa tshang byes Dratsang JéJé College Monastery
grwa tshang smad Dratsang MéMé College Monastery
grwa bzhi Drapchi Building
grwa bzhi lha khang Drapchi LhakhangDrapchi Temple Building
glang dar ma Langdarma d. 842 Person
dga’ chos dbyings Gachö Ying Room
dga’ ldan Ganden Monastery
dga’ ldan khri pa Ganden tripathrone-holder of Ganden Term
dga’ ldan lnga mchod Ganden Ngamchöthe Ganden Feast of the 25th Festival
dga ldan chos ’nyung bai ḍūrya ser po Ganden Chönyung Baidurya SerpoYellow Lapis: A History of the Ganden [School] Tibetan text title
dga’ ldan pho brang Ganden PodrangGanden Palace Organization
dga’ spyod dbyings Gachö Ying Room
dgun nyi ldog gi cho ga Gün Nyidokgi ChogaWinter Solstice Ritual Ritual
dge lugs Geluk Organization
dge lugs pa Gelukpa Organization
dge bshes geshé Term
dge bshes pha bong khar grags pa Geshé Pabongkhar drakpa“Geshé Pabongkha” Person
dge bshes brag dkar ba Geshé Drakkarwa 1032-1111 Person
dge bshes ye shes dbang phyug Geshé Yeshé Wangchuk b. 20th century Person
dge bshes seng ge Geshé Senggé d. 1990s Person
dge slong gelongfully-ordained monk Term
dgon pa gönpamonastery Term
dgon pa gsar Gönpasar Monastery
dgon pa gsar gönpa sarnew monastery Term
dgon pa gsar sku phreng dang po ngag dbang don grub Gönpasar Kutreng Dangpo Ngawang Döndrupfirst Gönpasar incarnation Ngawang Döndrup 18th century Person
dgon pa gsar ri khrod Gönpasar RitröGönpasar Hermitage Monastery
mgon dkar GönkarWhite Mahākāla Buddha
mgon khang gönkhangprotector deity chapel Term
mgon po GönpoMahākāla Buddha
mgon po gtor rgyag Gönpo TorgyakThrowing of the Torma to Mahākāla Ritual
mgon po phyag drug Gönpo ChakdrukSix-Armed Mahākāla Buddha
mgon po a gho Gönpo Agho Buddha
’gyed gepmoney offering to monks Term
rgya mtsho mtha’ yas Gyatso Tayé Person
rgya res Gyaré Buddha
rgya res tshoms chen Gyaré Tsomchen Building
rgyal chen karma ’phrin las Gyelchen Karma Trinlé Buddha
rgyal ba lnga pa chen po Gyelwa Ngapa Chenpothe Great Fifth Dalai Lama 1617-1682 Person
rgyal ba’i rigs lnga bla ri Gyelwé Riknga LariSoul Mountain of the Buddhas of the Five Families Place
rgyal mo tshe ring bkra shis Gyelmo Tsering TrashiQueen Tsering Trashi 18th century Person
rgyal tshab rje Gyeltsapjé 1364-1432 Person
rgyal rabs gsal ba’i me long Gyelrap Selwé MelongThe Clear Mirror: A Royal History Tibetan text title
rgyal rong khang tshan Gyelrong KhangtsenGyelrong Regional House Monastery subunit
rgyugs gyukexamination Term
rgyud stod GyütöUpper Tantric [College] Monastery
rgyud smad GyüméLower Tantric [College] Monastery
rgyud smad grwa tshang Gyümé DratsangThe Lower Tantric College Monastery
rgyun ja gyünjadaily tea or prayer Term
sgo gnyer gonyertemple attendant Term
sgo srung gosungdoor-keeper Term
sgom chen gomchenmeditator Term
sgom sde nam kha’ rgyal mtshan Gomdé Namkha Gyeltsen 1532-1592 Person
sgom sde pa Gomdepa 1532-1592 Person
sgra ’dzin chu mig Dradzin ChumikSound-Catcher (or Ear) Spring Place
sgrub khang drupkhangmeditation hut Term
sgrub khang dge legs rgya mtsho Drupkhang Gelek Gyatso 1641-1713 Person
sgrub khang pa Drupkhangpa 1641-1713 Person
sgrub khang sprul sku Drupkhang TrülkuDrupkhang incarnation Person
sgrub khang bla brang Drupkhang LabrangDrupkhang Lama’s estate Organization
sgrub khang bla ma Drupkhang lama Person
sgrub khang ri khrod Drupkhang RitröDrupkhang Hermitage Monastery
sgrub grwa drupdrapractice center Term
sgrub thabs druptapritual method of realization Term
sgrub sde drupdépractice-center Term
sgrub phug druppukmeditation cave Term
sgrol chog DrölchokTārā Ritual Ritual
sgrol ma DrölmaTārā Buddha
sgrol ma lha khang Drölma LhakhangTārā Chapel Building
brgya gyahundred Term
brgyad gyéeight Term
Extended WyliePhoneticsEnglishSanskritDateType
ngag dbang byams pa Ngawang Jampa 1682-1762 Person
ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho Ngawang Lozang Gyatso 1617-1682 Person
ngag dbang sman rgyal Ngawang Mengyal 20th century Person
ngul gyi par khang ngülgyi parkhangmoney printing press Term
sngags ngakmantra Term
sngags pa ngakpatantric priest Term
sngags pa grwa tshang Ngakpa DratsangTantric College Monastery
Extended WyliePhoneticsEnglishSanskritDateType
gcig bu pa chikbuparecluse Term
bca’ yig chayikconstitution Term
Extended WyliePhoneticsEnglishSanskritDateType
chab rdzing gling kha Chapdzing LingkhaPond Park Place
chu mo yos chumo yöfemale-water-hare (year) Date
chu bzang chupzanggood waters Term
chu bzang Chupzang Monastery
chu bzang dgon Chupzang GönChupzang Nunnery Monastery
chu bzang ye shes rgya mtsho Chupzang Yeshé Gyatso 1789-1856 Person
cho ga phyag len choga chaklenritual Term
chos kyi rdo rje Chökyi Dorjé b. 18th century? Person
chos kyi seng ge Chökyi Senggé Person
chos skyong chökyongprotector deity Term
chos khang rtse ba dgon pa Chökhang Tsewa GönpaChökhang Tsewa Monastery Monastery
chos ’khor dus chen Chönkhor DüchenFestival of the Turning of the Wheel of the Doctrine Festival
chos gos chögöyellow ceremonial robe Term
chos rgyal ChögyelDharmarāja Buddha
chos rgyal khri srong lde’u btsan Chögyel Trisong Detsenthe Buddhist king (of Tibet) Trisong Detsen 742-796 Person
chos rgyal srong btsan sgam po Chögyel Songtsen Gampothe Buddhist king (of Tibet) Songtsen Gampo 617-650 Person
chos thog chötokritual cycle Term
chos sdings Chöding Monastery
chos sdings ri khrod Chöding RitröChöding Hermitage Monastery
chos me khang chömé khangbutter-lamp offering house Term
chos mtshams chötsamdoctrine retreat Term
chos gzhis chözhiestate lands Term
chos rwa chöraDharma enclosure or Dharma courtyard Term
mchod mjal chönjelworship Term
