Ri Bo Rtse Lnga

Tibetan Texts > Specific Tibetan Text Studies > Deb Ther Sngon Po (blue Annals) > Reference Resources - The Blue Annals > Place Names Cited in Blue Annals > Place Names ra-la-sha-sa-ha-a > ri bo rtse lnga

Riwo Tsenga (རི་བོ་རྩེ་ལྔ་)

by Christopher Bell

General information

NameRiwo Tsenga (རི་བོ་རྩེ་ལྔ་)
Transliteration formri bo rtse lnga
PronunciationRiwo Tsenga
Source of informationDung dkar blo bzang 'phrin las. 2002. Dung dkar tshig mdzod chen mo. Beijing: Krung go’i bod rig pa dpe skrun khang.
Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center #G3187
external link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wutaishan
external link: Tibetan Buddhism at Ri bo rtse lnga/Wutai shan in Modern Times by Gray Tuttle
Spatial LocationLatitude: 39.32°, Longitude: 113.25°
ProvinceShanxi (山西)
DistrictDatong (大同市)
Cultural locationNorthern China
Location's languageMandarin; Jin dialect
Blue Annals References(184, 220, 227, 336, 381, 492, 598, 669, 679, 783, 846, 898, 911). The references to Riwo Tsenga in the Blue Annals mainly concern its significance as an important pilgrimage site. Many Tibetan practitioners travel to Riwo Tsenga to gain spiritual attainments, most notably Padampa Sanggyé (pha dam pa sangs rgyas; 11th century)―in this case an Indian, his disciple Zhama Gyelle (zha ma rgyal le), the Third Karmapa Rangjung Dorjé (rang byung rdo rje; 1284-1339), Tsangpa Yeshé Dorjé (gtsang pa ye shes rdo rje; 1161-1211), and Jamyang Gönpo ('jam dbyangs mgon po; b. 1196), a disciple of Loré Wangchuk Tsöndrü (lo ras dbang phyug brtson 'grus; 1187-1250).

Historical Summary

Riwo Tsenga (Ch. Wutaisha), as the name suggests, is a mountain of five peaks that is an historically important pilgrimage site. As the abode of the Bodhisattva Mañjuśrī, several Tibetan and Chinese religious centers have been established on and around Riwo Tsenga. Many famous Tibetan masters have traveled to Riwo Tsenga and have enhanced their spiritual practice there, such as the Sixth Dalai Lama Tsangyang Gyamtso and Jamchen Chöjé Śākya Yeshé, Tsongkhapa's representative before the Chinese emperor. In The Blue Annals, this famous pilgrimage site makes the occasional appearance as a place for retreat and spiritual attainment in the details of the lives of various religious figures.

Translation from Dung dkar tshig mdzod chen mo

In Lord Atīśa’s hagiography, Lhasa is called “Glorious Lhasa, the Dharma Center.” Accordingly, when Lord Atīśa arrived in Tibet, it This mountain is called “Wutaishan” (五台山) in Chinese. In Tibetan it’s called “Riwo Tsenga” as well as “Riwo Dangsil.” Not only is a great and famous mountain that is nationally renown (it’s northeast of Wutai district in Shanxi province [山西省五台县]), but Buddhists asserts that it is the actual abode of the venerable [bodhisattva] Mañjuśrī, and Gelukpas assert that after Lord Tsongkhapa passed into parinirvana, an emanation [of his] actually lived at that place. The reason this mountain is called "Five Peaks" is because it is 2896 meters above sea level, and the foundation of the mountain is divided into five peaks, the central mountain of which is like a crouching lion. The eastern mountain is like a crouching elephant. The southern mountain is like an excellent horse sleeping. The western mountain is like a dancing peacock. The northern mountain is like two cymbals combined. In the crevices between those [peaks], there are many ancient ruins, such as caves, temples, monasteries, and stūpas. In that mountain chain, there are more than 360 ancient monasteries. I have listened to the speeches of the monks of that region, and as soon as the contents of a small book exhibited by the Shanxi Province Museum were released, it clarified that there were 97 monasteries [at Wutaishan] according to the Chinese Buddhist tradition and 23 monasteries according to the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Now (in the year 1990) there are five or six monasteries where Tibetan and Mongolian monks live, such as a monastic collection in the westerly area, in which there are also about 40 monasteries, as well as the Changkya settlement. In the historical records there is clarification concerning the time when Jamchen Chöjé Śākya Yeshé [byams chen chos rje shā kya ye shes; 1354-1435] went to the [Chinese] emperor’s palace as the representative of the supreme lord Tsongkhapa; he built six monasteries at Mount Dangsil and then he disseminated the initial teachings of the Gelukpa there. Furthermore, numerous great and holy beings, such as the Sixth Dalai Lama Tsangyang Gyamtso [tshangs dbyangs rgya mtsho; 1683-1706/1746] and Changkya Rölpé Dorjé [lcang skya rol pa’i rdo rje; 1717-1786], went to that place and practiced sādhanas over a long period of time. Now one can also visit such practice houses. Regarding detailed histories of that place, there are the “Catalogue of Tsenga,” written by the abbot of Riwo Tsenga, Penden Drakpa [dpal ldan grags pa], and the “Catalogue of Riwo Dangsil,” written by Changkya Rölpé Dorjé. [Its history] is also clarified in the “Catalogue of Riwo Tsenga,” which was collected by the great Mongolian translator Gönpo Kyap [mgon po skyabs]. (Dung dkar 2002, p.1898-1899)