Samye Monastery in Dranang

Tibetan Buddhist monasteries around the world

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Tibetan are works of architectural, pictorial, decorative and landscape art.

Although there were many householder-yogis in Tibet, monasticism was the foundation of Buddhism in Tibet.

There were over 6,000 monasteries in Tibet the Cultural Revolution. Since then most of the major monasteries have been at least partially re-established, while many others remain in ruins.

Mongolian Buddhism derives from the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism. In Mongolia during the 1920s, approximately one third of males were monks, though many lived outside monasteries.

By the beginning of the 20th century about 750 monasteries were functioning in Mongolia.

These monasteries were largely dismantled during Communist rule, but many have been reestablished during the Buddhist revival in Mongolia which followed the fall of Communism.

Monasteries generally adhere to one particular school.

Table of Contents

Sravasti Abbey

, the first Tibetan Buddhist monastery for Western nuns and monks in the U.S., was established in Washington State by Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron in 2003. Whilst practicing in the Tibetan Buddhist Tradition, Sravasti Abbey monastics ordain in the Dharmaguptaka Vinaya. It is situated on 300 acres (1.2 km2) of forest and meadows, 11 miles (18 km) outside of Newport, Washington, near the Idaho state line. It is open to visitors who want to learn about community life in a Tibetan Buddhist monastic setting.


is a Tibetan word meaning “place of teaching” but specifically refers to the educational program in Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and nunneries. It is usually attended by monks and nuns between their early teen years and early twenties. Not all young monastics enter a shedra; some study ritual practices instead. Shedra is variously described as a university, monastic college, or philosophy school. The age range of students typically corresponds to both secondary school and college. After completing a shedra, some monks continue with further scholastic training toward a Khenpo or Geshe degree, and other monks pursue training in ritual practices.

Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling

is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery near Boudhanath, on the outskirts of Kathmandu, Nepal. It has ties to both the Kagyu and Nyingma schools, hence the combined Ka-Nying in the name. Shedrub Ling means “sanctuary for learning and practice.”

Gandantegchinlen Monastery

The is a Mongolian Buddhist monastery in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar that has been restored and revitalized since 1990. The Tibetan name translates to the “Great Place of Complete Joy”. It currently has over 150 monks in residence. It features a 26.5-meter-high statue of Avalokiteśvara. It came under state protection in 1994.

Bailin Temple (Beijing)

The Bailin Temple, also known as the “Monastery of the Cypress Grove”, is a Tibetan Buddhist temple and monastery located in Beijing, China.

Rigsum Monastery

is a Buddhist monastery in Bhutan.

Ngang Lhakhang

is a Buddhist monastery in the Choekhor Valley of central Bhutan. It is located not for from Draphe Dzong, which was the residence of the Choekhor Penlop who was ruling the valley before the Drukpa conquest in the 17th century. Also known as the “Swan temple”, Ngang lies on the right side of the valley. It is a private temple, built in the 16th century by a Tibetan lama named Namkha Samdrip, who also built Namkhoe Lhakhang in the Tang Valley. Today it is a residence and in 2004 was enlarged with four guest rooms.

Nalanda Monastery (France)

Nalanda Monastery is the first Western monastery of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), an international network of Gelugpa dharma centers. Named for Nalanda Monastery in ancient India, the French institution is located near Lavaur, about forty kilometers from Toulouse, and not far from another FPMT center, the Institut Vajra Yogini.

Samtenling Monastery

is a Buddhist monastery in Bhutan.

Lhodrak Seykhar Dratshang

is a Buddhist monastic school in Bumthang (Bhutan) near Jakar city. The name means Golden Temple. The school was established in 1963, deducated to Marpa Lotsawa.

Lhodrak Karchu Monastery (Bumthang)

Lhodrak Kharchu Monastery is a Buddhist Nyingmapa Monastery of Jangter Tradition based in Bumthang District Central Bhutan. The monastery overlooks Jakar Dzong and the valley of Jakar town.

Shingkar Monastery

is a Buddhist monastery in Bhutan.

Lamay Monastery

or Lamay Gonpa is a Buddhist monastery in Bumthang, Bhutan. It is located four kilometers above the Jakar Dzong and was built by the Trongsa Penlop, Sonam Drugel, the great-grandfather of King Ugyen Wangchuck in the 19th century. Wangchuck restored the building and it was used as the residence of his two daughters. The palace’s main tower was destroyed due to structural problems. Today the building houses the Forestry Institute.

