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Tibetan name
Tibetan script :
སྨན་ རི
Wylie transliteration :
sman ri
Pronunciation in IPA :
[ mɛ̃ri ]
Official transcription of the PRCh :
THDL transcription :
Other spellings:
Chinese name
Traditional :
曼 日 寺
Simplified :
曼 日 寺
Pinyin :
Mànrì Sì

Menri ( Tibetan སམན་ རི་ Wylie sman ri , 'medicine mountain ') the main monastery of the Bön school, is located in Namling County in the city of Xigazê in the Tibet Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China . It is located in central Tibet in a side valley of the Yarlung Zangbo ( Brahmaputra ) a little above the Gungchu tributary, roughly in the middle between the city of Lhasa and the district of Samzhubzê . A variety of medicinal plants and healing springs can be found in the surrounding mountains, hence the name "Medicine Mountain" Menri.


The founding of this most important Bön monastery in central Tibet goes back to the year 1072 when the Bön monastery Ensakha , which housed a famous school of Bön disputation art , was founded. In 1386 this was destroyed by floods and a little further away from the watercourse by Abbot Nyammed Sherab Gyeltshen (1356-1415) under the name Menri 1405 rebuilt. As traditionally the most important monastery of the Bön school, the respective abbot of Menri was also a kind of spiritual head of the Bön. In 1959, during the occupation of Tibet by Red Chinese troops, the monastery was completely destroyed and the monks fled to India, including the then 32nd Abbot of Menri, Shenrab Lodro (1935–1963).

One of the leaders of the Menri monastery school, Lopön Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche (also known as "Lopön Rinpoche" in the West ), fled to the impassable north of Tsang Province, from where he tried to get to India in 1960. He was wounded and taken prisoner in the process, but after ten months in prison he was able to emigrate to Nepal and in 1967, with the support of the Christian Relief Service, build a new monastery in the Tibetan settlement of Dolanji near the city of Solan (North India) under the name Menri.

The 33rd Abbot of Menri, who has ruled since 1969, Lungtok Tenpai Nyima Rinpoche , presides over a community of around 350 Bon monks. In 1978 a college ( Yungdrung Bon Shedrup Lopnyer Dude ) for Bon Lamas was established, which awards the degree of Geshe (comparable to a doctor of theology ) in a nine-year course .

In the meantime, the original Menri Monastery has also been partially rebuilt after the destruction in 1959 and the devastation during the Cultural Revolution . Currently around 50 monks live in the monastery complex (before 1959 around 400–500 monks). At that time, the Menri Monastery was subordinate to around 250 secondary monasteries, which were almost completely destroyed in 1959. Only in the nearby Yungdrung Ling Monastery is there a larger monastic community again.


In the three-story main building of the monastery there is the dukhang, the central assembly room, on the first floor, and the monastery library on the second. In the sanctuary of the Dukhang, the relics made of gilded copper - the stupa of the rebuilder of the monastery, Shenrab Gyeltshen, which is flanked by relic stupas of two other important abbots - Sönam Lodrö and Thadräl Sögyel - is particularly worth seeing. There is also a "speaking statue" of Tazi Künzang, which is said to have been brought here from paradise.

The Gönkhang (temple of the protective deities of the monastery) on the side is dominated by a representation of Takla Mebar (stag la me 'bar), a protective deity of Bon. In addition, the abbot's three-story residence and a building for the philosophical faculty of the monastery university were repaired.

The monastery is on the list of monuments of the Tibet Autonomous Region .


  • Karl-Heinz Everding: Tibet. Art - travel guide Lamaistic monastery culture, nomadic ways of life and everyday rural life on the roof of the world. 4th edition. DuMont Art Guide, 2007, p. 221 f.

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Coordinates: 29 ° 30 ′ 32.4 ″  N , 89 ° 32 ′ 6 ″  E