Tibetan Sacred Space Research Guide: Mountains and Mountain Monasteries

Potala Palace

Anne Chayet, “The Potala, Symbol of the Power of the Dalai Lamas,” in Lhasa in the Seventeenth Century: The Capital of the Dalai Lamas, edited by Françoise Pommaret (Leiden: Brill, 2003), 39-52.

Klong-chen-pa Dri-med-ʼod-zer, and Herbert V. Guenther (trans). 1989. A visionary journey: the story of the Wildwood delights and the story of the Mount Potala delights. Boston: Shambhala. Selections.

Peter Zarrow (trans.), “Qianlong’s Inscription on the Founding of the Temple of the Happiness and Longevity of Mt. Sumeru (Xumifushou miao),” in Millward, James A., Ruth W. Dunnell, Mark C. Elliott, and Philippe Forêt. 2006. New Qing imperial history the making of Inner Asian empire at Qing Chengde. London : RoutledgeCurzon. pp 185-188.

Patricia Berger, Empire of Emptiness: Buddhist Art and Political Authority in Qing China 
(Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2003), 14-23, 177-82.

Peter Bishop, “Reading the Potala,” in Sacred Spaces and Powerful Places in Tibetan 
Culture, ed. Toni Huber (Dharamsala: Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, 1999), 367- 85.

Gangs ljongs gnas mchog : pho brang Po-ta-la. Beijing : Zhongguo lü you chu ban she, 1996.  In Tibetan and English.

Mount Kailash (See also "Mountains" and "Lakes" below)

Toni Huber and Tsepak Rigzin (trans.), “A Tibetan Guide for Pilgrimage to Ti-se (Mount Kailash) and mTsho Ma-pham (Lake Manasarovar),” in Sacred Spaces and Powerful Places in Tibetan Culture, ed. Toni Huber, 125-51. 

Alex McKay,  Kailas histories : renunciate traditions and the construction of Himalayan sacred geography.

Gaṅs ti seʾi dkar cʾag : a Bon-po story of the sacred mountain Ti-se and the Blue Lake Ma-paṇ.

Bon po account in Tibetan manuscript from 19th century, translated into English (excerpts) with commentary. In English, excerpts translated from Tibetan.

The autobiography of Dkar-ru Grub-dbaṅ Bstan-ʾdzin-rin-chen (Dpal Sña chen rig ʾdzin mchog gi rnam sprul Baiʾu Ldoṅ btsun Grub paʾi dbaṅ phyug Bstan ʾdzin rin chen rgyal mtshan Bde chen sñiṅ po can gyi rnam par thar pa rmad ʾbyung yon tan yid bźin nor buʾi gter)

Autobiography by the author of the above dkar-chag of Tise. This Bonpo Lamaist religious leader was active in northwestern Nepal during the first half of the 19th century.

Two Tibetan guide books to Ti se and La phyi  (Guide book to Mount Kailash) In English and Tibetan.  **Translation of traditional text.

Spirit-mediums, sacred mountains, and related Bon textual traditions in upper Tibet [electronic resource] : calling down the gods

Gtsaṅ ma Źaṅ źuṅ gi Bon khod gsaṅ ba drag chen gyi sgrub pa las tshogs bcas kyi gsuṅ pod : a collection of texts from the rediscoveries of Dpon-gsas Khyuṅ-rgod-rtsal concerned with the Bonpo deities of the Ge-khod cycle and their propitiation (1973)

Rituals for the propitiation of the Ge-khod deities, protectors of Bon, believed to reside on Mt. Kailas in western Tibet. In Tibetan, preface in English

Snelling, John. The sacred mountain : travellers and pilgrims at Mount Kailas in western Tibet, and the great universal symbol of the sacred mountain. 241 pages, with illustrations.

Hamsa, Bhagwan, 1878- , The holy mountain, Mansarovar and the Mount Kailas : being the story of a pilgrimage to Lake Mānas and of initiation on Mount Kailās in Tibet.

Translated from the Marathi by Shri Purohit Swami ; with an introduction by W.B. Yeats. Delhi, India : Indian Bibliographies Bureau : Balajienteprises, 1985 (originally published, 1934). 202 pages. In English. Use for comparative purposes?


