Solnak Thanpöché

Tibetan Renaissance Seminar > Participants > Carrie Frederick Frost

Solnak Thanpöché Monastery

Name: Solnak Thanpöché

Wylie: sol nag thang po che

Sectarian Affiliation: Kadampa

Location: Ü, southwest of Lhasa in the Yarlung Valley

Nation: China

Province: Tibetan Autonomous Region

Cultural Location: Central Tibet

Location’s Language: Tibetan

Location Description: Solnak Thanpöché is located in Ü, southwest of Lhasa near the Yarlung Valley. Solnak Thanpöché is east of the valley not far from Bairo Puk in Chongye County.

Date Founded: 1017

Founder: Drumer

Blue Annals References: {Roerich} 75, 76, 88, 93, 94, 257, 404, 1055, 1058, 1062, 1070

Historical Summary

The eleventh century was a time of rapid monastery building for the Kadampa sect. It’s estimated that by the middle of the century, 3-4 dozen monasteries has been built, without a break in stride. Like most of the great Kadampa monasteries founded in 11th century Tibet, Solnak Thanpöché was established in the Eastern Vinaya lineage.

Solnak Thanpöché was established in the Yarlung Valley of Ü in 1017 by Drumer and his cohort. Drumer was a disciple of Lumé who is considered to be the greatest representative of the hierarchical Eastern Vinaya tradition. Lumé died on his way to Solnak Thanpöché. He and Drumer were both interred in the Great Stupa at Solnak Thanpöché. In Chapter 2 of the Blue Annals, it is reported that “some eight monks belonging to the school of the kalyana Grumer and others, after requesting Lumé in person, built Solnak Thanpöché (Sol nap Than po che),” {R 75} and it’s later noted that Solnak Thanpöché became known for its philosophical (rather than tantric) teachings.

Solnak Thanpöché shares the reputation of a great early scholastic center in Tibetan Buddhism with other Kadampa monasteries, including Nyétang and Sangpu Néütok.

Solnak Thanpöché has several illustrious visitors. Atiśa resided at Solnak Thanpöché for one month during his Tibetan travels. Atiśa was invited to the monastery by the Kadampa spiritual giant Tsondru Yungdrung (1011-75). Also Chapter 15 of the Blue Annals notes that the Buddhist chronology was established by Sakya Pandita while he was staying at Solnak Thanpöché in 1207.

Solnak Thanpöché was absorbed into the Gelukpa sect after Tsongkapa’s visit in the 14th century and is still an active Gelukpa community.


external link: TBRC

Blue Annals, Roerich Translation

Ronald Davison’s Tibetan Renaissance

Dorje, Gyurme. external link: Tibet Handbook. Footprint Travel Guides, 1999.

Michael Kapstein’s The Tibetans