mchod rten dkar chung Chöten KarchungLittle White Stūpa Monument
’chi med lha khang Chimé LhakhangChapel of Deathlessness Building
Extended WyliePhoneticsEnglishSanskritDateType
ja bdun dang thug pa gnyis ja dün dang tukpa nyiseven teas and two soups Term
jo khang Jokhang Monastery
jo ston bsod nams rgyal mtshan Jotön Sönam Gyeltsen 17th century Person
jo bo jowothe Lord Term
jo bo mi bskyod rdo rje Jowo Mikyö Dorjé Buddha
jo mo si si Jomo Sisi Place
’jam dpal bla ri Jampel LariMañjuśrī Peak Place
’jam dpal dbyangs kyi bla ri Jampelyangkyi Larithe Soul-Mountain of Mañjuśrī Place
’jam dbyangs grags pa Jamyang Drakpa Person
’jigs byed kyi me long Jikjekyi MelongMirror of Vajrabhairava Place
’jigs byed lha bcu gsum Jikjé Lha ChuksumThirteen-Deity Vajrabhairava Buddha
’jog po Jokpo Monastery
’jog po ngag dbang bstan ’dzin Jokpo Ngawang Tendzin b. 1748 Person
’jog po bla brang Jokpo LabrangJokpo Lama’s estate Organization
’jog po bla brang Jokpo LabrangJokpo Lama’s residence Organization
’jog po ri khrod Jokpo RitröJokpo Hermitage Monastery
’jog po rin po che Jokpo Rinpoché b. 1748 Person
’jog ri ngag dbang bstan ’dzin Jokri Ngawang Tendzin b. 1748 Person
rje btsun nam mkha’ spyod sgrol rdor dbang mo Jetsün Namkhachö Dröldor WangmoJetsün (or Khachö) Dröldor Wangmo Person
rje btsun bla ma ngag dbang rnam grol Jetsün Lama Ngawang Namdröl Person
rje gzigs pa lnga ldan Jé Zikpa NgadenFive Visions of the Lord (Tsongkhapa) Painting series
rje shes rab seng ge Jé Sherap Senggé 1383-1445 Person
Extended WyliePhoneticsEnglishSanskritDateType
nyang bran Nyangdren Place
nyang bran rgyal chen Nyangdren Gyelchen Buddha
nyi ’od pho brang Nyiwö PodrangPalace of the Rays of the Sun Room
nye ba’i gnas bzhi nyewé né zhiFour Principal Sites Place
gnyer pa nyerpamanager Term
gnyer tshang nyertsangmanager’s room Term
rnying nyingold Term
rnying ma Nyingma Organization
rnying ma sgrub grwa Nyingma drupdraNyingma practice center Term
rnying ma pa Nyingmapa Organization
rnying ma bla ma Nyingma lama Term
snying khrag nyingdrakheart’s-blood Term
bsnyen pa nyenpaapproximation retreat Term
Extended WyliePhoneticsEnglishSanskritDateType
tā rā’i bla ri Taré Larithe Soul-Mountain of Tārā Place
trak shad Trakshé Buddha
gter tertreasure Term
gter bdag srong btsan Terdak SongtsenTreasure Lord Songtsen Buddha
gter nas ston pa terné tönpadiscovered as treasure Term
rta mgrin TamdrinHayagrīva Buddha
rta mgrin gsang sgrub Tamdrin SangdrupHayagrīva in his “Secret Accomplishment” form Buddha
rta ma do nyag Tama Donyak Place
rta tshag ye shes bstan pa’i mgon po Tatsak Yeshé Tenpé Gönpo 1760-1810 Person
rtag brtan taktenpermanent and stable Term
rtags brtan taktenstable sign Term
rtags brten Takten Monastery
rtags brten ri khrod Takten RitröTakten Hermitage Monastery
rtags bstan taktenrevealed sign Term
rtags bstan Takten Monastery
rtags bstan sgrub phug Takten Druppuk Monastery
rtags bstan ri khrod Takten RitröTakten Hermitage Monastery
rten khang tenkhang Term
mchod rten chöten stūpa Monument
bstan ’gyur tengyurCollection of Translated Śāstras Tibetan text title
bstan ’gyur lha khang Tengyur lhakhangTengyur chapel Building
bstan nor mkhar rdo Tennor Khardo b. 1957 Person
bstan ma Tenma Class of deities
Extended WyliePhoneticsEnglishSanskritDateType
thang ka tangka Term
thang stong rgyal po Tangtong Gyelpo 1361-1485 Person
thu’u bkwan Tuken 1737-1802 Person
theg chen gso sbyong Tekchen SojongMahāyāna Precepts Term
phyag stong spyan stong chaktong chentong Thousand-​Armed Thousand-​Eyed Avalokiteśvara Buddhist deity
thogs med rin po che Tokmé Rinpoché 20th century Person
thod smyon bsam grub Tönyön Samdrup 12th century Person
thon mi Tönmi 7th century Person
Extended WyliePhoneticsEnglishSanskritDateType
dā ma dama Term
dā ma la nyag Damala Nyak Place
da lai bla ma Dalai Lama Person
da lai bla ma sku phreng dgu pa Dalai Lama Kutreng Gupathe Ninth Dalai Lama 1806-1815 Person
da lai bla ma sku phreng brgyad pa ’jam dpal rgya mtsho Dalai Lama Kutreng Gyepa Jampel Gyatsothe Eighth Dalai Lama Jampel Gyatso 1758-1804 Person
da lai bla ma sku phreng lnga pa Dalai Lama Kutreng Ngapathe Fifth Dalai Lama 1617-1682 Person
da lai bla ma sku phreng lnga pa ngag dbang blo bzang rgya mtsho Dalai Lama Kutreng Ngapa Ngawang Lozang Gyatsothe Fifth Dalai Lama Ngawang Lozang Gyatso 1617-1682 Person
da lai bla ma sku phreng bcu bzhi pa Dalai Lama Kutreng Chuzhipathe Fourteenth Dalai Lama b. 1935 Person
da lai bla ma sku phreng bcu gsum pa Dalai Lama Kutreng Chuksumpathe Thirteenth Dalai Lama 1876-1933 Person
da lai bla ma sku phreng bcu gsum pa thub bstan rgya mtsho Dalai Lama Kutreng Chuksumpa Tupten Gyatsothe Thirteenth Dalai Lama Tupten Gyatso 1876-1933 Person
da lai bla ma sku phreng drug pa Dalai Lama Kutreng Drukpathe Sixth Dalai Lama 1683-1706 Person
da lai bla ma sku phreng bdun pa Dalai Lama Kutreng Dünpathe Seventh Dalai Lama 1708-1757 Person
da lai bla ma sku phreng bdun pa bskal bzang rgya mtsho Dalai Lama Kutreng Dünpa Kelzang Gyatsothe Seventh Dalai Lama Kelzang Gyatso 1708-1757 Person
da lai bla ma sku phreng gsum pa Dalai Lama Kutreng Sumpathe Third Dalai Lama 1543-1588 Person
ḍākinī dakiniḍākinī Term
dam chen chos rgyal Damchen ChögyelDharmarāja Buddha
dung dkar blo bzang ’phrin las Dungkar Lozang Trinlé 1927-1997 Person
dung dkar tshig mdzod Dungkar TsikdzöDungkar Dictionary Tibetan text title
dung dkar tshig mdzod chen mo Dungkar Tsikdzö ChenmoThe Great Dungkar Dictionary Tibetan text title
dung dkar rin po che Dungkar Rinpoché 1927-1997 Person
dur khrod durtröcemetery Term
dus ’khor DükhorKālacakra Buddha
de bi ko ṭi Debi KotiDebikoṭi Place
