Menri Monastery

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Menri Monastery is located in China
Menri Monastery
Location within people's Republic of China
Basic information
Location Namling County, Tibet Autonomous Region
Geographic coordinates 29°30′32″N 89°32′06″E / 29.509°N 89.535°E / 29.509; 89.535Coordinates: 29°30′32″N 89°32′06″E / 29.509°N 89.535°E / 29.509; 89.535
Affiliation Bon
Architectural description
Founder Nyammey Sherab Gyeltsen
Menri Monastery
Tibetan name
Tibetan སྨན་རི་

Menri Monastery (Tibetan: སྨན་རི་Wylie: sman ri — "medicine mountain") is the name of a Bon monastery in Tibet, which has been refounded in India. The name derives from the medicinal plants and medicinal springs on the mountain.[1] Menri became the leading Bon monastery in the Tibetan cultural region. The abbot of Menri is recognized as the spiritual leader of Bon.


Menri Monastery was established in 1405 by Nyammey Sherab Gyeltsen (mnyam med shes rab rgyal mtshan, 1356–1416) from Gyarong (Gyelrong), on the slope of Mt Shari Phowa (shar ri pho ba) in Tobgyel (thob rgyal), Tsang.[2] Nyammey Sherab Gyeltsen had been the eighteenth abbot of an old monastery also called Menri. The first Menri founded in 1072 as Yayru Ensaka Monastery (or Yeru Wensaka, Wylie: g.Yas-ru dBen-sa-kha dGon-pa), was destroyed by a flood in 1386.[1][3] The old monastery had been located at a place called Yaruwensakha, located near today's Topgyal and Shigatse.

The new Menri Monastery established in 1405 was founded in the Bru lineage of Bon and the Yaruwensakha tradition.[4] "Many of the monks who succeeded him [Nyammey Sherab Gyeltsen] were also from Gyarong."[3] The monastery practiced Yungdrung Bon, and was known "for its strict practice of monastic rules, which set a standard for other Bon monasteries."[3]

Rinchen Gyeltsen became the second abbot. The monastery had 32 abbots between its founding and 1966. The administration of the monastery is the subject of an article by Per Kvaerne.[3]

Sanggye Tendzin (1912-1978) served as lobpon (slob dpon), or master scholar at Menri, and "was also in charge of printing important works of Dzogchen."[5]

Menri Monastery had four colleges: Lingmey (gLing-smad), Lingto (gLing-stod), Lingkey (gLing-ske) and Lingzur (gLing-zur). The colleges had twelve divisions and all together, in 1959, between 400 and 500 monks. Menri had 250 branch monasteries, in all areas of Tibet except U, as well as in India, China, Bhutan, Sikkim, Nepal, and Mongolia.[1]

In 1947, Menri itself established a debating college. Although Ensaka had the debate tradition study of sutra, tantra, and dzogchen, Menri was only able to institute it for sutra. The monastery carried out a full calendar of tantric rituals and practice.[1]

The administration of the monastery is the subject of an article by Per Kvaerne.[3]

Menri was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution.

Menri Monastery, Dolanji, Himachal Pradesh, India[edit]

In 1967, Menri was re-founded at Dolanji in Himachal Pradesh, India by Lungtok Tenpai Nyima and Lopon Tenzin Namdak. This monastery has recreated the geshe training program, and is home to over two hundred monks. Menri in India and Triten Norbutse Monastery in Nepal now host the only two geshe programs in the Bon lineage.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Berzin, Alexander (1991). "A Brief History of Menri Monastery". The Berzin Archives. Retrieved 2010-02-04. 
  2. ^ Achard, Jean-Luc (March 2010). "Nyamme Sherab Gyeltsen". The Treasury of Lives: Biographies of Himalayan Religious Masters. Retrieved 2013-10-08. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Gray Tuttle; Kurtis R. Schaeffer (13 August 2013). The Tibetan History Reader. Columbia University Press. pp. 469–. ISBN 978-0-231-51354-8. 
  4. ^ Andrew N. Woznicki (2006). Transcendent Mystery in Man: A Global Approach to Ecumenism. Academica Press,LLC. pp. 60–. ISBN 978-1-933146-15-7. 
  5. ^ Achard, Jean-Luc (March 2010). "Sanggye Tendzin". The Treasury of Lives: Biographies of Himalayan Religious Masters. Retrieved 2013-10-08. 

External links[edit]