Tsechen Monastery

rtse chen
Site Type: Monastery
Site Location: Gyantse (rgyal rtse)
Operating Status: Active
Current Tradition: Geluk
Former Tradition: Jonang
Date Established: 1335
Current Residents: 20
Former Residents: 600 in 14th cent.
Founding Master: Nyawon Kunga Pal
TBRC Place #: G357

Tsechen Monastery was the main monastic seat (gdan sa) of Nyawon Kunga Pal, one of the primary disciples of Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen. With approximately 600 monks in residence at the time of its establishment in the early 14 century, this monastery was one of the main complexes of the Jonangpa in Central Tibet.


Situated on a mountain side near the Great Stupa of Gyantse (rgyal rtse chos sde), this was a major center for Jonang monastic education and an influential monastery in the region until it was forcibly converted to a Geluk monastery during the rule of the 5th Dalai Lama in the mid-17th century. Then in the 19th century, this monastery was destroyed in the British invasion of Tibet by Younghusband’s army in the battle at Gyantse. Now, although this monastery is active, it was not restored and it lies mostly in ruins with only a small main hall (‘dug khang) and a few living quarters for monks (grwa khang).