de mo sku phreng brgyad pa ngag dbang blo bzang thub bstan ’jigs med rgya mtsho Demo Kutreng Gyepa Ngawang Lozang Tupten Jikmé Gyatsothe eighth Demo incarnation Ngawang Lozang Tupten Jikmé Gyatso 1778-1819 Person
dog bde Dodé Place
dog sde DokdéDodé Place
dog sde lho smon Dodé Lhomön Place
dwags po grwa tshang Dakpo DratsangDakpo College Monastery
drag phyogs kyi las drakchokkyi léwrathful magical powers Term
drang nges legs bshad snying po Drangngé Lekshé NyingpoThe Essence of Eloquence that Distinguishes between the Provisional and Definitive Meaning Tibetan text title
drug pa tshe bzhi Drukpa TsezhiSixth-Month Fourth-Day Festival
drung pa brtson ’grus rgyal mtshan Drungpa Tsöndrü Gyeltsen fl. 17th century Person
drung pa rin po che Drungpa Rinpoché fl. 17th century Person
gdan sa densaseats of learning Term
gdan sa gsum Densa Sumthe three great Geluk seats of learning
gdugs dkar Dukar Buddha
gdugs pa’i bla ri Dukpé Larithe Parasol Soul Mountain Place
gdugs yur dgon Dukyur Gön Monastery
gdung rten dungtenfunerary stūpa Term
bdag bskyed dakkyéself-generation Term
bdag ’jug danjukself-initiation Term
bde chen pho brang Dechen PodrangPalace of Great Bliss Room
bde mchog DemchokCakrasaṃvara Buddha
bde mchog gi pho brang Demchokgi PodrangPalace of Cakrasaṃvara Place
bde mchog bla mchod Demchok LachöOffering to the Master Based on the Deity Cakrasaṃvara Ritual
bde mchog bla ri Demchok LariSoul Mountain of Demchok Place
mdo skal bzang Do KelzangSūtra of Good Fortune Tibetan text title
’du khang dukhangassembly hall Term
’dra sku drakusimulacrum (type of statue) Term
rdo sku dokustone image Term
rdo cung cong zhi’i phug pa Dochung Chongzhi PukpaCavern of Dochung Chongzhi Place
rdo rje ’jigs byed Dorjé Jikjé Vajrabhairava Buddha
rdo rje rnal ’byor ma Dorjé NeljormaVajrayoginī Buddha
rdo rje btsun mo Dorjé Tsünmo Buddha
rdo rje g.yu sgron ma Dorjé Yudrönma Buddha
rdo rje shugs ldan Dorjé Shukden Buddha
rdo rje sems dpa’ Dorjé SempaVajrasattva Buddha
rdo gter Dodé Place
rdo ring Doring Clan
sdig pa chen po dikpa chenpogreat sin Term
sde srid desiregent Term
sde srid sangs rgyas rgya mtsho Desi Sanggyé Gyatso 1653-1705 Person
Extended WyliePhoneticsEnglishSanskritDateType
na chung rtse mo ri Nachung Tsemo Ri Place
na ro mkha’ spyod ma Naro Kachöma Buddha
na ro mkha’ spyod ma’i bdag ’jug Naro Khachömé DanjukSelf-initiation Ritual of Naro Khachöma Ritual
nag chu Nakchu Place
nag chu zhabs brtan dgon pa Nakchu Zhapten Gönpa Monastery
nag ril chen po zhig nakril chenpo zhika large dark shape Term
nang rten gtso bo nangten tsowomain inner image(s) Term
nam mkha’ rgyal mtshan Namkha Gyeltsen 1532-1592 Person
nor bu gling kha Norbu Lingkha Place
gnas kyi bla ma nekyi lamahead lama Term
gnas sgo gdong Negodong Monastery
gnas sgo gdong ri khrod Negodong Hermitage Monastery
gnas bcu lha khang Nechu LhakhangTemple of the Sixteen Arhats Building
gnas chung Nechung Buddha
gnas brtan bcu drug Neten ChudrukSixteen Arhats Ritual
gnas brtan bcu drug Neten ChudrukSixteen Arhats Buddha
gnas brtan phyag mchod Neten ChakchöOffering of Homage to the (Sixteen) Arhats Ritual
gnas brtan bla ri Neten Larithe Soul-Mountain of the Arhats Place
gnas bdag nedaksite deity Term
gnas nang Nenang Monastery
gnas nang dgon pa Nenang GönpaNenang Nunnery Monastery
gnas nang ri khrod Nenang RitröNenang Hermitage Monastery
gnas mo Nemo Place
gnas rtsa chen po né tsa chenpoa holy site Term
gnas ri nerimountain-abode Term
rnam grol lag bcangs Namdröl LakchangLiberation in Our Hands Tibetan text title
rnam rgyal Namgyel Monastery
rnam sras NamséVaiśravana Buddha
rnam sras bang mdzod Namsé BangdzöTreasure-House of Vaiśravaṇa Room
rnal ’byor ma’i bdag ’jug Neljormé DanjukSelf-Initiation Ritual of Vajrayoginī Ritual
Extended WyliePhoneticsEnglishSanskritDateType
padma ’byung gnas Pema JungnéPadmasambhava 8th century Person
paṇ chen sku phreng gsum pa Penchen Kutreng Sumpathe Third Penchen Lama Person
paṇ chen bde legs nyi ma Penchen Delek Nyima 16th century Person
paṇ chen bla ma Penchen Lama Person
paṇ chen blo bzang ye shes Penchen Lozang Yeshé 1663-1737 Person
po ta la Potala Building
po to ba rin chen gsal Potowa Rinchen Sel 1027/31-1105 Person
dpa’ grong shag pa Padrong Shakpa Clan
dpal ldan lha mo Pelden Lhamo Buddha
dpal ’byor rab rgyas Peljor Rapgyé 1604-1669 Person
dpal lha mo Pel Lhamo Buddha
dpe cha ba pechawatextualist Term
dpe mtshams petsamtextual retreat Term
dpyid kyi rgyal mo’i klu dbyangs Chikyi Gyelmo LuyangThe Nāga Song of the Queen of Springtime Tibetan text title
spang lung Panglung Monastery
spang lung ri khrod Panglung RitröPanglung Hermitage Monastery
spangs lung sku phreng dang po blo bzang thugs rje Panglung Kutreng Dangpo Lozang Tukjéthe first Panglung incarnation Lozang Tukjé 1770-ca. 1835 Person
spo ’bo ra spyi khang Bombora Chikhang Building
spyi mi chimirepresentative Term
sprul sku trülkuincarnation Term
Extended WyliePhoneticsEnglishSanskritDateType
pha dam pa Pa Dampa b. 11th century Person
pha dam pa sangs rgyas Pa Dampa Sanggyé b. 11th century Person
pha bong PabongThe Boulder Building
pha bong kha Pabongkha Monastery
pha bong kha PabongkhaThe Boulder House Building
pha bong kha rgya mtsho mtha’ yas Pabongkha Gyatso Tayé b. 18th century Person
pha bong kha bde chen snying po Pabongkha Dechen Nyingpo 1878-1941 Person
pha bong kha pa Pabongkhapa 1878-1941 Person
pha bong kha sprul sku Pabongkha TrülkuPabongkha incarnation Person
pha bong kha bla brang Pabongkha LabrangPabongkha Lama’s estate Organization
pha bong kha ri khrod Pabongkha RitröPabongkha Hermitage Monastery