Kurjey Lhakhang

Kurjey Lhakang,སྐུ་རྗེས་ ཡང་ན་ གུ་རུ་རིན་པོ་ཆེ་གི་ ཞབས་རྗེས་ also known as the Kurjey Monastery, is located in the Bumthang valley in the Bumthang district of Bhutan. This is the final resting place of the remains of the first three Kings of Bhutan. Also, a large tree behind one of the temple buildings is believed to be a terma that was left there by Padmasambhava.

Kunzangdrak Monastery

Kunzangdrak is a Buddhist sacred site in the Tang Valley of central Bhutan. It lies at an altitude of 3,350 metres in the hollow of a cliff. Guru Rinpoche and his disciple Namkhai Nyingpo are said to have meditated here at the end of the 8th century. The current temple, however, was established in 1488 by Pema Lingpa. Aside from Pema Lingpa’s living quarters, the site consists of three temples, the Wangkhang, which has the main statue of Avalokiteshvara with a thousand eyes and a thousand hands,Özerphug, the meditation cave of Pema Lingpa’s son, Tuksey Dawa Gyeltsen (ཐུགས་སྲས་ཟླ་བ་རྒྱལ་མཚན) and the Khandroma Lhakang, which contains a gilded copper statue of Pema Lingpa.

Phajoding Monastery

is a Buddhist monastery near Thimpu in Bhutan. It was one of the richest and most decorated monasteries in the country however due to neglect, it was listed in 2010 by the World Fund as an endangered cultural monument.

Tala Monastery

is a Buddhist monastery in Bhutan.

Talo Monastery

is a Buddhist monastery located in the hills above Punakha, Bhutan.

Tibet Institute Rikon

The is a Tibetan monastery located in Zell-Rikon im Tösstal in the Töss Valley in Switzerland. It is an established as a non-profit foundation because Swiss laws resulting from the 19th century secularization movement did until 1973 not allow for the establishment of new monasteries.

Zangdopelri Monastery

is a Buddhist monastery in Bhutan. It was built by the Queen Mother of Bhutan.

Yonphula Lhakhang

is a Buddhist monastery in Bhutan. It is situated in the Eastern District of Bhutan. The Lhakhang or monastery in Yonphula has been founded by Tantric Master Lama Karpo Rinpoche alias Lama Tshewang Penjor. He was the disciple of Tertoen Dudjom Lingpa Jigdrel Yeshi Dorji, who named him as Lama Karpo. Before he actually met with his karmic Master, Lama Karpo went to Tibet to learn and master the Tantric practices. There in Kongbu, Tibet, he has mastered and directed him by his master therefrom to visit his Karmic Master Dudjom Rinpoche. Lama Karpo Meditated in Paro Taktshang. While meditating in the cave, where Guru Rinpoche has meditated, from Guru’s statue, he heard a clear voice. He was said to have astonished by this and felt himself in illusion. But, later he found to have talked to him by that very Guru Rinpoche’s Statue. Subsequently, same Guru Statue voiced out to him for another time and during that time he did conversation with the statue. In later years, he went back to Trashigang and founded Yonphula Monastery. It is approximately 2700 meters above the sea level. It is few km away from the yonphula domestic airport. Currently, the abode is headed by Lama Jigme Tenzin, son of Lama Karpo. There are approximately 100 gomchens. They perform periodical rituals and other related religious rituals. There is a Meditation Center where many Gomchens do meditate for minimum of three years. After that, they are known to be tshampas or Yogi. They follow the Nyingma Tersar religion. It performs its annual Tshechu in the 10th day of 3rd month of Lunar calendar every year. It is called Trelda Tshechu.

Choedrak Monastery

is a Buddhist monastery in Bhutan, located at an altitude of 3,800 metres, not far from in Bumthang District. Guru Rinpoche is said to have meditated at this spot.

Ura Monastery

is a Buddhist monastery in Bhutan.

Pangri Zampa Monastery

is a Buddhist monastery in Bhutan.

Tharpaling Monastery

Tharpaling Monastery is a Buddhist monastery in Bhutan.

Thangthong Dewachen Nunnery

is a Buddhist monastery in the small Himalayan country of Bhutan. The nunnery is located in Zilukha overlooking Tashichodzong and is a few minutes’ drive from the town. It is popularly known as the Zilukha Anim Dratshang. It was built in 1976 by the 16th emanation of Thangtong Gyalpo, Drubthob Rikey Jadrel. Currently, the nunnery is home to about 60 nuns.

Tergar Osel Ling Monastery

or Tergar Lungrik Osel Targyé Ling Monastery is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Kathmandu, Nepal of the Tergar Meditation Community.

