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.

Sera Monastery Tibet

Sera Monastery Tibet

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.

Gallery of Tibetan monks.



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Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, founded in 1447 by the 1st Dalai Lama, is a historic and culturally important monastery in Shigatse, the second-largest city in Tibet.

Tibetan Monk Shigatse

Tibetan Monk Shigatse

While in Shigatse at theTashilhunpo Monastery in 2012, during our Mount Kailash trek we made a short movie of shanting Yellow hat Monks. Tashilhunpo Monastery as one of the six Gelug monasteries is the seat of successive Panchen Lamas. Founded by the First Dalai Lama in 1447, it is an important monastery in Tibetan history and culture. Located at the foot of Drolmari, western side of Shigatse, the second largest city in Tibet, it means “all fortune and happiness gathered here” or “heap of glory” in Tibetan. Covering an area of nearly 150,000 square meters, the monastery is the largest temple in Shigatse, which has about 57 halls and 3600 rooms. Among them, the Coqen Hall can hold 2000 people chanting at the same time. Featuring an interesting sprawling amalgam of traditional Tibetan monastic style, those halls, chapels and other structures are connected by precipitous steps and narrow cobblestone alleys. The interplay between the golden roofs and the white, red and black exterior walls creates a striking composition. Founded in 1447 by Gedun Drub, who was later named the First Dalai Lama, Tashilhunpo Monastery was constructed in the year of 1459. At that time, there were only five Buddhist halls with 12 Buddha enshrined and about 200 monks. Gelugpa (The Yellow Hats) The Gelugpa (Yellow Hat) order is the youngest school of Tibetan Buddhism, but is today the largest and the most important. It is lead by the Dalai Lama and was founded by Tsongkhapa (1357-1419), a lama who established a monastery at Ganden.

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© 1999 – 2018 Mazalien