pha bong kha rin po che Pabongkha Rinpoché 1878-1941 Person
pha bong kha’i dkar chag Pabongkhé KarchakA Catalogue of Pabongkha Tibetan text title
phag mo gru pa Pakmo Drupa Organization
phun tshogs ’phrin las Püntsok Trinlé 20th century Person
phun tshogs rab rgyas Püntsok Rapgyé 20th century Person
phur lcog Purchok Monastery
phur lcog sku phreng gnyis pa blo bzang byams pa Purchok Kutreng Nyipa Lozang Jampathe second Purchok incarnation Lozang Jampa 1763-1823 Person
phur lcog sku phreng dang po ngag dbang byams pa Purchok Kutreng Dangpo Ngawang Jampathe first Purchok incarnation Ngawang Jampa 1682-1762 Person
phur lcog sku phreng gsum pa blo bzang tshul khrims byams pa rgya mtsho Purchok Kutreng Sumpa Lozang Tsültrim Jampa Gyatsothe third Purchok incarnation Lozang Tsültrim Jampa Gyatso 1825-1901 Person
phur lcog sku phreng gsum pa yongs ’dzin byams pa rgya mtsho Purchok Kutreng Sumpa Yongdzin Jampa Gyatsothe third Purchok incarnation Yongdzin Jampa Gyatso Person
phur lcog ngag dbang byams pa Purchok Ngawang Jampa 1682-1762 Person
phur lcog bla brang Purchok LabrangPurchok Lama’s estate Organization
phur lcog bla ma Purchok lama Person
phur lcog blo bzang tshul khrims byams pa rgya mtsho Purchok Lozang Tsültrim Jampa Gyatso 1825-1901 Person
phur lcog ri Purchok RiPurchok Mountain Place
phur lcog ri khrod Purchok RitröPurchok Hermitage Monastery
phur lcog rigs gsum byang chub gling gi byung ba mdo tsam brjod pa Purchok Riksum Jangchup Linggi Jungwa Dotsam JöpaA Brief Explanation of the History of Purchok Riksum Jangchup Ling Tibetan text title
phur lcog rigs gsum byang chub gling gi byung ba mdo tsam brjod pa dad gsum ’dren pa’i lcags kyu Purchok Riksum Jangchup Linggi Jungwa Dotsam Jöpa Desum Drenpé ChakkyuA Brief History of Purchok Riksum Jangchup Ling: A Hook to Draw in the Three Types of Faith Tibetan text title
phur lcog rin po che Purchok Rinpoché Person
phur bu lcog Purbuchok Monastery
phur bu lcog ri khrod PurbuchokRitrö Monastery
phur byung PurjungA Brief History of Purchok Tibetan text title
pho brang ngos podrang ngöthe actual palace Term
pho lha nas Polhané 1689-1747 Person
phyag mdzod chandzöadministrative head Term
phyi dar chidarlater propagation period Term
phrin las rgya mtsho Trinlé Gyatso d. 1667 Person
’phags pa Pakpa 1235-1280 Person
’phags pa shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa brgyad stong pa’i mdo Pakpa Sherapkyi Paröltu Chinpa Gyetongpé DoEight Thousand-Line Perfection of Wisdom Sūtra Āryāṣṭasāhasrikāprajñāpāramitā Sūtra Tibetan text title
’phan po Penpo Place
’pho ba powatransition of consciousness Term
Extended WyliePhoneticsEnglishSanskritDateType
bar skor Barkor Place
sangs rgyas sanggyé Buddha Buddhist deity
bai ḍūrya ser po Baidurya SerpoYellow Lapis Tibetan text title
bod ljongs nang bstan Böjong NangtenTibetan Buddhism Tibetan journal title
bod ljongs mi dmangs dpe skrun khang Böjong Mimang Petrünkhang Publisher
byang JangNorthern Tibet Place
byang chub chos ’phel Jangchup Chöpel 1756-1838 Person
byang chos ’khor gling Jang Chökhor Ling Monastery
byams khang JamkhangMaitreya Chapel Room
byams chen chos rje Jamchen Chöjé 1354-1435 Person
byams pa JampaMaitreya Buddha
byams pa gling Jampa Ling Monastery
byams pa bstan ’dzin ’phrin las rgya mtsho Jampa Tendzin Trinlé Gyatso 1878-1941 Person
byams pa thub bstan rin po che Jampa Tupten Rinpoché 20th century Person
byin can jinchenblessed Term
byin rlabs jinlapblessing Term
byes Monastery
byes mkhan po rgyal mtshan don grub Jé Khenpo Gyeltsen Döndrup 17th century Person
byes sgom sde khang tshan Jé Gomdé KhangtsenJé Gomdé Regional House Monastery subunit
byes ’du khang Jé DukhangJé College Assembly Hall Building
byes har gdong khang tshan Jé Hamdong KhangtsenHamdong Regional House of the Jé College Monastery subunit
brag mchod sa Drak ChösaOffering Place Cave Place
brag ri Drakri Monastery
brag ri drakricrag Term
brag ri sku phreng gnyis pa rgya mtsho chos ’byor Drakri Kutreng Nyipa Gyatso Chönjorthe second Drakri incarnation Gyatso Chönjor b. 19th century Person
brag ri rgya mtsho mtha’ yas Drakri Gyatso Tayé Person
brag ri sprul sku Drakri TrülkuDrakri incarnation Person
brag ri sprul sku blo bzang theg mchog dbang po Drakri Trülku Lozang Tekchok Wangpothe Drakri incarnation Lozang Tekchok Wangpo Person
brag ri bla brang Drakri LabrangDrakri Lama’s estate Organization
brag ri bla ma Drakri lama Person
brag ri ri khrod Drakri RitröDrakri Hermitage Monastery
brag ri rin po che Drakri Rinpoché Person
bla brang labranglama’s estate Term
bla ma lama Term
bla ma mchod pa tshog Lama Chöpa TsokOffering-Ritual to the Lama Ritual
bla ma zhang Lama Zhang 1123-1193 Person
bla ri larisoul mountain Term
blo bzang sgom chung Lozang GomchungLozang the Little Meditator Person
blo bzang ye shes bstan ’dzin rgya mtsho Lozang Yeshé Tendzin Gyatso 1901-1981 Person
dbang ’dus ’khor lo Wangdü KhorloCycle for Gathering Power Tibetan text title
dbang phyug chen po Wangchuk ChenpoMaheśvara Buddha
dbu gdugs ri UdukriMount Parasol Place
dbu mdzad umdzéchant leader Term
dben gnas enésolitary site Term
dben sa ensasolitary place Term
dben sa pa ensaparecluse Term
dben sa pa EnsapaEnsapa 1504/5-1565/6 Person
dben sa pa blo bzang don grub Ensapa Lozang Döndrup 1504/5-1565/6 Person
dbyar gnas yarnérainy-season retreat Term
’bras spungs Drepung Monastery
’brog pa drokpanomad Term
sba ri Bari
sba ri bla brang Bari LabrangBari Lama’s estate Organization
sba ri bla ma Bari lama Person
sba ri ri khrod Bari RitröBari Hermitage Monastery
sba ri rin po che Bari Rinpoché Person
sbyin bdag jindakpatron Term
Extended WyliePhoneticsEnglishSanskritDateType