Thrangu Tashi Yangtse Monastery – Nepal

The Thrangu Tashi Yangtse Monastery is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery about 40 km southeast of Nepal’s capital city Kathmandu and 2.3km from Manegaun, a Tamang/Dalit village. It lies at the top of the hill in shyampati vdc. It is one of the most beautiful and a center for tourism. The main festivals and mela celebrated here are kartik purnima and Buddha jayanti.

Tsangwo Monastery

is a Buddhist monastery in Qinghai, China.

Tawang Taktshang Monastery

Taktsang Monastery is a prominent Tibetan Buddhist sacred site and temple complex, located on the cliffside of the Tawang District in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.

Sang Monastery

is a Buddhist monastery in Sikkim, northeastern India.

Yaritang Monastery

is a Buddhist monastery in Qinghai, China.

Ringa Monastery

is a Buddhist monastery in Yunnan, China.

Rigyalling Monastery

is a Buddhist monastery in Arunachal Pradesh, northeastern India.

Tegla Kar

The Dzong was a fort located on a cliff above the town of Burang in Burang County, southwestern Tibet near the Nepalese border. It seems that the Tegla Kar was built during the Zhangzhung period which was conquered by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo in the beginning of 7th century. It became the main fort of the kingdom of Burang in the 10th century during the reign of King Kori. The kingdom disappeared during the 15th century. After the decline of the kingdom the Dzong was converted into a convent. Tegla Kar and the nearby Simbiling Monastery was completely destroyed by artillery in 1967 during the Chinese Cultural Revolution.

Rhenock Monastery

is a Buddhist monastery in Sikkim, northeastern India.

Serdzong Monastery

is a Buddhist monastery in Qinghai, China.

Namchi Monastery

is a Buddhist monastery in Sikkim, northeastern India.

Pomda Monastery

Bamda is a village and monastery in Baxoi County, Tibet. is a lamasery in Bomda. It was destroyed in 1959 by the Communist Chinese but rebuilt between 1984 and 1988. The monastery is around 360 years old and is home to 90 monks. The entrance hallway has a number of murals depicting monastic dress codes.

Gartu Monastery

is a Buddhist monastery in Qinghai, China.

Chayilung Monastery

is a Buddhist monastery in Qinghai, China.

Chitishio Dzong

Chitishio is a dzong in Tibet. The site is in ruins; it was a Buddhist monastery.

Chongsheng Temple (Yunnan)

Chongsheng Temple,, is a Buddhist temple near the old town of Dali in Yunnan province, southern China. The Three Pagodas are part of the complex.

Dalling Monastery

is a Buddhist monastery in Sikkim, northeastern India.


is the term used for Buddhist university monasteries in the Tibetan tradition of Gelukpa located throughout Mongolia, Tibet and Siberia. As a rule, in a datsan there are two departments—philosophical and medical. Sometimes to them is added the department of the tantric practices where the monks study only after finishing education in the philosophical department.

Den Monastery

is a small Buddhist monastery in Ganzi, Sichuan, China.


is the name given to the central open courtyard of a monastery in Tibet and parts of Myanmar where it is used for ceremonies, burning incense and prayer and to divide the living quarters from the temples of Buddhist prayer and study. One such example is the Potala Palace of the Dalai Lama in Lhasa, where the great palacial monastery is divided into a white and a red palace with a yellow painted Deyangshar separating to two sectors.

Dongzhulin Monastery

is a Buddhist monastery in Yunnan, China.

Dontok Monastery

is a Buddhist monastery south of Ganzi, Sichuan, China.

Gajiu Monastery

is an ancient Buddhist temple located near the old Tibetan village of Tsetang in the province of Tibet. Only ruins remain of the temple which was built at the foot of Mount Gongbori.

Gemur Monastery

is a Buddhist monastery, 600 to 700 yards above the village of Gemur, Lahaul Spiti district, Himachal Pradesh, northern India. It is located 18 kilometres from keylong in ‘bhaga valley’Lahaul. The monastery is around 700 years old.

Ongi Monastery

is the collective name for the ruins of two monasteries that face each other across the Ongi River in Saikhan-Ovoo district of Dundgovi Province, in south-central Mongolia. The Barlim Monastery is located on the north bank of the river while the Khutagt Monastery sits on the south bank. The older southern complex consisted of various administrative buildings as well as 11 temples. The northern complex, built in the 18th century, consisted of 17 temples – among them one of the largest temples in all of Mongolia. The grounds housed also 4 Buddhist universities. Founded in 1660, it was one of the largest monasteries in Mongolia and housed over 1000 monks at its height. The ruins are situated about 18 km south of the town of Saikhan Ovoo.

