Shouling Monastery, originally named Gaden Rabten Namgyaling, meaning “Satisfying Eternal Blessings Monastery,” and later renamed Hor Draggo Monastery, or Draggo Monastery, it eventually became known as Shouling Monastery. The word “ling” in Tibetan means to wish for longevity and peace.
Shouling Monastery is one of the “Thirteen Monasteries of Hor” and is situated on the mountainside of Xindu Town, on the north bank of the Xianshui River in Luhuo County.
Established around 850 AD as Nyingma Pa and later converted to Bon, it became a Gelug monastery in 1650 AD under the leadership of Hor Qiuje Ngawang Pengtso. In 1783 AD, the monastery began hosting the “Winter Great Puja,” and around 1817, it established a system for studying scriptures and training monks.
According to the monastery’s records, its largest period of expansion was in 1651 AD, during the Qing Dynasty, when it covered an area of 10,000 square meters with over 500 rooms and 13 scripture halls, overseeing 4 Dratsang and 17 branch monasteries.
The monastery is comprised of three levels and is built into the mountainside, with the main buildings being the central scripture hall which can accommodate over 2000 monks for chanting. The exterior walls of the scripture hall are adorned with murals depicting the local chieftain families of Luhuo.
Shouling Monastery has been destroyed by earthquakes several times throughout its history and has been relocated three times since its original construction. After being damaged by an earthquake in 1973, it was relocated to a site two kilometers north of the county seat, between Ransu Hill and Sedelong.
It was approved for reopening by the local government in 1982.
Reconstruction began in 1983, and by September 1988, the reconstruction was completed. In 1995, a gold-plated bronze Buddha was brought back from India.
The monastery now covers an area of over 14,000 square meters and includes a three-story Great Buddha Hall, a two-story Auspicious Hall, 277 monk rooms, and accommodations for 246 resident monks.
It oversees 10 monasteries and 12 Dratsang and is one of the main religious centers in Luhuo County.
The main hall houses a 3-meter-tall silver statue of Shakyamuni Buddha, crafted by skilled artisans of the 5th Dalai Lama. The monastery also houses many precious scriptures, thangkas, and lifelike murals.
The monastery hosts various Buddhist activities, including the “Monlam,” “Genrou,” “Qiongchi,” “Gongre,” and “Gadeng Anque” ceremonies. The largest of these is the ” Monlam” ceremony, held annually from the 8th to the 20th day of the 1st month of the Tibetan calendar. This event attracts thousands of people and has a significant impact on the local religious community.