ma cig lab sgron Machik Lapdrön 12th century Person
ma ṇi bka’ ’bum Mani KabumThe Compendium on the Maṇi [Mantra] Tibetan text title
ma ṇi ’khor lo mani khorlomani wheel Term
ma ṇi lha khang mani lhakhangmani [wheel] temple Term
maṇḍala mendelmaṇḍala Term
mi chos gtsang ma bcu drug michö tsangma chudruksixteen rules of purity for the populace Term
mi dbang byams pa Miwang JampaMaitreya as Lord of Men Buddha
mi g.yo ba MiyowaAcala Buddha
mi la’i brag Milé DrakCave of Mila Cave
mi ser miserserf Term
me tog char babs metog charbaprained flowers Term
me mo phag memopakfemale-fire-pig (year) Date
mes dbon Mewön Person
mo barha nyag Mo Barha Nyak Place
dmar gdung mardungmummified corpse Term
rmog tho ’go Moktogo Place
smad Monastery
smad ’du khang Mé DukhangMé College Assembly Hall Building
smad bla zur blo bzang don grub Mé Lazur Lozang Döndrup Person
sman bla MenlaMedicine Buddha Buddha
sman bla MenlaMedicine Buddha Ritual
sman bla bde gshegs brgyad Menla Deshek GyéRitual of the Eight Medicine Buddhas Ritual
sman bla bde gshegs brgyad Menla Deshek GyéEight Medicine Buddhas Buddha
sman bla yid bzhin dbang rgyal Menla Yizhin WanggyelMedicine Buddha [Ritual]: Yizhin Wanggyel Ritual
smyung gnas nyungnéfasting ritual Ritual
Extended WyliePhoneticsEnglishSanskritDateType
tsa khang tsakhangclay tablet repository Term
tsa tsa tsatsapressed-clay tablets Term
tsong kha brgyad bcu Tsongkha GyepchuEighty Deeds of Tsongkhapa Series of paintings
tsong kha pa Tsongkhapa 1357-1419 Person
gtsang Tsang Place
btsan khang tsenkhangtsen chapel Term
rtsa shes ṭīk chen Tsashé TikchenGreat Commentary on the Prajñāmūla Tibetan text title
rtsa gsum lha khang Tsasum Lhakhang“Three Roots” Chapel Room
rtsam pa tsampa Term
Extended WyliePhoneticsEnglishSanskritDateType
tsha khang tshan Tsa KhangtsenTsa Regional House Monastery subunit
tshal pa bka’ brgyud Tselpa Kagyü Organization
tshe mchog gling Tsechokling Monastery
tshe dpag med lha dgu Tsepakmé LhaguNine Deities [related to] Amitāyus Buddha
tshes bcu phug TsechupukCave of the Tenth Day Room
tshes bcu lha khang Tsechu LhakhangTemple of the Tenth Day Room
tshogs chen TsokchenGreat Assembly Hall Building
tshogs chen sprul sku Tsokchen Trülkuincarnation of the Great Assembly Hall Term
tshogs gtam tsoktampublic admonition Term
tshogs bdag lag na ’khor lo Tsokdak Lakna KhorloCycle on Gaṇeśa Tibetan text title
tshong pa tsongpamerchant Term
tshoms chen shar Tsomchen SharEastern Assembly Hall Building
mtshan zhabs tsenzhapassistant tutor Term
mtshams pa tsamparetreatant Term
mtsho tsolake Term
mtsho sngon po Tso NgönpoKokonor Place
mtshon cha’i ’khor lo tsönché khorlowheel of weapons Term
Extended WyliePhoneticsEnglishSanskritDateType
mdzo dzo Term
’dzam gling rgyas bshad Dzamling GyeshéExtensive Explanation of the World Tibetan text title
Extended WyliePhoneticsEnglishSanskritDateType
wāginḍamatibhadrapaṭu bandashāsadharasagara Vagindamatibhadrapatu Bandashasadharasagara Person
Extended WyliePhoneticsEnglishSanskritDateType
zhang ’gro ba’i mgon po g.yu brag pa Zhang Drowé Gönpo Yudrakpa 1123-1193 Person
zhabs rjes zhapjéfootprint Term
zhabs brtan zhaptenritual Term
zhi byed ZhijéPacification Organization
zhing pa zhingpafarmer Term
gzhi bdag zhidaksite-spirit Term
gzhung dgon zhunggönstate monastery Term
gzhung sgo zhunggomain door Term
gzhung pa khang tshan Zhungpa KhangtsenZhungpa Regional House Monastery subunit
Extended WyliePhoneticsEnglishSanskritDateType
zangs dkar ZangkarZangskar Place
zangs mdog dpal ri Zangdok PelriGlorious Copper-Colored Mountain Place
zangs ri Zangri Place
zangs ri mkhar dmar Zangri Karmar Monastery
gzim khang zimkhangresidence Term
gzims khang gong ma Zimkhang GongmaUpper Residence Building
gzungs ’bul zungbülto offer zung [inside of statues] Term
bzod pa rgya mtsho Zöpa Gyatso 1672-1749 Person
Extended WyliePhoneticsEnglishSanskritDateType
’od zer phung po che Özer PungpochéGreat Heap of Light Place
’ol khar ÖlkharÖlkhar Place
Extended WyliePhoneticsEnglishSanskritDateType
yang gam yanggamwealth-box Term
yi dam yidamtutelary deities Term
yig cha yikcha(a monastery’s) ritual texts Term
yul nyer bzhi’i ya rgyal/ de bi ko ṭi dang ming gzhan pha bong kha byang chub shing gi nags khrod du bkod pa’i dkar chag dad ldan padmo rgyas byed gzi sbyin ’od stong ’bar ba’i nor bu Yül Nyerzhi Yagyel/ Debi Koti dang Mingzhen Pabongkha Jangchup Shinggi Naktrödu Kopé Karchak Deden Pemo Gyejé Zijin Ötong Barwé NorbuAn Inventory of [the Institution that,] from among the Four Sites, is Debikoṭi, a.k.a. Pabongkha, Forest of Bodhi Trees: A Jewel Radiating a Thousand Rays, the Resplendent Ripener of the Lotus of the Faithful Tibetan text title
ye shes rgyal mtshan Yeshé Gyeltsen 1713-1793 Person
yongs ’dzin ye shes rgyal mtshan Yongdzin Yeshé Gyeltsen 1713-1793 Person
Extended WyliePhoneticsEnglishSanskritDateType
ra kha brag Rakhadrak Monastery
ra kha brag ri khrod Rakhadrak RitröRakhadrak Hermitage Monastery
ra kha brag a zhu bsod nams Rakhadrak Azhu Sönam b. 17th century Person
ra mo che RamochéGreat Female Goat [Temple] Building
ra sa Rasa Place
rang byon rangjönself-arisen image Term
rab byung rapjungcalendrical cycle Term
rab gsal rapselsun room Term
ri rithe mountain Term
ri khrod ritröhermitage Term
ri khrod pa ritröpahermit Term
ri ’khor rikhormountain circumambulation
ri ’go sgo ma Rigo Goma Place
ri chen gsum Richen SumThree Great Mountains Place
rigs pa’i rgya mstho Rikpé GyatsoOcean of Reasoning Tibetan text title
rigs ’dzin chos kyi rdo rje Rikdzin Chökyi Dorjé b. 1790? Person
rigs gsum mgon po Riksum GönpoThree Protectors Buddha