Kewwzing Monastery

is a Buddhist monastery in Sikkim, northeastern India.

Keydong Thuk-Che-Cho-Ling Nunnery

The is the first Tibetan Institution to provide higher education for Buddhist nuns. This practice is a traditional way to purify the mind, and includes visualizations, verse recitations, distinction and beautiful overtone chanting, all complemented by heartfelt prayer.

Khecheopalri Monastery

is a Buddhist monastery in Sikkim, northeastern India.

Lhalung Monastery

, Lhalun Monastery or Lalung Monastery, was one of the earliest monasteries founded in Spiti, Himachal Pradesh, India, by the great Tibetan Buddhist lotswa (translator) Rinchen Zangpo, the king of western Himalayan Kingdom of Guge during the late 10th century CE. The altitude of the neighbouring village of Lhalun is 3,658 metres.

Lhunshigyia Monastery

is a Buddhist monastery in Qinghai, China.

Lingthem Monastery

is a Buddhist monastery in Sikkim, northeastern India.

Mallu Monastery

is a Buddhist monastery in Sikkim, northeastern India.

Manmogang Monastery

was a Buddhist monastery in Tsari to the southeast of Dakpo in the Shigatse Prefecture of Tibet. It was located near the border with India. It is documented as being the place where Dorje Pakmo died in 1455.

Mulbekh Monastery

or Mulbekh Gompa is said to consist of two gompas, one Drukpa and one Gelugpa Buddhist monastery in Kargil, Ladakh of the state Jammu and Kashmir in northern India. Names of the monasteries are Serdung Gompa and Rgaldan-se Gompa of Drukpa and Gelugpa sect respectively. Recently the Rgaldan-se Gompa was reconstructed in 2016. It also consist a Lhakhang known as Nyima Lhakhang, it is the oldest section of the Mulbekh Monastery. It is believed to be built around 800 year ago by the students of great Tibetan scholar Lotsawa Rinchen Zangpo, it is clear with the style of painting.

Chawayng Ani Monastery

is a Buddhist monastery in Sikkim, northeastern India.

Oesel Choeling Monastery

is a Buddhist monastery in Bhutan. It is located in the village of Rangjung, on the left bank of the Gamri Chhu, approximately 16 kilometres from Trashigang. The monastery was built in 1990 by Garab Rinpoche. Austrian influence in the area has also funded a hydroelectric plant.

Zhigegor Monastery

is a Buddhist monastery in Qinghai, China.


  1. Summing up the most influential centers in Tibet and Nepal by tradition:

    Nyingma lineage

    • Mindrolling Monastery
    • Katok Monastery
    • Dorje Drak
    • Dzogchen Monastery
    • Palyul
    • Shechen Monastery

    Kagyu monasteries

    • Drigung Monastery — the seat of the Könchog Tenzin Kunzang Thinley Lhundrub
    • Palpung Monastery — the seat of the Tai Situpa and Jamgon Kongtrul
    • Ralung Monastery — the seat of the Gyalwang Drukpa
    • Surmang Monastery — the seat of the Trungpa tülkus
    • Tsurphu Monastery — the seat of the Gyalwa Karmapa

    Sakya monasteries

    • Ngor
    • Sakya Monastery — the seat of the Sakya Trizin
    • Shalu

    Gelug lineage

    • Drepung Monastery — the home monastery of the Dalai Lama
    • Ganden Monastery — the seat of the Ganden Tripa
    • Sera Monastery
    • Tashilhunpo Monastery in Shigatse — founded by the first Dalai Lama, now the seat of the Panchen Lama

    Jonang monasteries

    • Takten Phuntsok Ling Monastery Shimla, gift from the Dalai Lama – seat of Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa Rinpoche
    • Jonang Shimla Monastery – seat of Khenpo Choekyi Nangwa Rinpoche
    • Tsangwa Monastery in Dzamthang is one of the largest with home to about 1,500 monks

    Bön tradition

    • Menri, re-founded in Himachal Pradesh – seat of the 33rd abbot Menri Trizin
    • Triten Norbutse Monastery in Nepal
    • The Redna Menling Nunnery

    Other influent monasteries

    • Mahayana Monastery — the seat of the Kadhampa Dharmaraja (The 25th Atisha Jiangqiu Tilei), Nepal
    • Labrang Monastery in eastern Amdo
    • Kumbum Jampaling in central Amdo
    • Jokhang Temple in Lhasa — said to have been built by King Songtsen Gampo in 647 AD part of the UNESCO Tsangwa

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