Kundeling Monastery

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Kundeling Monastery
Silver seal of the Jedruong Hutuktu.jpg
Silver seal of the Jedruong Hutuktu [རྗེ་དྲུང་ཧུ་ཐོག་ཐུ་], an attendant to the Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama who lived at the Kunde Ling Monastery. Inscriptions in the Tibetan and Manchu scripts. Qing dynasty.
Tibetan transcription(s)
Tibetan ཀུན་ བདེ་ གླིང
Wylie transliteration kun bde gling
Chinese transcription(s)
Simplified 功德林
Pinyin Gōngdé lín
Kundeling Monastery is located in China
Kundeling Monastery
Kundeling Monastery
Location within China
Coordinates: 29°39′23″N 91°06′22″E / 29.6565075°N 91.1062317°E / 29.6565075; 91.1062317Coordinates: 29°39′23″N 91°06′22″E / 29.6565075°N 91.1062317°E / 29.6565075; 91.1062317
Monastery information
Location Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region, China
Founded by Choedrub Dewal Doungen Rinpoche
Type Tibetan Buddhist

Kundeling Monastery is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region, China. It was founded around 1794, and follows the Gelug school. The head of the monastery belongs to a lineage of incarnations that dates back to 1402. There is dispute over the current incarnation. The monastery was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution, then rebuilt in the 1980s.


Kunde Ling means "peaceful and happy" in the Tibetan language.[1] The original Kunde Ling Monastery was built in 1794, one of four royal temples in Lhasa.[a][b][4] It is thought to have been the successor to the Yangs-pa-can, or Yangs-can, monastery founded in 1490 and destroyed in 1792.[4] Construction was ordered by Fu Kang’an, the general who repelled the Ghurkas and recovered lost areas of Tibet that year.[1] The monastery was built outside the city walls of Lhasa on the road leading west.[2] It followed the Gelug school.[5]

Kun-bde gling is known for owning the printing blocks for the religio-historical work called The Blue Annals (Deb-ther sngon-po), written in 1478. It also owned blocks for various other works.[6] By 1830 the monastery owned extensive estates acquired by imperial grants, donations or purchase from the local peasants. These provided income to support the monastery.[7]

Kundeling was destroyed in the early 1960s during the Cultural Revolution, A much smaller Kundeling monastery was built slightly to the west of the former location in the 1980s.[2] Monasteries are important tourist attractions in Lhasa. In 2011 the government had allocated about US $3 million for restoration of the building's fabric, including repairs to the roof, walls, courtyard and drains.[8] That year the monastery was listed as a key protected cultural site.[1]


The monastery is at the foot of the Bar-ma ri (Parma Ri) mountain, below the Ges-ar Temple, which it owned.[9] It is near Beijing Middle Road. Two restored chapels are open to visitors. On an upper level there is a mural of the original temple, which was mostly destroyed.[3] In 2011 it was reported that there were forty-two monks, of whom ten were teenagers or in their early twenties. This was down from eighty in the 1990s. The young monks undertake most of the work of cleaning, cooking and minor repairs. Their life is austere, with no modern conveniences.[8]

Tatsag lineage[edit]

The proprietors of the monastery, who hold the title rTa-tshag rje-drung ho-thog-thu, or sometimes rTa-tshag rje-drung rin-po-che, are considered to be incarnations. The first member of the Tatsag lineage was Baso Chokyi Gyaltsen (Wylie Ba-so Chos-kyi rgyal-mtshan; 1402–73). The eighth incarnation, Yeshe Lobsang Tenpai Gonpo (1760–1810), was granted ownership of the monastery. Proprietors of the monastery since then have been:[10]

8. rTa-tshag (III) Ba-so rje-drung qutuqtu Ye-shes blo-bzang bstan-pa'i mgon-po alias Yi-hsi luo-sang tan-pei kung-pu (1760–1810)
9. rTa-tshag (IV) Ngag-dbang blo-bzang bstan-pa'i rgyal-mtshan alias Luo-pu-sang tan-pei chien-ts'an (1811–48)
10. rTa-tshag (V) Ngag-dbang dpal-ldan chos-kyi rgyal-mtshan alias A-wang pan-tien ch'u-chi chien-ts'an (1850/1854–86)
11. rTa-tshag (VI) Ngag-dbang thub-ldan skal-bzang sgron-me (1888–1918)
12. rTa-tshag (VII) Blo-bzang thub-bstan 'jigs-med rgyal-mtshan (1924–56)

The eighth and tenth members of this lineage served as regents of Tibet (1789–90, 1791–1811, 1875–86). The thirteenth member of the lineage as recognized by the Dalai Lama was rTa-tshag (VIII) bsTan-'dzin chos-kyi rgyal-mtshan, born about 1958. He fled to India in 1959. A parallel incarnation is recognized in Lhasa, rTa-tshag (VIII) Blo-bzang ye-shes.[10]


  1. ^ The four royal monasteries were Kun-bde gling, bsTan-rgyas gling, Tshe-mchog gling and mTsho-smon gling.[2] The 5th Dalai Lama (1617–82) appointed the four temples (ling), and the regents of Tibet were usually chosen from their members.[3] bsTan-rgyas gling was destroyed in the 1910s. Tshe-mchog gling and mTsho-smon gling survived the political upheavals of the 20th century relatively intact.[2]
  2. ^ A stele and most recent sources say the monastery was founded in 1794, although some sources give 1792 as the date. The earliest reference to it dates from 1796.[4]
  1. ^ a b c Li 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d Karsten 2000, p. 0.
  3. ^ a b Kunde Ling, Lonely Planet.
  4. ^ a b c Karsten 2000, p. 2.
  5. ^ Chapman 1937.
  6. ^ Karsten 2000, p. Appendix I.
  7. ^ Karsten 2000, p. 3.31.
  8. ^ a b Peng Yining & Dachiong 2011.
  9. ^ Karsten 2000, p. 2.1.
  10. ^ a b Karsten 2000, p. 3.1.