Tsupu Monastery

On August 25, 2011, in Lhasa, Monasteries, Temples, Tibet, by Jack Li

Tsupu Monastery, at an altitude of 4300 meters, is located at the upstream of Tsupu River in the northwest of Duilong Deqing County, which is 60 kilometers to the west of Lhasa. It is about 70 kilometers away from the west countryside of Lhasa, Tibet and it is the main shvine of Gema Geju Sect, belonging to Bai Sect, with a history of 800 years. The famous reincarnation system of Tibetan Buddhism that attracts worldwide attention is originated here and later spread by other religious sects of Tibet.

The monastery, sitting on the north and facing the south, is constructed by the first highclerist Dorje Chang in 1189. Once during the vipassana meditation, Dorje Chang realized that Tsupu Monastery was the mandala of Cakrasamvara and anyone who came here would be blessed by Cakrasamvara. After the Cultural Revolution, Tsupu Monastery is reconstructed. There is first Living Buddha of big sect committed by China government, so the monastery develops very fast. Now there are 400 Lama in the monastery.

The large-scale buildings of Tsupu Monastery, centering on the basilica, include scripture hall, chapel, trade khangsar, Buddhism College, private residence for Living Buddhism and monk’s residence. The other buildings are still under reconstruction. There are numerous precious cultural relics. The stele of Jiangpu Monastery in the basilica of Tsupu Monastery is 2.5 meters tall and 0.5 meter wide. The ancient Tibetan carved on the stele is of great historical value to study politics, economy and religion of Tubo. The silver statue built by the eighth Karmapa to worship his guru is the most valuable in the monastery. It is said that the silver statue float in the sky for seven days after accomplishment, so here comes the saying “Buddha in Living in the Sky”. Tsupu Laqian (big Buddha) is six meters high, built by second Karmapa.

Near Tsupu Monastery, there is a spring with clear and sweet water in it, which is formed by Karmapa sticking his crutch to the ground with magical power. Apart from this, the stone statue of Maqia Karmapa, the alms bowl used by Milari Monk and cap used by Dusong Ruanba Monk are all priceless. There are a series of famous sites on the Ji Qinbo Mountain which embraces Tsupu Monastery, such as Zhodo Tidro Hermitage, Retreatant Temple, Biguan Caves of generations of Karmapa and the word “mantra” left by the seventeenth Karmapa on the stone.

Tsupu Monastery Story

  1. The Meaning of Tsupu

There are many explanations of Tsupu, among which there are two clear and standard ones. One has that Tsupu Monastery means Flying Monastery. It is said Tsupu Monastery flies from India. This version is similar to the Flying Peak in Hangzhou, which are both the deified by local residence. Another version in the book Spectacle on Tibetan Culture has that the founder of Tsupu Monastery passed here and considered it as a good place, so he built the monastery and named it “Tsupu” which means “prosperity”. The third version is that long time ago, the Living Buddha of Bon Religion casted spell to hide his incantation underground, which later became the “terma” of Bon Religion. Later the terma exuded into ravines, so here comes the name “Tsupu” meaning “exuding into ravines”.

Jack Li

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