It is a Bon religion monastery with full name of “Rela Yungdrung Ling Monastery”
It is located in Rela Township of Nanmuling County which is about 90 km from Shigatse City, with an altitude of 3750 meters.
The monastery is surrounded by trees, with a pleasant climate and a quiet environment.
It is the largest and most influential Bon monastery in Tibet, which was built in the 7th century AD during the reign of the Tubo king Songtsan Gampo and was destroyed in the 8th century AD. Then after, the monastery was rebuilt in 1834 AD under the auspices of the Bon monk Jamgon Lawa Gyeltsen with the consent of the 10th Dalai Lama, the 8th Panchen Lama and Tibet Regent
It was listed as a national key protected temple in 1959. At that time, there were 1 assembly hall, 5 Lhakhang, 7 Kingstan, and more than 500 monks
The position of Yungdrung Ling Monastery in Bon religion is very significant, and the “Khenpo” (Abbot) of the Bon monasteries in Tibet and other Tibetan areas are all appointed by this monastery.
Thousands of men and women from all over the Tibetan region will gather here to learn scriptures as scheduled when the large-scale annual lectures and practice activities are held in this monastery.
The monastery faces north, Yarlung Tsanpo River is near from its south, and the China-Nepal Highway is just across Yarlung Tsanpo River
Dazhuka Ferry is not far from the monastery, through which the road leading to northern Tibet and Qinghai (Admo) passes and extends to the north.
Looking across the river on the China-Nepal Highway, the red halls of Yungdrung Ling Monastery are vividly visible, which is very eye-catching. In the middle of the red halls, inlaid with yellow labrang (living Buddha palace) and white monk residence. The entire buildings are located on the mountain, and it is scattered in a well-ordered manner. From the appearance, it can not be told that it is different from monasteries of other sects of Tibetan Buddhism.
The north of the monastery is close to the Verajesang Mountain. “Verajesang” is one of the thirteen Dharma protectors. He is entrenched in this mountain to protect the Dharma, so the mountain is named after it. And there are several red mani piles and meditation caves dotted on the mountainside of Virajasan Mountain; There is a huge rock on the mountain wall near the monastery, which is also covered with red paint, because the monks and the people believe that the rock is the residence of the Dharma protector of Virajasang, they are dedicated to offering sacrifices every year.
Tradition of doing business
There has always been a tradition of monks going out to do business in Yungdrung Ling Monastery. There are two purposes: one is to raise funds for the temple to solve the source of life for some monks; Seek to survive and develop in the competition with many Tibetan Buddhism sects, and then inherit and carry forward the ancient religion of Bon.
The monks of Yungdrung Ling Monastery went to Gyantse, Shigatse, Lhasa, and northern Tibet to engage in trade, and even went to Sikkim and India to sell Tibetan agricultural and livestock products, and brought foreign industrial products back to Tibet. Therefore, although there are not many Bon believers in the local area, and the local people donate very little to this monastery, the economic strength of Yungdrung Ling Monastery is second only to the Tashilhunpo Monastery of Gelug Pa of Tibetan Buddhism.
Building structure and layout
With the Dukang Hall as the center, the monastery consists of seven “Kangtsan” (the grass-roots organization of the monastery, usually composed of forty or fifty monks), plus the surrounding halls, and gate porches. There are 118 large columns, all of which were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution, and the existing buildings were gradually restored after 1982.
Dukang Hall is the main building and the main place for religious activities in Yungdrung Ling Monastery. It is a square hall with an original area of eight pillars each in length and width (one pillar is about 10 square meters), that is, sixty-four pillars. In addition to the scripture hall, Buddhist hall, Tibetan scripture hall, and instrument library around Dukang hall, the entire building covers an area of more than 800 square meters and is divided into upper and lower floors.
On the east and west sides of the Dukang Hall, there are two halls for Tibetan scriptures, which are “Ganggyu Lakang (Ganggyur Hall)” and “Tangyu Lakang (Tangyur Hall)”, respectively collecting “Ganggyur” and “Tangyur”.
The front of the Dukang Hall is the assembly hall. There is a Buddhist hall in front of the assembly hall. The original area of the Buddhist hall is 29 pillars (about 80 square meters).
The main Buddha statues enshrined in the Buddhist Hall are: the 8-meter-high Gelug pa Tara Qiangma (ie “Dolma”) in bronze and gilt, the Tantric deity Mahavira, and the 12-meter-high Bon ancestry Dunba·Shenrab Miwo (Victory Buddha) bronze gilt statue; Nyame·Sherab Gyaltsan, founder of Manri Gonpa; and Jamgon·Lawa Gyeltsen, founder of Yungdrung Ling Monastery.
There were originally a pair of pure gold lanterns weighing 2 kilograms each, as well as five spirit-pagoda made of gold, silver and copper, in which there are the dharma bodies of the renpoche the past dynasties of the monastery.
Starting from Dukang Hall, going up the stairs, there is a circular corridor. The east, south, west and north of the corridor are: the monk’s “practice room”, the “inner library” for preserving the instruments, and the “Buddha Hall” for worshipping Buddha statues. , The “Printing Room” for collecting scriptures.
On the east side of Yungdrung Ling Monastery is “Tongtro Lhakang” (“Tong” means “seeing”, “Tro” means “liberation”; “Tongtro” means “seeing can be liberated”), covering an area of 80 square meters. There were originally five spiritual pagodas in the hall, but unfortunately all of them were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution in 20th century.
However, tThe largest one of the 5 pagodas, Jamgon·Lawa Gyeltsen Pagoda, has been restored. The copper pagoda is 5 meters high and inlaid with 2 kilograms of gold. There are also a pair of silver lamps and a mandala in the hall, each of them were made of 70 silver dollars. The hall has also newly painted murals on the walls. In the center of the murals is a portrait of Jamgon·Lawa Gyeltsen, surrounded by four portraits of the founder of Bon religion, Dunba·Shenrab Miwo. The relics of Jamgon·Lawa Gyeltsen are preserved in the newly restored Tongtro Lhakang and the Pagoda of Jamgon·Lawa Gyeltsen.
On the north side of Yungdrung Ling Monastery, there is a “La Rang (Labzhang)” where Khenpo lives, covering an area of 90 square meters. There are several thangkas of Dunba·Shenrab Miwo and Tantric deity hanging in the room, and there is also a special Khenpo (abbot) seat inside
On the northwest side of Yungdrung Ling Monastery, there is “Dzokang” (practicing hall), which covers an area of 40 square meters. In the hall, there is a statue of the Dharma protector, and also a small copper-plated gilded pagoda of Jamgon·Lawa Gyeltsen, in which it is said that the hands, feet of Jamgon·Lawa Gyeltsen and the instruments he used were treasured
The daily religious activities of Yungdrung Ling Monastery include offering sacrifices to Buddhas, deities, exorcising ghosts, meditation, and lecturing on scriptures, but the most important thing is the oral defense of teachings and academics of Bon religion
Every year in the Tibetan calendar from January 7th to 15th, April, May 29 and August, there are defense activities, and the “Dzong Rang ba” degree is obtained through the oral defense.