The full name of Tengchen Monastery is Dza·Tengchen Monastery, which belongs to Bon Religion and was built in 587 AD.
Tengchen Monastery is located on an open ground at the bottom of a valley surrounded by three mountains. The monastery complex includes the main hall, guardian hall, storage room, monk’s house, etc.
At present, the entire monastery covers an area of 13,300 square meters, and the actual construction area is 1966 square meters, of which the main hall is 751 square meters.
Due to the conflict between the monks of Tengchen Monasterye and the monks of Gelug Pa during the “Tibetan Buddhism and Bon Conflict Period”, most of the monastery’s building were destroyed. Now the scale of the building is not as grand and magnificent as before.
As an ancient and primitive Buddhism in Tibetan areas, Bon religion has existed in Dege area as early as the Sui and Tang Dynasties. It was still the only religion in Dege area until the 7th century;
Until the 16th century, Tengchen Monastery developed extremely prosperously, and belonged to the Beri Tusi (chieftain) of Garze, who exalted the Bon religion.
At the end of the Ming Dynasty and the beginning of the Qing Dynasty, the Qinghai Mongolian Heshuote tribe and the Dege chieftain formed a military alliance to wipe out the armed forces of the Garze Beri Tusi(chieftain)
Tengchen Monastery was merged and brought under the control of Dege Chieftain and His Holiness. Since then, the Dege chieftains of all dynasties have pursued a more flexible religious policy that gives support to all sects of different religion
Tengchen Monastery was preserved and developed. It accepted monks in accordance with the regulations of Dege Chieftain and participated in the local civil dispute judgments. At the same time, Tengchen Monastery also operated commerce and usury, and served the political and religious rule of Dege chieftain at the time in a religiously specific form.
In the Qing Dynasty, Tengchen Monastery and the Gelug Temple had a long-term disharmony. Due to the competition for the source of monks and the scope of the temple’s activities, they had armed battles with the Gengsha Monastery many times.
In the middle of the 19th century, Tengchen Monastery was jointly attacked by monk-soldiers from Gengsha and Dakye monasteries. Monks were driven to death and most of the Tengchen’s buildings were destroyed. It was not until many years later that religious activities gradually resumed.
Before the Qing Dynasty, it did not have living Buddhas. In the early Qing Dynasty, living Buddhas were set up in the same way as other sects of Tibetan Buddhism.
It claims to have the right to teach Bonpo lamas, and the power to confer the highest degree of local monks, “Dzong rab jo“. And it set up two Benpo schools, “Lodza” and “Hredza”, which accommodated Benpo monks from Sichuan, Qinghai, Tibet and other places. The degree assessment is held once a year
After 1950, Tengchen Monastery evolved into the largest and highest Bon religious power in Kham
In 1950, there were 300 monks in it, including 1 living Buddha, 1 Khenpo, 11 lamas, 50 Koba households, more than 300 acres of arable land, and nearly 1,000 livestock.
After 1983, Tengchen Monastery carried out normal religious activities under the leadership of the monastery management committee and gradually developed a self-supporting economy.
In 1988, there were 70 monks in it, including 1 living Buddha.
In traditional terms, the Tengchen Monastery in Dege is called Dza·Tengchen Monastery
The one in Dengqen County is called “Kyungpo·Tengchen Monastery“, which “Kyungpo” is the traditional place name where the monastery is located.