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Tsurphu Monastery (also Tolung Tsurpu / sTod lung mTshur phu) is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery which served as the traditional seat of the Karmapa. It is located in Gurum town (rgu rum / Gǔróng Xiàng 古荣乡) of Doilungdêqên Countymarker in the Tibet Autonomous Region of Chinamarker, 70 km from Lhasamarker. The monastery is about 4,267 metres (14,000 feet) above sea level. It was built in the middle of the valley facing south with high mountains surrounding the monastery complex.

Tsurphu is a 300m2 complex with walls up to 4 meters thick. The monastery or "gompa", the traditional seat of the Karmapa lamas, is about 28 km up the Dowo Lung Valley, on the north side of the river. The original walls of the main building were up to 4 metres thick and 300 metres square. The monks' residences were on the eastern side.


Reconstructed Tsurphu Gompa, 1993

Tsurphu was founded by the first Karmapa, Düsum Khyenpa (1110-1193) in 1159, after he visited the site and laid the foundation for an establishment of a seat there by making offerings to the local protectors, dharmapala and genius loci. In 1189 he revisited the site and founded his main seat there. The monastery grew to hold 1000 monks.

It was totally destroyed in 1966 during the Cultural Revolution and began to be rebuilt in 1980 by the 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje. Following the recognition of Ogyen Trinley Dorje (b. 1985) by the Tai Situpa and the Chinese governmentmarker, he was enthroned at Tsurphu and resided there until he escaped from Tibet to Indiamarker in 2000.


Image:Elderly Pilgrim, Tsurphu 1993.JPG|Elderly pilgrim, Tsurphu Gompa, 1993Image:Pilgrims, Tsurphu 1993.JPG|Pilgrims, Tsurphu Gompa, 1993Image:Nomad camp above Tsurphu Gompa.JPG|Nomad camp above Tsurphu Gompa, 1993. Smoke is from juniper burning for ceremony.


Dowo Lung Valley, above Tsurphu Gompa
  • Dowman, Keith. The Power-places of Central Tibet: The Pilgrim's Guide. 1988. Routledge & Kegan Paul. London. ISBN 0-7102-1370-0
  • Martin, Michele. Music in the Sky: The Life, Art & Teachings of the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje. 2003. Snow Lion Publications. Reprint: New Age Books, New Delhi, 2004. ISBN 81-7822-193-4.

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