Palpung Monastery

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Palpung Monastery
Palpung in Tibet.jpg
Tibetan transcription(s)
Tibetan དཔལ་སྤུངས།
Wylie transliteration dpal spungs
Palpung Monastery is located in Sichuan
Palpung Monastery
Palpung Monastery
Location within Sichuan
Coordinates 31°38′54″N 98°47′45″E / 31.64833°N 98.79583°E / 31.64833; 98.79583
Monastery information
Location Babang, Dêgê County, Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan, China
Founded by 8th Tai Situ
Founded 1727
Date renovated Protected 1958. Reopened as monastery in 1982
Type Tibetan Buddhist
Sect Kagyu
Lineage Tai Situpa

Palpung Monastery (Tibetan: དཔལ་སྤུངས།Wylie: dpal spungs dgom pa[1]) is the name of the congregation of monasteries and centers of the Tai Situpa lineage of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism as well as the name of the Tai Situ's monastic seat in Derge, Kham (modern Sichuan). Palpung means "glorious union of study and practice". It originated in the 12th century and wielded considerable religious and political influence over the centuries.[2]

The current monastery is said to have been founded in 1727[3][4][5] by King Denba Tsering. It is the seat of four lines of incarnate lamas, the best-known being the Tai Situpa[6] as well as the Jamgon Kongtrul and the Second Beru Khyentse. The temple has historically been associated with the Karmapas: for instance, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, 16th Karmapa, was enthroned first at Palpung before traveling to his main seat at Tsurphu Monastery in Ü-Tsang.

The 16th Tai Situpa, Pema Tönyö Nyinje, has established a new monastic seat in exile at Sherabling Monastery (Wylie: shes rab gling[7]).

There are an estimated 800 monks residing in the monastery itself and a larger number resident in the surrounding region.


Palpung Monastery is the historical seat of the successive incarnations of the Tai Situ in Kham. It is also the mother monastery of the Karma Kagyu in Kham and evolved into the center of the Rimé movement. The seat in exile, outside of Tibet, Sherabling Monastery, is in India. The congregation has monasteries and centers around the world.

Palpung in Tibet[edit]

Palpung Monastery is characterized by a number of rock paintings and shrines.

Palpung Monastery is a gompa in Dêgê County, Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in western Sichuan. It has historically always been associated with the Karmapas such as the 16th Karmapa being enthroned first at Palpung before traveling to his main seat at Tsurphu Monastery in Ü-Tsang. The Karmapas and Tai Situpas have been connected closely over time, alternating as master and disciple.

Palpung originated in the 12th century and wielded considerable religious influence over the centuries.[2] Palpung Monastery was founded by the 8th Tai Situ in 1727 and developed into one of the most prestigious centers in Tibetan history.[8]

The monastery once hosted more than 1000 monks and had one of the most leading monastic universities of the area. It is the seat of various lines of incarnate lamas, the best known being the Tai Situ[6] and the Jamgon Kongtrul.

Palpung was known for its huge library with more than 324,000 texts and an art collection of more than 10,150 thangkas. It was also leading in the fields of spiritual painting and the Situ Rinpoche is the founder of Karma Gadri painting style. At the time of the 11th Tai Situ Rinpoche, Palpung was already famous for it spiritual, studious and artistic excellence and authority.

The monastery was destroyed in the late 1950s during the Cultural Revolution. It is currently still under construction. In 1998-1999 it was added to the list of worldwide endangered list of monuments[9]

Palpung in India[edit]

Sherap Monastery in Himachal Pradesh, North India.

Pema Tönyö Nyinje, the 12th Tai Situ, fled from Kham to Bhutan and then India at the age of six, where he consequently received his formal traditional training under Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, 16th Karmapa. At the age of 22 he started to set up his seat in exile, Palpung Sherap Monastery, in Himachal Pradesh, North India.

Sherabling Monastery currently has approximately 750 monks; 250 are enrolled in the monastic university curriculum on the premises. It also offers the traditional Kagyu three-year retreat for both monks and nuns on the compound.

Palpung Congregation[edit]

The Palpung congregation[10] consists of more than 180 monasteries and temples throughout some Chinese and Tibetan districts and has branch institutions in Europe, USA, Oceania and Asia. Its European Seat is Palpung Yeshe Chökhor Ling Europe, Palpung Europe[11] which was established and is under the direction of Chöje Lama Palmo.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "dpal spungs dgom pa". Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center. Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center. Retrieved 21 May 2015. 
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ "Palpung Centre History". Retrieved 11 November 2010. 
  4. ^ "Tibet Travel Guide". Retrieved 11 November 2010. 
  5. ^ "Kagyu Lineage". Retrieved 11 November 2010. 
  6. ^ a b
  7. ^ "shes rab gling". Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center. TBRC. Retrieved 21 May 2015. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ Asian Art:Worlds Monuments Watch
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Palpung Europe"

External links[edit]