08 September 2013
This month one project went up online. EAP310 ‘The digital documentation of manuscripts in the temples of Thadrak, Tshamdrak and Nyephug'. The project digitised the entire manuscript collections of those three temples as well the manuscript collection of an additional temple, Phurdrup Gonpa.
Thadrak Temple, which is a couple of hours climb from the Bhutanese capital (Thimphu), has about seventy titles relating to philosophy, language, meditation and rituals as well as over 26 biographical and historical volumes. Little is known about Thadrak itself but it is said to have once been a thriving religious centre.
Tshamdrak temple in Chhukha district was founded by Ngawang Drupa (1682-1748) and has been the main seat of the successive incarnate lamas of Tshamdrak. The temple has 98 volumes of the Kanjur canon as well as 222 volumes of the Tanjur canon. It also houses a set of the 46 volume manuscript Nyingma Gyubum, as well as many terma texts including those of Sangye Ling pa, Ratna Ling pa and Pema Ling pa. There is also a 21 volume set of hagiographies of the Drugpa Kagyu hierarchs. Besides being a prominent religious centre in western Bhutan, Tshamdrak also has a reputation for its excellence in the art of drumming.
Neyphug monastery was founded by terton Ngawang Dragpa (1525-1599) in 1550 and has remained the main seat of the successive incarnate lamas of Neyphug. Although a fire in 1864 gutted the main residence and destroyed many historical records, it only partially damaged the main temple and the manuscript collection remained unharmed. Neyphug holds a set of the Kanjur canon created in the seventeenth century during the time of the second Neyphug lama. Books in Neyphug also include the writings of the Bhutanese chief abbot and historian Je Khanpo Yon tan Thaye and of Neyphug's founder Ngawang Dragpa.
The collection of the Phurdrup Gonpa Temple consists of the entire Ka-gye texts of Nyangral Nyi ma O-zer, as well as the Gongdu texts of Sangye Ling pa, and other religious and philosophical literature. Most of them are gter ma texts which are said to have been rediscovered after they were hidden in the 8th century by Padmasambhava and his disciples.
The project created over 160,000 digital images, which are now available to view online. As well as making this previously inaccessible material available to scholars the project also ensured its preservation. The books were previously held in precarious physical conditions and were vulnerable to damage. As part of the project, the book shelves were cleaned, book covers changed and the general storage conditions were improved.
Check back next month to see what else has been added!
You can also keep up to date with any new collections by joining our Facebook group.