rigs gsum mgon po lha khang Riksum Gönpo LhakhangTemple of the Three Protectors Building
rin po che rinpoché Term
rus sbal pho rübelpomale turtle Place
rus sbal mo rübelmofemale turtle Place
rwa sgreng Radreng d. 1947 Person
rwa sgreng sku sgreng lnga pa Radreng Kutreng Ngapathe fifth Radreng incarnation d. 1947 Person
rwa sgreng rin po che Radreng Rinpoché d. 1947 Person
Extended WyliePhoneticsEnglishSanskritDateType
lam rim lamrimgraded stages of the path Term
lam rim ’jam dpal zhal lung Lamrim Jampel ZhellungThe Revelations of Mañjuśrī: A Lamrim Tibetan text title
lam rim bde lam Lamrim DelamThe Easy Path: A Lamrim Tibetan text title
las rung lerungenabling retreat Term
li thang Litang Place
lo gsar LosarNew Year Festival
Extended WyliePhoneticsEnglishSanskritDateType
shug pa’i nags bla ri Shukpé Nak LariThe Soul-Mountain of Juniper Forests Place
shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa’i mdo Sherapkyi Paröltu Chinpé DoPerfection of Wisdom Sūtras Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra Tibetan text title
gshin rje’i rang thag Shinjé Rangtakthe Mill of the Shinjé Term
bshes gnyen tshul khrims Shenyen Tsültrim 20th century Person
Extended WyliePhoneticsEnglishSanskritDateType
sa skya Sakya Organization
sa skya pa Sakyapa Organization
sa skya pa bsod nams rgyal mtshan Sakyapa Sönam Gyeltsen Person
sa brtag sataksite investigation Term
sa bdag sadakgeo-spirits Term
sa dpyad sachésite investigations Term
sa pho bya sapojamale-earth-bird (year) Date
sa sbyang sajangpurity of the site Term
sangs rgyas rgya mtsho Sanggyé Gyatso 1653-1705 Person
sad mi mi bdun semi midünthe first seven Tibetan monks Term
sin dhu ra sindura sindhura Term
se ra Sera Monastery
se ra byes grwa tshang Sera Dratsang JéSera Jé College Monastery
se ra sngags pa grwa tshang Sera Ngakpa DratsangSera Tantric College Monastery
se ra chos sdings Sera Chöding Monastery
se ra chos sdings ri khrod Sera Chöding RitröSera Chöding Hermitage Monastery
se ra theg chen khang gsar Sera Tekchen Khangsar Building
se ra theg chen gling Sera Tekchen LingSera Mahāýāna Monastery Monastery
se ra pa ’jam dbyangs grags pa Serapa Jamyang Drakpa b. 17th century Person
se ra spyi so Sera chisoSera as a whole Monastery
se ra phur pa Sera purpaSera dagger Term
se ra byes Sera JéSera Jé (College) Monastery
se ra dbu rtse Sera Utsé Monastery
se ra dbu rtse Sera utséSera peak Term
se ra dbu rtse ri khrod Sera Utsé RitröSera Utsé Hermitage Monastery
se ra smad Sera MéSera Mé (College) Monastery
se ra rtse Sera tséSera peak Term
se ra tshogs chen Sera TsokchenSera Great Assembly Hall Building
se ra’i ri khrod Seré ritröhermitage of Sera Term
se ra’i ri ’khor Seré RikhorSera Mountain Circumambulation Circuit Pilgrimage cycle
seng gdong ma SengdongmaLion-Headed Ḍākinī Buddha
ser smad thos bsam nor gling grwa tshang gi chos ’byung lo rgyus nor bu’i phreng ba Sermé Tösam Norling Dratsanggi Chöjung Logyü Norbü TrengwaA History of the Sermé Tösam Norling College: A Garland of Jewels Tibetan text title
ser smad lo rgyus Sermé LogyüA History of Sermé Tibetan text title
srung ma sungmaprotector deity Term
srog snying soknyinglife-essence Term
srong btsan sgam po Songtsen Gampo 604-650 Person
slob dpon loppönsenior teacher Term
gsag sbyang sakjangaccumulation and purification Term
gsang ba ’dus pa Sangwa DüpaGuhyasamāja Buddha
gsar sarnew Term
gsung byon ma sungjönmaspeaking-statue Term
gser ma hā Ser Maha Buddha
gser yig pa seryikpabearer of the golden letter Term
gso sbyong Sojongmonastic confession ritual Ritual
bsangs gsol dar ’dzugs sangsöl dardzuk(to) make burnt juniper offerings and raise flags Term
Extended WyliePhoneticsEnglishSanskritDateType
ha ha rgod pa’i dur khrod Haha Göpé Durtrö Place
har gdong khang tshan Hamdong KhangtsenHamdong Regional House Monastery subunit
hwa shang Hashang Person
lha mo Lhamo Buddha
lha mo khar Lhamokhar Place
lha mo nyi ma gzhon nu Lhamo Nyima Zhönnu Buddha
lha mo nyi gzhon Lhamo Nyizhön Buddha
lha btsun rin po che Lhaptsün Rinpoché Person
lha btsun rin po che’i bla brang Lhaptsün Rinpoché LabrangLhaptsün Rinpoché’s estate Organization
lha btsun rin po che’i bla brang Lhaptsün Rinpoché Labrangestate of Lhaptsün Rinpoché Organization
lha bzang Lhazang d. 1717 Person
lha bzang khāng Lhazang KhangLhazang Khan d. 1717 Person
lha lung dpal gyi rdo rje Lhalung Pelgyi Dorjé 9th century Person
lha sa Lhasa Place
lha sa’i dgon tho Lhasé GöntoA Catalogue of the Monasteries of Lhasa Tibetan text title
lha sa’i dgon tho rin chen spungs rgyan Lhasé Gönto Rinchen PunggyenA Catalogue of the Monasteries of Lhasa: A Heap of Jewels Tibetan text title
lho pa khang tshan Lhopa KhangtsenLhopa Regional House Monastery subunit
a kha bsod nams bzang po Akha Sönam Zangpo b. 17th century Person
Extended WyliePhoneticsEnglishSanskritDateType
a khu rin po che Akhu Rinpoché 1803-1875 Person
a mdo rdo rje sku ’bum Amdo Dorjé Kumbum Place
a ma amamother Term
oṃ maṇi padme hūṃ om mani peme humoṃ maṇi padme hūṃ Mantra

[1] The account that follows is based on the narrative of the monastery in Sde srid sangs rgyas rgya mtsho, Dga’ ldan chos ’byung bai ḍūrya ser po [Yellow Lapis: A History of the Ganden (School)] (Krung go’i bod kyi shes rig dpe skrun khang, 1991), 144; on the “Pabongkha” entry in Dung dkar blo bzang ’phrin las, Dung dkar tshig mdzod chen mo (Krung go’i bod kyi shes rig dpe skrun khang, 2002), 1313-1316; on a Karchak of the monastery made available to me by Pabongkha monks in 2004; and on material from oral interviews with some of the resident monks conducted in August of 2004.

