Located in the northern foothills of Lhasa, the Sera Monastery is one of the six main temples of the Gelug Sect. Together with Drepung Monastery and Ganden Monastery, the Sera monastery is one of great three Gelug Sect monasteries in Lhasa. Since ancient times, it has been the place where the sacred living Buddhas talk about scriptures. Many monks and nuns are surrounding the monastery and many small temples. There are Pubujue Temple, Miqiong Reniku Temple, GongBa Sa Temple, Pa Bengang Temple, Zhaxi Qulin Temple, Qusang in Temple and so on.
There are two kinds of sayings about the name of the Sera Monastery: one said that the monastery had a fierce hail when it was built, and the hail was pronounced “Salad” in Tibetan language, so this monastery was named “Sera”. The other said that the monastery was built in a place where has wild rose flowers bloom, and the wild rose is also “salad” in the Tibetan language. so it is named “Sera monastery”.
1. Brief Introduction:
Location: No. 1 Sela Road, Chengguan District, Lhasa, Tibet
Construction time: 1434 AD
Features: Together with Drepung Monastery and Ganden Monastery, it’s one of great three monasteries in Lhasa city.
Suitable for the season: the whole year
Suggested visiting time: 2-3 hours
Ticket Fee: RMB 50
Opening hours: 09:00am ~16:00pm, every day
2 The history of Sera Monastery
Before the construction of the Sera Monastery, Master Tsongkhapa spoke scripture in the small temple which located on the east side of the Sera Monastery. And then, he announced this place will be formed a temple that promotes the concept of Tibetan Buddhism. Sakyayixi (1352–1435) was one of the great disciples of Tsongkhapa and an important figure in the Gelug Sect period. In 1419, the Sera monastery was built. It covers an area of 114,964 square meters, the original number of monks was 5,500, actually reaching 9,000.
3 Collection of cultural relics in Sera Monastery
There are tens of thousands of King Kong Buddha statues preserved in the Sera Monastery, mostly made in local Tibetan people. Also, there are many bronze Buddha statues brought from mainland China or India. In the hall, it preserved with a large number of colored murals. The most famous is the “the King of Ming” statue. In the Tuqin Hall, it has more than 200 letters “Ganjur” and “Danjur” by written in gold juice.
4 Main Buddhist events in Sera Monastery
Sera Monastery has a grand festival called “Sera Colching” which is unique to Sera Monastery. It is rumored that at the end of the 15th century, a vajra came from India. Later, it was greeted in this monastery by the Bazaar Cangbu on December 27 of the Tibetan calendar.
In the past, every morning on December 27 of the Tibetan calendar, The “law enforcer” drove the horse to the Potala Palace and presented the vajra to the Dalai Lama. After the Dalai Lama blessed the vajra, he quickly sent it back to the Sera Monastery. At this time, the Master Bazaar Cangbu was uplifted, holding the vajra to the whole temple. Then, the believers came to worship and blessed for Bodhisattva and the god. Every year, there are tens of thousands of believers who are waiting for it in the Sera Monastery.
5 Debating in the Sera monastery
As one of the three major temples in Lhasa, the Sera Monastery may not be as colorful as the Drepung Monastery, but the debating here is unique. The debating is a discussion of Buddhist knowledge, and it can also be said to be a way of learning by the lamas. In addition to Sundays, the monks in Sera Monastery have a daily study activity. This is a challenging debate. The debaters often use various gestures to enhance the debate. They either rush to urge the other party to answer the question as soon as possible, or pull the beads which mean to use the power of the Buddha to defeat others. If you visit the Sera Monastery, this debate must not be missed.
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