Rongbuk Monastery or Rongphu is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery of the Nyingma sect in Basum Township, Dingri County, Xigazê Prefecture of the Tibet Autonomous Region, China.
According to Michael Palin, it now houses thirty Buddhist monks and thirty nuns, but another source reports that locals say there are only about 20 nuns and 10 monks, although previously there were about 500 monks and nuns living here.
The Rongbuk Monastery itself was founded in 1902 by a Nyingmapa Lama in an area of meditation huts that had been in use by monks and hermits for over 400 years. Hermitage meditation caves dot the cliff walls all around the monastery complex and up and down the valley. Many walls and stones, carved with sacred syllables and prayers, line the paths.
The founding Rongbuk Lama, also known as the Zatul Rinpoche, was much respected by the Tibetans. Even though the Rongbuk Lama viewed the early climbers as "heretics," he gave them his protection and supplied them with meat and tea while also praying for their conversion. It was the Rongbuk Lama who gave Namgyal Wangdi the name Ngawang Tenzin Norbu, or Tenzing Norgay, as a young child.
In previous times, the Monastery became very active with the teachings at certain times of the year. It was, and is, the destination of special Buddhist pilgrimages where annual ceremonies are held for spectators coming from as far as Nepal and Mongolia. These ceremonies were shared with the satellite monasteries across the Himalaya also founded by the Rongbuk Lama. The ceremonies continue to this day, notably at the Sherpa Monastery at Tengboche.