* History: 1189
Built in 1187, Turpu Monastery is located in Ngagar Township, Doilungdeqen County to west of Lhasa, 70 kilometers away from Lhasa.
It’s the first monastery of the Gagyu Sect of Tibetan Buddhism and the main monastery of the Black Cap Group of the Garma Sect. The system of succession to grant the living Buddha was originated here and has become popular among various sects of the Tibetan Buddhism. It also has been the residence of the Living Buddha Garmaba for several generations. The Garma Gagyu is one of the four major sects of the Gagyu Sect of Tibetan Buddhism, and the monastery is representative of the Gagyu Sect.
Built by the first Living Buddha Garmaba, Doisum Qenba, this originally small monastery has evolved into a town of lamas and spreads across the mountain slope. The nearby Nelang Monastery belongs to the Living Buddha Bawo; the 5th Living Buddha Bawo, Zolha Chenwa, wrote the Famous work Feast of Scholars.
The Living Buddha Garmaba and Turpu Monastery in which they lived once had great influence on the political and religious situation in Tibet, and also maintained good relations with the Chinese hinterland. The 2nd Living Buddha Garmaba, Garmabashi, worked to promote Buddhism in the imperial court of Genghis Khan. The Mongol Khan Monge granted him a gold seal of authority and a gold-rimmed black hat. From this time onwards, the sect to which the Living Buddha Garmaba belongs has been referred to as the Black Hat Sect. The 3rdand 4th Living Buddha Garmaba both maintained good relations with the Chinese imperial court. The 5th Living Buddha Garmaba, Yinshiba, even visited Nanjing, the capital of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), where he conducted Buddhist sermons. The Ming Dynasty emperor Chengzu (1403-1423) granted him the honorific title of the Great Treasure Prince of the Dharma as a result of his long trip to promote the development of Buddhism. The Living Buddha Garmaba of various generations has subsequently called themselves the Great Treasure Prince of the Dharma. There are numberous legends related to the mountains, water and land in the area of Turpu Monastery and the relationship between Turpu Monastery and the Chinese central government. The 17th Living Buddha Garmaba was enthroned in September 1992.
Turpu Monastery sits at the foot of Baima Qoinzong Mountain, and there are mediation cells on the peaks flanking the monastery. The Duilungjiang stone tablet, erected during the period of the Tubo Kingdom, lies close to the monastery. In winter and spring each year, a sorcerer’s dance is held at Turpu Monastery and constitutes one of the major religious activities of the monastery and the surrounding area.