Chimphu (mchims Phu)

Tibetan Renaissance Seminar > Structured Monastery Entry > Chimphu


Contributor(s): Chelsea Hall, Luke Wagner.

General information

Periodlate 8th century until present
Transliteration form'chims phu, 'chims phu bsam yas
Etymologyupper part of the Chim ravine
Locationabout 8 km northeast of Samyé
Provincethe present administrative region of Dranang (gra nang)
Cultural locationLhokha (Lho kha) and Yarlung (Yar lung)
Location's languageTibetan
Location descriptionA meditative hermitage site near Samyé. The complex is a series of meditation caves and huts with several hundred monks and nuns in retreat.
Blue Annals References40; 44; 110; 173; 174; 194; 260; 261; 277; 492; 811; 1070

Historical Summary

While the Blue Annals does not provide an exact date for the foundation of the Chimphu hermitage, it was established sometime during the reign of King Trisong Detsen (khri srong lde btsan, 755-797) following the foundation of Samyé monastery. Chimphu is referred to throughout the Blue Annals as a place visited by important figures and used by them as a place of retreat. It is well-known for having been the one of the sites of Guru Rinpoché's (Padmasambhava's) meditation, and there are many caves which also served as meditation sites for other famous figures in Tibetan history. Among the major figures are Atīśa, Śakyaśrībhadra, the great translator Sönam Gyatso (bsod nams rgya mtsho), and the Third Karmapa Rangjung Dorjé (rang byung rdo rje). Furthermore, Chimphu frequently appears in association with terma and the transmission of secret teachings. For example, it is reported that Zhang Trashi Dorjé (zhang bkra shis rdo rje) discovered teachings hidden by "Vimala himself" at Chimphu (R 194) and it is mentioned that Atīśa bestowed on Drom ('brom) many "hidden precepts" (R 261) there.

Some Passages from the Blue Annals

  • R 40 - In a later period, a minister of khri lde gtsug brtan discovered an inscribed copper plate in a rocky ravine at ‘chims phu, on which were inscribed the words of king srong btsan: "My nephew bearing my name with the addition of the word "Ide", will spread the Doctrine of the Buddha". khri lde gtsug brtan thinking that "this Ide must be me", built several vihāras, including that of brag dmar mgrin bzangs. He invited (Buddhist) priests who had been expelled from li yul (Khotan), and many Buddhist monks (ho-shang) from China. Though the king honoured the Doctrine, the Tibetans did not accept ordination.
  • R 44 - From the Hare year (yos lo, 787 A.D.) till the Sheep year (lug lo, 791 A.D.), the king built the vihāra, together with its branch temples , and the wall. When the king was propitiating the yi dam Hayagrīva, there resounded a loud neighing which filled almost the entire Jambudvīpa. At first the "Seven Men on Probation" (sad mi mi bdun) took up ordination. During the king's reign twelve great monastic colleges were established, as far as khams. Meditative monasteries (sgom grwa) were established at yer pa and ‘chims phu.
  • R 194 - He (zhang bkra shis rdo rje) discovered the hidden teachings, hidden by lce btsun at jal gyi phu, and by Vimala himself in the rock of 'chims phu. He taught (them) extensively to men.
  • R 260 - The Master (Atisa) spent six months for the sake of his health at 'chims phu.
  • R 261 - While staying at bsam yas, the Master (Atisa) bestowed on 'brom at 'chims phu numerous methods (thabs) concerning Tantric ceremonies, the Dohā (Saraha's) and many other hidden precepts. 'brom's chief purpose was to expel persons of immoral (F:9b) conduct who were conducting themselves according to the word of the Tantra, from the class held by the Master. Therefore he pretended not to have studied secret texts.
  • R 1070 - The mahā-paṇḍita (the great Kashmirian paṇḍita Śakyaśrībhadra) was then invited to bsam yas by lha zhi ba 'od. He journeyed to bsam yas and 'chims¬ phu. There he met dbon ston rin chen sgang pa.


the Blue Annals

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