Date: Wood-Hare Year, 12th month, first day, Tuesday (January 1856)
Lines: 12
Script: ’khyug
Remarks: square seal on line 11, possibly reading gter yul, “The Community of Te”.

Agreement by the community of Te to offer the second of any three daughters born in a family to be a nun under the authority of the Lama of Tshognam.


  1. {shing} shing yos zla 2 tshes 1 re gza’ smig dmar nyin | tshogs dgong bla (bla ma) jo mo sna la | bster yul
  2. {rgan} gi rgan nga dbang tshi ris rgan ’du li chos skyabs | nakha’ (nam mkha’) dbang ’dus dang mi grags oyan (o rgyan)
  3. {1}ka mi dbang ’dus | tshi ring dbang ’dus | nyis ma tshi ris rdoe (rdo rje) gra ’dul kyi skyabs tshi ring
  4. bsa grub bces | yul sde spyi’i [1S?] bka’ gros kyi thogs nas tshog dgong bla (bla ma) bstan rgyal^n (rgyal mtshan)
  5.  la | mchod tshigs yi ge ’bris rnas khung nying | don rtsa bsted yul nang gi bu gsu ’bar ma rnas
  6. lo bcu drug lon ma thag grigs zhugs byed rgyu | gal ste jiten (’jig rten) byas tshe | si ri rgyal zhabs la dngul 500 dang
  7. yul dpon la dngul 100 ’bul thub zhus pa | yul sde ag bster rgan mi grags dgong sal
  8. rnas skyi rtags | sha sal rgan nga dbang tshi ri rtags X rgan ’du li chos skyabs — rtags X
  9.  rgan nakha’ (nam mkha’) dbang ’dus rtags X {1S} oyan (o rgyan) rtags X ka mi dbang ’dus rtags X tshi ris dbang ’dus stags {1S}
  10. nyi ma tshi ris rtags X rdoe (rdo rje) gra ’dul rtags X kyi skyabs tshi ring rtags X bsa grubs rtags X bcas yul {2S}
  11. mi spyi lags bkor kyi rtags (seal) 1 ’don di rnas kyi phya spang bskag sku byams zhugs pa’i sa hi
  12. yig bri bu rdoe (rdo rje) yin pa’i rtags X

1. mig dmar; jo mo rnams 2. mi drag 4. thog nas 5. chod tshig; bris nas khungs snying 6. sgrigs zhugs; gal te; śrī rgyal 7. hak ster rgan mi drag gong gsal 8. kyi rtags; sham gsal 11. lag skor gyi; cha dpang; bzhugs pa’i sāhi

Tuesday, the first day of the 12th month in a Wood Hare year. To the lamas and nuns of Upper Tshognam. The headmen of Te, Ngawang Tshering, Duli Chökyab and Namkha Wangdu, and the “powerful men” Orgyan, Kami Wangdu, Tshering Wangdu, Nyima Tshering, Dorje Drandul, Kyikyab Tshering and Samdrub. On the basis of a discussion held among the members of the community, this letter, the subject of which is as follows, is addressed to Lama Tenpa Gyaltsen of Upper Tshognam. As soon as the second of three daughters (lit. sons) in the community of Te reaches the age of 16 she should become a nun. If she should remain a laywoman, her family will be able to pay 500 rupees to the representative of the government and 100 rupees to the head of the community. The headmen and “powerful men” who have been authorised by the community place their thumbprints. They are clearly named as: Headman Ngawang Tshering; Headman Duli Chökyab; Namkha Wangdu; Orgyan; Kami Wangdu; Tshering Wangdu; Nyima Tshering; Dorje Drandul; Kyikyab Tshering; Samdrub. The document is passed from hand to hand among the members of the community, and sealed. The witness to this agreement is Kushab Jamyang (sku zhabs ’Jam dbyangs) of Kag.

It is not clear from the text itself whether the subject of the document is young monks or young nuns, since the expression that is used, bu gsum ’bar  [bar]ma, the “middle child [lit. son] of three [children]”, applies equally to girls and boys. However, monks were recruited by the monastic communities of Dzar-Dzong, and since this letter is addressed to the Lama and nuns of Upper Tshognam, it is certain that it is nuns, rather than monks, that are meant. Although this document places the nuns of Te under the authority of Upper Tshognam, there was a period when they ceased to be under this tutelage after transferring their allegiance to Kun bzang chos gling, popularly known as Gonpa Gang (dGon pa sgang), a nunnery belonging to Tshug and situated on a ridge (sgang, hence the name) opposite the latter community. Although we do not know when this shift occurred, we do know that Te severed its ties with Gonpa Gang in 1906, and returned to the earlier tradition of committing nuns to the care of the Tshognam lamas (see below, HMA/UTshognam/23).

Line 2, mi grags (< mi drag), “powerful man/men”:  the term corresponds to the Nepali term bhaladmi (a term that is also used in the archives) and denotes individuals who are appointed by the community to serve in an advisory capacity for the duration of a particular dispute or crisis (see Karmacharya n.d.).