Chuwori (chu Bo Ri)

Tibetan Renaissance Seminar > Structured Monastery Entry > Chuwori


Contributor(s): Chelsea Hall, Luke Wagner.

General information

Namechu bo ri
EtymologyGreat Water Mountain/ River Mountain
Sectarian affiliationunclear, although Vinaya, Abhidharma, Mahāmudrā and Chö are referenced.
Source of informationBlue Annals
Locationoutside Lhasa
Cultural locationnear Lhasa
Location's languageTibetan
Blue Annals References63, 295, 479, 864, 876, 990

Historical Summary

In the context of the Blue Annals, students are frequently instructed by their teachers to go to the meditative monastery (sgom grwa) Chuwori to do meditation retreats. It is also the site of an important event for the transmission of the Vinaya precepts and the maintenance of the monastic ordination lineage. From Chuwori the smuggling of the Vinaya and Abhidharma was accomplished by three monks (Marwan Śākyamuni of Gyortö, Gyogéjung of Drangchungdo, and Tsang Rabsel of Gyarabpa) of this monastery, from Central Tibet where the teachings at that time were said to be under persecution, to Eastern Tibet, from whence they would eventually re-emerge. The Karmapa Düsum Khyenpa also spent time in meditation at this retreat. In one passage of the Blue Annals (R 864) the practice of Mahāmudrā is mentioned, including the practice of secret observances (gsań spyod). Chö (gcod) is also taught by masters residing at Chuwori. Teachers at this site included Drikhu Dongpa (gri khu gdong pa), Tsangpa Rinpoche (gtsang pa rin po che), Naripa (mna' ris pa), and Gyanak Cherwu (rgya nag gcaer bu).

Passage from The Blue Annals

  • (R:63) (C:89) At the time of the persecution of the Doctrine by dar ma 'u dum btsan, three monks of the meditative monastery (sgom grwa) of dpal C:bo ri — dmar ban Śākyamuni of gyor stod, gyo dge 'byung of drang chung mdo, and gtsangs rab gsal of rgya rab pa, having taken with themselves necessary books on the Vinaya ('dul ba) and the Abhidharma (mngon pa), such as the karmaśataka and other texts, at first fled towards Western Tibet (stod phyogs). Hiding by day, and travelling by night, they reached mnga 'ris. Unable to remain there, they continued their flight towards the country of Hor (hor gyi yul) by the northern route. There they stayed with a certain Hor upāsaka called Śākya shes rab (Śākyajñāna), who helped them. Then they proceeded to sro gu lung in Amdo (mdo smad).
  • R 295 - Then on being told that there was a great famine in Nepāl, he (Tsangpa Rinpoche) turned back and proceeded to skyi shod (lha sa). Though scholars used to speak disparagingly about the bka’ gdams pas, he thought that these bka’ gdams pas must also possess a complete (295) Doctrine of their own. He was surrounded by kalyāṇa mitras, such as lang pa ston shAk and others, and used to hold philosophical debates but none were able to defeat him, and he became known as "One possessed of a hot Doctrine" . One of his uncles promised him to provide him with the necessary provisions and he thought: "Since he will give me (provisions), I shall practise meditation at yer pa and chu bo ri."
  • R 479 - Then the Teacher told him: "You (Dusum Khyenpa) (R:479) should meditate at skam po gnas nang. Great benefit for living beings will arise". After that he spent some time at C:bo ri (near lha sa) and gru bzhi ma.
  • R 864 - On seeing the painting (thań ka) representing the Spiritual Lineage (of the mahāmudrā doctrine), he inquired: "Have you faith in it?" "Yes, I have", gru śul ba replied. "Do you know their precepts?" “I don't know", gru śul replied. "Well, I have them", and saying so mna' ris pa bestowed on him the complete precepts during eighteen days. gru śul ba presented to him five "žo" of gold "la thub" (a sort of gold), and mna ris pa said: “I do not need it," and did not accept it. mna' ris pa said: “Next year you should come to C:bo ri on a certain date". Then having fixed the date, mNa' ris pa departed. When the time came for him to return, gru śul ba went to C:bo ri, and discovered that the Teacher had reached there five days earlier. (F:12a) He (gru śul ba) spent there one month and practiced secret bservances (gsań spyod), and nobody knew where he went, and where he died.
  • R 875-876 - His great "sons" were: dol pa dbang rgyal and shes rab me chung, called the "Two jo sras spun of stod." (R:876) zhang ston jo spu and the bla ma slob chung ba were called the "Two brothers of gnyags tsha" in smad. His Lineage was continued by smyon chung of rgya in the Middle Region (bar). The latter was born in Lower rgyal (rgya smad) in C:bo ri khra snga. His name was rgya tsha 'bar. At the age of 24, he met gri khu gdong pa, who had come to C:bo ri to meditate, and became his disciple. rgya smyon taught the doctrine of this Lineage. Three ḍākinīs introduced him to his own Mind, and an understanding, which did not differ from experience, was produced in his Mind. He was given the name of smyon pa don ldan. He taught (the Doctrine) to ri khrod pa.
  • R 990 - His disciple rgya nag gcaer bu: he was a native of khrasna. On the whole, he studied extensively the (exposition) of the Doctrine. During his exposition of the doctrine of gcod at the monastery of yar kluns skya'o, dol pa zan thal came there and listened (to his exposition), but only confusion arose. Later he discovered that dol pa zan thal was more learned (than himself), and said: “I used to sell whey in the country of curds . Now, pray give me all of yours!” Then he obtained the complete Cycle of gcod of ma gcig. He used to visit places infested with dangers and performed gcod rites at the spring (zhu mig) of sbal 'dra of Yar klungs. Though struck thrice by lightning, it did not harm, and he was freed from his illness. He subdued with the help of the gcod rite the Black 'ba' ra . In later life he labored for the welfare of others at cahu bo ri. At the age of seventy, he said: “When one wishes to merge one's own mind into the Absolute, one should do it in this manner,” saying so, a light having emerged suddenly from the crown of his head, he passed out. His disciple was saňs rgyas rab ston, a native of bzan phu brag dmar. He possessed an extensive knowledge of all the Tantras of the “New” and “Old” classes. Later he obtained from rgya nag gcer bu the hidden precepts of ma gcig. Having given up life in his thought, he used to visit hermitages only, and passed away at the age of eighty.