The title of the Karchak reads Yul nyer bzhi’i ya rgyal/ de bi ko ṭi dang ming gzhan pha bong kha byang chub shing gi nags khrod du bkod pa’i dkar chag dad ldan padmo rgyas byed gzi sbyin ’od stong ’bar ba’i nor bu (hereafter Pha bong kha’i dkar chag). It appears to be an edited version of a text bearing the same name published in Three Khrid on the Nā ro mkha’ spyod Practice (Delhi: Ngawang Sopa, 1976), 454-532. (I have Gene Smith to thank for making a copy of this latter edition available to me.) References to the Dkar chag in this work are to the edition published in Tibet. The publication of the Tibetan edition of the Dkar chag was sponsored by a contemporary abbot (or perhaps now former abbot) of Pabongkha, Jampa Tupten Rinpoché.

In the colophon the author of the Karchak identifies himself as the reincarnation of a Lama of Kongpojo Dzong, the reincarnation of the Lama of Chökhang Tsewa Monastery (Chökhang Tsewa Gönpa); he also identifies himself as belonging to the Mé College (Dratsang Mé) of Sera, but gives his name only in Sanskrit as Wāginḍamatibhadrapaṭu bandashāsadharasagara (sic).

The introductory verse of the Delhi edition bears identifying marks (dots) under certain syllables. (These are missing in the Tibetan edition.) Those marks spell out “Ngawang Lozang Tupten Gyatso Jikdrel Wangchuk Choklé Nampar Gyelwa.” This resembles the name of the eighth Demo incarnation Ngawang Lozang Tupten Jikmé Gyatso (Demo Kutreng Gyépa Ngawang Lozang Tupten Jikmé Gyatso, 1778-1819), tutor of the Ninth Dalai Lama (Dalai Lama Kutreng Gupa, 1806-1815).

The colophon tells us that the work was written between the female-fire-pig (Memopak) and male-earth-bird (Sapoja) years. In the fourteenth calendrical cycle or Rapjung, this corresponds to 1827-1828. The author of the Dkar chag further states that he based his work on a verse text compiled by Khardowa (mkhan thog brgyad pa kha rdo sku thog bzod pa rgya mtsho’am/ blo bzang sgom chung pas bsgrigs pa tshig bcad ma), as well as on the constitution (Chayik) of the monastery written by Tatsak Yeshé Tenpé Gönpo (1760-1810). On Khardo Zöpa Gyatso (1672-1749) see the Introduction to the Hermitages. On Tatsak Yeshé Tenpé Gönpo, see TBRC P302.

Still unavailable, to my knowledge, are: (1) the Karchak of Pabongkha in six folios written by Khardo Zöpa Gyatso, and (2) another Karchak by Khöntön Peljor Lhündrup (1561-1637). The latter is mentioned in Akhu Rinpoché’s (1803-1875) list of rare texts; see Lokesh Chandra, Materials for a History of Tibetan Literature (Kyoto: Rinsen Book Co., 1981, repr. of the 1963 ed.), no. 11012. Bshes gnyen tshul khrims, Lhasé Gönto Rinchen Punggyen [A Catalogue of the Monasteries of Lhasa: A Heap of Jewels; hereafter Lha sa’i dgon tho] (Bod ljongs mi dmangs dpe skrun khang, 2001), 15, quotes Khöntön’s Karchak, implying, perhaps, that he had the text at his disposal; he gives the date of composition of the work as 1619.

Sde srid sangs rgyas rgya mtsho’s account of Pabongkha in the Baidurya Serpo, 144, is fascinating because it links the flourishing of Tibet to the flourishing of Pabongkha; and vice versa, it links political problems in Tibet with the decline of Pabongkha. Mention of Pabongkha is also found in Turrell Wylie, The Geography of Tibet According to the ’Dzam-gling-rgyas-bshad (Rome: IsMEO, 1962), 83 and 159 n. 400; and Alfonsa Ferrari, Luciano Petech and Hugh Richardson, Mk’yen brtse’s Guide to the Holy Places of Central Tibet (Rome: IsMEO, 1958), 42, 101-102 n. 86, and plates 6 and 7.

[2] Shenyen Tsültrim, Lhasé Gönto, 15, gives the date of Pabongkha’s founding as “around 643” but cites no source for this.
[3] As with many monasteries, these include both exoteric and Tantric ritual practices that take place on the eighth, tenth, fifteenth, twenty-fifth, and twenty-eighth of the lunar month. Pabongkha monks also do special rituals for important lamas in the tradition every Wednesday.
[4] Pabongkhé Karchak, 15b-16a; the author of this text, 57b, gives the Tibetan translation of this as Lhamokhar.
[5] For an account of other features of the surrounding landscape and various kinds self-arisen images found at or near the site, many of which are said to date to the time that Songtsen Gampo and his two queens lived at the Pabongkha, see Pabongkhé Karchak, 22af and 29bf. This section of the text also contains a description of the special qualities of the plants and wildlife in the area.
[6] This statue has been variously identified by different sources and informants as Avalokiteśvara, Śākyamuni in his kingly or jowo form, Amitāyus and Amitābha. Pabongkhé Karchak, 28a, states that the image is of Amitābha. The same text (26b-27a) also cites The Compendium on the Maṇi [Mantra] (Mani Kabum) concerning the tradition that an image emerged from a stone as Songtsen Gampo was gestating in his mother’s womb. A believer would see this as proof of the authenticity of the image housed at Pabongkha. A skeptic would see in this an attempt to read events of classical Tibetan mythography into the artistic landscape of Pabongkha.
[7] The cult of the Three Protectors at Pabongkha goes back at least to the seventeenth century. For example, in a vision that he had when he was forty-three years old, the Fifth Dalai Lama (Dalai Lama Kutreng Ngapa) is told by Avalokiteśvara that “In Central Tibet, people must recite the six-syllable mantra (ngak) 100,000,000 times and in Pabongkha the ritual method of realization (druptap) of the three divinities, namely Avalokiteśvara, Mañjuśrī, and Vajrapāṇi must be established”; Samten Gyeltsen Karmay, The Secret Visions of the Fifth Dalai Lama: The Gold Manuscript in the Fournier Collection (London: Serindia Publications, 1988), 44.
[8] One might image two quite different etymologies of the word “Pabongkha.” The word might be (1) a corruption of pabongkhang, “The house (on) the Boulder”; or (2) a more euphonious form of the word pabongpa, “The Man from the (Site of) the Boulder.” In the first instance, it is the architecture that gives the site its name. In the second instance, it is the first inhabitant.
[9] The following account is based principally on Dungkar Tsikdzö [Dungkar Dictionary], but see also the version found in Pabongkhé Karchak, 20bf, which varies insignificantly.
