Sera Monastery is one of the “great three” Gelug university monasteries of Tibet, located 1.25 miles north of Lhasa and about 5 km north of the Jokhang. The other two are Ganden Monastery and Drepung Monastery.
Debate topics correspond with their level of studies. For example, in the studies of valid logic, one of the topics is that ‘If all things are said to be composed of the four elements of earth, water, fire and wind as according to Buddhist presentation, then where is the fire in an ice cube? Where is the water in a flame?’. One monk would stand in the middle and yell a loud ‘Dhih’, the syllable of the Buddha of Wisdom. He clasps his right hand onto left palm and pulls the left hand backwards. These gestures have profound meanings. The right hand pushing down in the clapping motion signifies the suppression of wrong views and the left hand raising in the same clapping motion symbolizes the raising of correct views. The pulling back of right hand symbolizes leading beings out to liberation and the pushing forward of left hand symbolizes the closing of the doors of downfall to lower migrations. To accomplish all these, wisdom is needed and thus the mantric syllable of the Buddha of Wisdom is pronounced. Other monks would answer either individually or as a group. When the monk answering gives an inconsistent answer, the asking monk would make a noise as if to say ,’This is most illogical!’ and when one side clearly loses a round, he would take off his hat until he wins another round later on.
Alonissos is blessed with rugged natural landscapes, and surrounded by small islands scattered around the archipelagos and has protected areas for natures sake.
Alonnisos rises from the sea in a mountain of greenery, with stands of Aleppo pine, kermes oak, mastic and arbutus bushes, vineyards, olive and fruit trees, threaded with perfumy patches of wild herbs. The west and north coasts are steep and rocky, while the east is speckled with bays and pebble-and-sand beaches. Alonnisos has had its share of bad luck; in 1952, a thriving wine industry collapsed when vines imported from California were infested with phylloxera insects. Robbed of their livelihood, many people moved away. Then, in 1965, an earthquake destroyed the hilltop capital of Old Alonnisos. Inhabitants were rehoused at Patitiri, which has since evolved into a quaint island port; 11km to the north is the seaside village of Steni Vala. The most recent trouble was in early 2017, when storms destroyed a third of the island’s trees; many inhabitants decamp to Athens for the surprisingly harsh winter season.
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MAR 03, 1999 Mazalien the Philosopher and sky watcher is born about 50 years ago and is very much a travel buff. The most beautiful in the world is, of course, the world itself. So lets explore the world drifting from one world of dreams into another.....