Central Tibet (Other)

Civilization at the foot of Mount Sham-po : the royal house of LHa Bug-pa-can and the history of g.Ya'-bzang ; historical texts from the monastery of g.Ya'-bzang in Yar-stod (Central Tibet). Wien : Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 2000. Includes facsimile of Tibetan manuscript. In English, translated from Tibetan.

The seed of faith : the history of the sacred inner relics of Dingri Langkor in the upper mountain-pass region of Tibet

Tsa-riʾi gnas yig dad gsum ʾdren paʾi shing rta = Guidebook of Buddhist pilgrimage place to Mount Tsari in Tibet.

Includes a translated traditional account: "Brug Dkar Brgyud-paʾi gdan sa ʾOg-min Thub-bstan-gsaṅ-sngags-chos-gling gi byung ba mdo tsam brjod of Bzod-pa-rgya-mtsho." In Tibetan; prefatory matter also in Chinese and English.

Zangs mdog dpal riʼi lo rgyus. -- re: Nyintri, Central Tibet

Brief history of the Tibetan Buddhist temple Zangs mdog dpal riʾi pho brang (a.k.a. The Palace of the Copper-Colored Mountain), located in Nying-khri (a.k.a. Nyingtri ; Linzhi Diqu) in southeastern Tibet and its reconstruction starting in 1982. The piligrimage site is associated with Padmasambhava and the Nyingma sect, in particular with Bdud-ʾjoms (Dudjom) Rinpoche.  In Tibetan and Chinese(?)  BQ6331.L33 M57 1998

* Mt. Everest from Tibet & Nepal : with details of approach & climbing routes

Round Kangchenjunga : a narrative of mountain travel and exploration

Kailash and Guge : land of the tantric mountain

Western Tibet

Huber, Toni. The cult of Pure Crystal Mountain : popular pilgrimage and visionary landscape in southeast Tibet. (New York and Oxford: Oxford UP, 1999). [place: La stod, western]

* Shel dkar chos 'byung = History of the "white crystal" : religion and politics of southern La stod / Ngag dbang skal ldan rgya mtsho ; translation and facsimile edition of the Tibetan text by Pasang Wangdu and Hildegard Diemberger in cooperation with Guntram Hazod. In English, translated from traditional Tibetan source.

Eastern Tibet

"A Bonpo Pilgrimage Guide to Amnye Machen Mountain", Lungta. 8, 20-24. 

Awang Jimed. " Understanding Tibetan attitudes toward sacred natural sites in the Gato Jowo (Sga stod jo bo) sacred mountains, in the Sanjiangyuan National Nature Reserve."  In Mapping Amdo : dynamics of change, ed. by Jarmila Ptáčková and Adrian Zenz. Prague : Oriental Institute, The Czech Academy of Sciences, 2017.


Rahel Tsering. "The warrior in the mountain and his people : Labtse mountain cult and its social significance in an Amdo Tibetan village." In Mapping Amdo : dynamics of change,  ed. by Jarmila Ptáčková and Adrian Zenz. Prague : Oriental Institute, The Czech Academy of Sciences, 2017.  (see above): https://clio.columbia.edu/catalog/12832804

Rahel Tsering. Labtse construction and differentiation in rural Amdo. pages 451-467.  Revue d'Etudes Tibetaines. "Ancient currents, new tradiions: Papers presented at the Foruth International Seminar of Young Tibetologists, ed. by Franz Xaver Erhard,  etc. (2016) 

Describes construction components of Labtse, including their subsurface altars, and compares Labtse with other, similar types of structures in the Tibetan landscape. The paper is based on fieldwork conducted during 2012 and 2014 in the Amdo region. Includes diagrams, charts and color photos.

link: http://himalaya.socanth.cam.ac.uk/collections/journals/ret/pdf/ret_37.pdf

Tsering Bum. "The Changing Roles of Tibetan Mountain Deities in the Context of Emerging Environmental Issues: Dkar po lha bsahm in Yul shul [Ch. Yushu]." In Asian Highlands Perspectives, vol. 40. http://tibetanplateau.wikischolars.columbia.edu/Volume+Forty

