Tsal Gungtang monastery, (near) Lhasa, Xizang, CN

Raw data

"The Tshalpa Kagyu was established by Zhang Yudrakpa Tsöndru Drak (zhang g.yu brag pa brtson 'gru brags pa) (1123–1193) or Lama Zhang who founded the monastery of Tsal Gungtang (tshal gung thang). Lama Zhang was a disciple of Gampopa's nephew Dagpo Gomtsul (dwags sgom tshul khrims snying po) (1116–1169)." - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kagyu

Tsal Gungtang monastery is some distance S of Lhasa, past the Drip village, about 7 miles up the Kyi Chu Valley, close to the Rukhak Zhiba village, on the way to the Mindruk Tsari mountain peak (5470 m) (McCue 2010:79) [http://books.google.com.au/books?id=Tm9M3fSS-w0C&pg=PA79&lpg=PA79]
NOTE: these directions appear to be misleading. The Tsal Gungtang monastery is indeed about 7 milese upstream of the KyiChu river, but East (not South) of Lhasa - tmciolek, 11 Mar 2013

"It was very likely because of fears of renewed fighting from the north that Zhang located his new monastery of Tsal Gungtang (tshal gung thang) just a short distance north of Lhasa on the opposite side of the Kyichu River. Founded in 1175, it may still be visited today, although it is under reconstruction. […] At the time of his death in 1193, […], Lama Zhang was in the process of building a very large stupa. Since its lower parts had already been completed, it was made first into a cremation platform, and later into a reliquary to enshrine his bodily remains." http://dev.treasuryoflives.org/biographies/view/Zhang-Yudrakpa-Tsondru-Drakpa/3182
Input by: tmciolek, Dec 29, 2012

“Gung-thang Dkar-chag […] Tshal Gung-thang was founded by Zhang G.yu-brag-pa (1123-1193) in the year 1187. The nearby Tshal Yang-dgon monastery he had already founded in 1175 (the Yang-dgon is still locatable in a village on the opposite side of the highway, closer to the Skyid-chu River). Zhang was himself important to Tibetan history because it was arguably he who set the precedent for sectarian (as distinguished from royalist) polity, which became the predominating form of government in Tibet down until the 1950's. He was also the founder of the Tshal-pa branch of the Bka'-brgyud-pa school of Tibetan Buddhism. This guidebook […] contains detailed listings of the then-existing objects (statues, wall paintings, chortens, etc.) in the various chambers of this monastery, which can still be visited today, just off the main highway, upstream from Lhasa (an easy and pleasant half-hour bicycle ride from downtown). It has been undergoing gradual but major restoration work, evidently largely funded by the donations of local inhabitants. The famous huge central Buddha image built by Lama Zhang and his immediate disciples was mostly destroyed in the Great Fire of 1546 or 1547, but parts of it were enshrined in its replacement. It was being reconstructed once more when I visited in 1995. ”

“Date founded 1175 (Tsel constructed), 1187 (Gungtang constructed). Founder Yudrakpa Tsöndrü Drakpa (g.yu brag pa brtson 'grus grags pa, 1123-1193), commonly known as Lama Zhang (bla ma zhang) […]
Tsel Guntang was the product of the powerful twelfth century religious figure Lama Zhang, aka Yudrakpa Tsöndrü Drakpa (1123-1193). As noted by Davidson, it was actually constructed in two phases, with the construction of Tsel monastery carried out first in 1175 followed by the adjacent monastic complex of Gungtang in 1187 (Davidson 2005:329). It then became the seat of the Tselpa Kagyü branch (taking its name from the monastery which had taken its name from the locality of Tselpa) of the Dakpo Kagyü, Lama Zhang having been a disciple of Gampopa Dakpo Lhajé. [ E. Gene Smith, Among Tibetan Texts (Boston: Wisdom, 2001)]” - https://collab.itc.virginia.edu/wiki/renaissanceold/'tshal%20gung%20thang.html

Input by: tmciolek, Mar 11, 2013

Final data (and their sources)

Last updated: 11 Mar 2013

Lat/Long coordinates' accuracy:
The monastery in question is assumed to be situated actually no farther than 200m from the point defined by the coordinates below.

Location of Tsal Gungtang monastery, CN.

General location of the Tsal Gungtang monastery, CN.
Lat 29.63971 Long 91.22432
Mapping & images: Falling Rain Genomics (http://www.fallingrain.com), 2012.

Google Map link:


Final data - explanatory notes

1. Monastery's name

  • Tsal Guthang monastery - Tsal Guthang monastery

2. Monastery's modern country & province

  • China:Xizang Zizhiqu

3. Monastery's alternative/historical names

4. Monastery's lat/long coordinates

  • Approx. Lat 29.63971 Long 91.22432 - based on possible visual identification of the Caigongtang temple site in maps/satellite imagery, maps.google.com - tmciolek, 11 Mar 2013.

5. Other known nearby Buddhist monasteries

6. Modern name of the known nearest city, town, or village

7. The settlement's alternative/historical names

8. The settlement's coordinates

9. Monastery's major Buddhist tradition

10. Monastery's Buddhist sub-tradition

11. Date-early

  • MBM chrono-tag 1167-99c - tmciolek 29 Dec 2012
  • 1167-99c 1200=> dated-el

12. Date-intermediate

  • [missing data]

13. Date-late

  • The monastery is still in existence - McCue (2010:79)
  • MBM chrono-tag 1200=> - tmciolek 29 Dec 2012

14. Details of contacts with other monasteries

  • [missing data]

15. Type of evidence regarding the monastery

  • [missing data]

16. Additional notes

17. Corrections & addenda to this page were kindly provided by

  • [missing data]

18. Available Printed Literature

  • [bibliographical details of the Book/Article 1]
  • [bibliographical details of the Book/Article 2]
  • [bibliographical details of the Book/Article 3]

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