New Translations of the History of the Jarung Kashor Stūpa

Dear Dharma friends near and far,

It is with great joy that we announce that the full English translation of the History of the Jarung Kashor Stūpa, otherwise known as the Boudhanath Stupa, is now available. Auspiciously, the release of this translation coincides with the Tibetan Year of the Bird – the same year in which, generations ago, the precious Jarung Kashor was first completed and consecrated.

The story of this stupa has been told in myriad ways, but one of the best loved and most authoritative is the version first discovered by Khandro Lhatsün Ngönmo and later rediscovered by Yolmowa Shakya Zangpo (15th century), on his pilgrimage to Samye monastery in Tibet. Having deciphered the text, Shakya Zangpo travelled to the Kathmandu valley in search of this unique and precious stupa. Discovering upon arrival that it had been reduced to rubble, he immediately commissioned its reconstruction and renovation.

The treasure text that Shakya Zangpo retrieved from Samye is entitled Liberation Upon Hearing: The History of the Great Jarung Kashor Stupa and it is one of the most treasured accounts of the stupa’s history. It begins at the time of Samye’s completion, when Guru Rinpoche is giving the empowerments of The Guru’s Utterly Secret Heart Practice to the Tibetan King Trisong Deutsen and his 25 foremost disciples. The king asks him to recount the full story of how the Jarung Kashor stupa came to be. Guru Rinpoche accepts his heartfelt request and relates the story, while Khandroma Yeshe Tsogyal serves as scribe. From the mouth of the Lotus-Born Guru, the story then unfolds…

We learn of how a humble poultry-woman first extracted a promise from the king and then built the stupa together with her four sons…

We learn of how each was reborn as prominent figures in the introduction of Buddhism to Tibet, including Padmasambhava himself, who makes the following aspiration:

By virtue of completing our mother’s stupa, one of you will establish the Buddha’s teachings and one will uphold them in that frozen borderland of ice, my two elder brothers. When that happens, may I not be born from a womb but be miraculously born upon the anthers of a lotus flower. I shall cut the cycle of birth and death, and my lifespan will equal that of the sun and moon. Having been born as the one who can mightily tame gods, demons, and humans, may I subdue all malevolent spirits and demons within that very borderland and help fulfill the wishes of you both! May I be born as a powerful mantra master, to protect the entirety of the Buddha’s teachings.

We learn of the inconceivable benefits to be gained from circumambulating the stupa and making offerings before it…

And we finally receive a series of prophecies concerning the stupa’s restoration, an event that took place just recently, in the previous Year of the Fire Monkey…

* * *

To read this new English translation of our beloved Boudhanath stupa’s history, with its full recounting of the fantastic and essential events that led to the Dharma’s spread to Tibet, please follow this link to Lotsawa House.

And if you are interested to explore more texts on pilgrimage and sacred sites,check out: and visit our website at Nekhor dedicated to sacred sites!

Thank you,

With love,
Your Pema Jungne Team

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Suggested Reading

Dudjom Rinpoche, The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, trans. and ed. by Gyurme Dorje and Matthew Kapstein (Boston: Wisdom Publications, 1991), vol. 1, pages 468–474.

Ngawang Zangpo, Guru Rinpoche: His Life and Times, Ithaca: Snow Lion, 2002.

Nyoshul Khenpo, A Marvelous Garland of Rare Gems: Biographies of Masters of Awareness in the Dzogchen Lineage, trans. Richard Barron (Junction City: Padma Publishing, 2005), pages 41–48.

Padmasambhava, Legend of the Great Stupa, Berkeley: Dharma Publishing, 1973

Padmasambhava & Jamgön Kongtrul, The Light of Wisdom, trans. by Erik Pema Kunsang (Boudhanath: Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 1986-1999), pages 43-47 & Appendix 5.

Taranatha, The Life of Padmasambhava, Shang Shung Edizioni, 2005

Tulku Thondup, Masters of Meditation and Miracles, Shambhala, 1996.

Yeshe Tsogyal, Life and Liberation of Padmasambhava, translated by Kenneth Douglas and Gwendolyn Bays (Emeryville: Dharma Publishing, 1978, republished 2008).

Yeshe Tsogyal, Lotus Born: The Life Story of Padmasambhava, Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 2004.

‘The Life of Guru Padmasambhava’ in A Great Treasure of Blessings, The Tertön Sogyal Trust, 2004.