[10] The legend and symbolism of the supine demoness has been discussed by Janet Gyatso in Down with the Demoness: Reflection on a Feminine Ground in Tibet, in Janice Willis, ed., Feminine Ground: Essays on Women and Tibet (Ithaca: Snow Lion, 1987).
[11] The original name of Lha sa was Rasa, that is, “Goat Earth.” There are many legends related to goats in Lhasa – from the Great Female Goat [Temple] (Ramoché) to the statue of the goat inside the Jokhang itself.
[12] Pabongkhé Karchak, 21b: sa bdag gser ma hā gser gyi rus sbal gyi dbyibs.
[13] Such a turtle is mentioned in other historical works. For example, the The Clear Mirror: A Royal History (Gyelrap Selwé Melong) states that “in the north at Pabongkha in Nyangdren there is a black turtle”; Sakyapa Sönam Gyeltsen, The Clear Mirror: A Traditional Account of Tibet’s Golden Age, transl. by McComas Taylor and Lama Choedak Yuthok (Ithaca: Snow Lion, 1996), 165. On the relationship of turtle spirits to divination, see R. A. Stein, Tibetan Civilization (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1972), 209-210.
[14] Lhasé Gönto, 15, quotes Khöntön’s karchak to the effect that Maru Castle was built by Songtsen Gampo “when he was fifteen years old in the female-water-hare (chumo yö) year,” and that he began meditating there when he was twenty-one years old.
[15] Songtsen Gampo’s act of meditating inside the Female Turtle might of course be seen as an act of penetration of Tibet’s natural spirits, a subjugation of the indigenous spirits of Tibet through an act akin to rape.
[16] This goddess, who presumably as the same deity later known as Penden Lhamo, came to be considered the protector deity of Tibet. After the rise of the Ganden Palace (Ganden Podrang – the government of the Dalai Lamas) the cult of Penden Lhamo became incorporated into the rituals of the state. Pabongkhé Karchak, 31a, states that this cave is the actual palace (podrang ngö) of the deity.
[17] Pabongkhé Karchak, 22a.
[18] Pabongkhé Karchak, 32b-33a.
[19] The account that follows is principally based on that found in Dungkar Dictionary (Dungkar Tsikdzö). The account in Pabongkhé Karchak, 19bf, on the site’s relationship to Tönmi and to the founding of the Tibetan written language, varies only slightly from the one given here.
[20] Lhasé Gönto, 15, cites the Fifth Dalai Lama’s The Nāga Song of the Queen of Springtime (Chikyi Gyelmo Luyang) as the source for this tradition.
[21] Pabongkhé Karchak, 20a, states that therefore “(Pabongkha) appears to be the site in Lhasa known as the ‘Moon Cliff,’ which is said to be where the first Tibetan letters were engraved.”
[22] In this narrative the Female Turtle takes the place of the supine demoness spoken of in the myths of the founding of the Jokhang.
[23] There is a certain anachronism here, given that (at least in some versions of the history of the site) the stūpas are said to have been built by the early Kadampa masters who lived at the site, and who predate Tsongkhapa by several centuries.
[24] Lhasé Gönto, 15: “from the time (of Songtsen Gampo) up to the ordination of the seven original monks, about one hundred tantrikas with long locks of hair lived continuously at the site.”
[25] The claim is made not only in Dungkar Dictionary (Dungkar Tsikdzö), but also in Pabongkhé Karchak, 33a-b.
[26] This is according to the oral account of one of the Pabongkha monks. According to the Pabongkhé Karchak, 34b, Pel Lhamo intervened by calling for Lhalung Pelgyi Dorjé, the monk who assassinated Langdarma.
[27] The only cave that exists at Pabongkha today is Songtsen Gampo’s cave located inside the Female Turtle Boulder. And in fact Pabongkhé Karchak, 31a, confirms that it is this cave that is called the “Temple of the Tenth Day” (Tsechu Lhakhang). The cave apparently got its name from the fact that members of Trisong Detsen’s inner circle used to perform rituals inside the cave on the tenth day of the lunar month. Since the monastery is in a fairly flat area, it is difficult to imagine that there was any other cave at the hermitage itself in the past. However, Pabongkhé Karchak, 30f, lists many caves. These, one assumes, are located in the hills above Pabongkha.
[28] Literally, “the eight great sons who received the oral instruction”; also called the “eight great ones who were named to receive the oral instructions” (Kabap Mingchen Gyé).
[29] The Fifth Dalai Lama, in fact, does not mention Potowa Rinchen Sel at all, and credits the re-founding of Pabongkha to Geshé Drakkarwa; see Ṅag-dBaṅ Blo-bZaṅ rGya-mTSHo, Fifth Dalai Lama, A History of Tibet, trans. by Zahiruddin Ahmad (Bloomington: Indiana University Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies, 1995), 84.
[30] Lhasé Gönto, 16, mentions a certain “Geshé Pabongkha” (Geshé Pabongkhar drakpa) as having been responsible for increasing the size of the monastery to 400 monks after Geshé Drakkarwa’s tenure.
[31] The tradition says that hundred and eight stūpas were built. But it also claims that each stūpa contained one bead from Tsongkhapa’s rosary. This, of course, would be impossible if they were built during the Kadampa period, since Tsongkhapa was not born until more than 200 years after this time.
[32] Pabongkhé Karchak, 44b. It is unclear which (if any) of the present buildings this might be.
[33] Pabongkhé Karchak, 44b: rab byung gnyug mar gnas pa’i ja tshul thebs/ snye thang bkra shis gling/ gzhis ka dud ’dzin bcu/ lag ’bab khal drug brgya/ nyang bran ka ma can dud gsum dang/ lag ’bab la khal drug cu skor bstsal/.
[34] Perhaps TBRC P939 or P3188?
[35] Perhaps TBRC P162?
[36] Among the more interesting and important images or religious objects mentioned in Pabongkhé Karchak, 47bf, are the following: a set of sixteen arhat statues made by Potowa Rinchen Sel himself, a tooth relic of the Buddha Dipaṃkara, stone statues of Avalokiteśvara and of the protector trakshé blessed by virtue of the deities’ dissolving into them, the self-arisen stone statue that emerged as Songtsen Gampo was gestating in his mother’s womb, the statue of Khöntön Peljor Lhündrup commissioned by the Fifth Dalai Lama as well as the his highly ornamented funerary stūpa that contained his actual body, a silver funerary stūpa and statue of Jamyang Drakpa, a one-story statue of the Buddha made in part from the gold extracted by King Mewön from “Gold Cave,” a speaking statue of Cakrasaṃvara (Demchok) that conversed with the Dalai Lama Kelzang Gyatso (1708-1757) while he was doing the retreat of this deity; the self-arisen stone images of the Three Protectors (mentioned above); Tönmi’s “oṃ maṇi padme hūṃ” stone, statues of Tsongkhapa in the five-visions-forms, a volume of the dhāraṇī that dates to the Sakya period. This, of course, is only a sampling of the more important artifacts; there were many other images and religious objects beside those mentioned here. Most of the images in the hermitage were lost or destroyed after 1959.

Pabongkha Hermitage (Pabongkha Ritrö)
Collection Sera Hermitages
Visibility Public - accessible to all site users
Author José Ignacio Cabezón
Year published 2006
Language English
UID mandala-texts-16286
Rights Copyright © 2006 by José Ignacio Cabezón and THL