Limusishiden (Li Dechun) and Gerald Roche. "SOCIALIZING WITH GODS IN THE MONGGHUL BOG RITUAL" ]." In Asian Highlands Perspectives, vol. 40. http://tibetanplateau.wikischolars.columbia.edu/Volume+Forty

Bettina Zeisler. Mountains, Monasteries, and Mosques. ]." In Asian Highlands Perspectives, vol. 40. http://tibetanplateau.wikischolars.columbia.edu/Volume+Forty

Katia Buffetrille. "Mapping Shangrila." In Asian Highlands Perspectives, vol. 40. http://tibetanplateau.wikischolars.columbia.edu/Volume+Forty

"Sharing a sacred center : Conch Mountain of the East, Yellow Dragon, and Chinese and Tibetan culture : Songpan, the state and social revolution, 1950-78"

In Contesting the Yellow Dragon : ethnicity, religion, and the state in the Sino-Tibetan borderland, ed. by Kang Xiaofei and Donald Sutton, Donald


Zangs mdog dpal riʼi mthong snang phyogs bsgrigs pho brang padma ʼod kyi lde mig bzhugs so. (2 volumes)  re: Nyagrong in Eastern Tibet.

Collection of descriptions of Zangs-mdog Dpal-ri (Skt. Cāmaradvīpa), the Copper-Colored Mountain, the pure land where Guru Rinpoche dwells; written by Nyingmapa masters like Mchog-gyur-bde-chen-gling pa, Gter-chen Padma gling-pa, Stag-sham-rdo-rje, Gter-chen Ratna gling-pa, Rig-ʼdzin-klong-gsal-snying-po, Rig-ʼdzin bdud-ʼdul-rdo-rje, Shar-gter-rig-ʼdzin-chos-rgyal-gling-pa, Rig-ʼdzin-ʼjaʼ-tshon-snying-po, etc.

In Tibetan only.


[Possible project for Tibetan or Chinese reader. Compare all 2-3 sources on "Copper Mountain"s. How/why was this later site created -- and does it connect to the original in Nyarong?]

Hortsang Jigme. "Bod kyi gzhi bdag gi skor la nyams zhib ‘phran bu byas pa’i zin bris. In Territory and Identity in Tibet and the Himalayas. Brill, 2002. Article on local gods protector deities (gzhi bdag) in Amdo.

In Tibetan only.


Manen, Johan van.

Minor Tibetan texts, I. The song of the Eastern snow-mountain.

Calcutta, Asiatic society, 1919.



Gnas chen Phag-mo-ri'i ngo sprod mdor bsdus dag snang 'o mtsho 'phel ba'i zla zer =雪域中心顶曲帕姆岭

Guide to Phag-mo-ri, also called Pemaling (Padma-gling), located in Yajiang County or Nyag-chu-kha rdzong, in Ganze Prefecture, Sichuan Province (aka Kham). Includes brief history of associated monastery, Bde-mchog Phag-mo dgon (Ch. Pamuling si).

In Tibetan, Chinese, and English.

Mtsho Bod mtho sgang gi ri chu rig gnas : Mtsho lhoʼi glegs bam = 青藏高原山水文化 : 海南  This vol. pertains only to Hainan, but no other volumes have been published yet.  Writeups and photos of key mountains and waters in Hainan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province

In Tibetan only.

Gnas chen kha ba dkar po'i bsang mchod dang gnas yig / rin chen rdo rje dang tshe ring chos 'phel gyis brtsams.

Modern pilgrimage guidebook with relevant rituals to perform at Mount Kawa Karpo in Yunnan, southeastern Tibet. Written by Rinchen Dorje (20th cent.). rin chen rdo rje; 1 volume; 8 p. col. plates. W00EGS1017157. mi rigs dpe skrun khang, pe cin. 2006. par gzhi 1.

In Tibetan only.  Accessible in TBRC.

Wutaishan = Ri bo rtse lnga

Wutai Shan and Qing Culture

Issue 6 of the Journal of the International Association for Tibetan Studies (December 2011)

Online journal issue with articles by leading scholars of this important mountain complex.

Read more: http://www.thlib.org/collections/texts/jiats/#!jiats=/issue06/#ixzz55Ab3vLip

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