About Sera Monastery

The full name of Sera Temple is “Sera Thekchen Ling Monastery”, one of the six main monasteries of the Gelug Sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Together with Drepung Monastery and Ganden Monastery, it is called the three major monasteries of Lhasa, and it is the latest one of the three major monasteries. Sera Monastery is a national key cultural relics protection unit. It is located at the foothills of Sera wuzi Mountain, 3 kilometers north of Lhasa. It is surrounded by willow forests. It has been a place for eminent monks and living Buddhas to give lectures since ancient times. There are many small monastery and nunnery surrounding it. Phurchok Monastery, Michung ri Nunnery, Gombasa Temple, Phabongkha Temple, Tashi Choeling Temple, Chubsang Temple, Gari Nunnery; behind the temple there are Zhukang Riqe, Sera Choeding Temple and so on. 

The monastery was built by Shakya Yeshi. He is one of the main disciples of Tsongkhapa.  was the founder of the Gelugpa school of Tibetan Buddhism. Some people believe it means “hailstone”, while others believe it means “raspberry”.

Location: Northern Lhasa.
Open Hours: 9:00-16:00
Admission Fee: RMB¥50


Introduction to Sera Monastery  

In 1419, Tsongkhapa’s disciple Jiangqin Quejie built it and completed it in 1434. After Jamchen Choje was invited to Beijing and was named the Dharma King. After returning to Tibet, the statues of God-given scriptures were kept in the temple, and they still exist today. There are three Dratsang in the monastery: Je, Mey, and Ngaba. In its heyday, there were more than 8,000 monks in the monastery, which is slightly less to Drepung Monastery in scale. 

There are tens of thousands of Vajra Buddha statues preserved in the Sera Monastery, most of which are made locally in Tibet. There are also many bronze Buddha statues brought from inland china or India. A large number of original color murals are preserved on the four walls of the main hall and the Dratsang sutra halls. The most famous statue is the “Horse-headed Buddha” statue in the main hall. The engraved version “Kangyur” in 1410 in the Sera Monastery was the first Tibetan printed Tripitaka, bestowed by Emperor Yongle.

The Sera Monastery has Tsokchen assembly Hall, Je Dratsang, May Dratsang, Ngaba Dratsang, and 32 Khangtsen. The earliest buildings are Mey Dratang and Ngaba Dratsang, the current scale after being added, repaired, and expanded by generations. Therefore, there is no overall plan in the layout. However, the building of Sera Monastery is dense, not crowded, cluttered, and not chaotic. It is adapted to local conditions and the main body is prominent, which reflects the great Gelugpa temple. It is a religious city with a unique style. 

Building layout  

Tsochen Assembly Hall

The Tsochen Hall is the largest hall of Sera Monastery and the management center of Sera Monastery’s religious affairs. In 1710, it was directly sponsored by Lhasang Khan (ruling from 1705 to 1717), a descendant of Gushi Khan (1582-1654). The main hall is located in the northeast of Sera Monastery. It is four stories high and consists of a square in front of the hall, a sutra hall, and 5 Lhakang (chapel). The square in front of the temple is covered with slabs of stone, covering an area of ​​about 2,000 square meters; the gate of the sutra hall faces the south, and the front of the gate is a double-row 10-pillar front profile, and the four heavenly kings are painted on the wall. The square pillars are like forests, with 89 long pillars and 36 short pillars, covering an area of ​​nearly 2,000 square meters. A long column is used to raise a patio in the center of the scripture hall for lighting. 

After the death of the seventh Dalai Lama – Kalsang Gyatso, he made a 5-meter-high gilt bronze statue of the Jampa Buddha for the east side. In addition, there are three masters and disciples of Tsongkhapa, Gerujian Caisangbu, Dorje Rangjon, and other statues of Gelugpa monks and stupa of honor. The gilt bronze statue of Jampa Buddha is exquisitely shaped. It sits on the seat of two lions and bears, steps on the lotus seat, and the two hands are the wheel of the Dharma. The face is perfect and the look is peaceful. There are three temples at the back of the scripture hall: Jamapa Lhakang is in the center, and the main statue of the Tsokchen Hall is inside. The body is tall (about 6 meters), the body is on the first floor, and the head is on the second floor; the face of Jampa In the temple of the Buddha, the backlight is composed of round-carved divine birds, Capricorn fish, dragon girls, etc., with vivid images and fine carvings. On both sides of the Jampa Buddha statue, there are two colored statues of the Eight Great Bodhisattvas (also known as the “Eight spiritual son Disciple”, namely Manjushri, Maitreya, Guanyin, Samantabhadra, Dashi Bodhisattva, Void Bodhisattva, Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, Obstacle Bodhisattva) and two Statue of Wrath.

On the tall scripture shelf next to the south wall, there is a collection of 105 letters (originally 108 letters) of the eighth year (1410) version of “Kanzhuer” of Yongle (1410) that was presented to Shakya by Ming Chengzu. This scripture is the first book in the collection. The printing of Buddhist scriptures in Chinese occupies an important position in the study of Chinese editions and the history of printing. On the west side of Qiangpa Buddha is the Arhat Hall. In the middle of the hall, there is a statue of Sakyamuni Buddha. On both sides are statues of sixteen Arhats and the four heavenly kings, all of which are painted with clay sculptures. The sixteen arhats were originally wooden statues brought by Sakyamuni from the mainland. Later, there was a clay sculpture and the wooden statue was placed in the belly of the clay statue. The statue basically retains the original style of Ming Dynasty statues. On the east side of the Qiangpa Temple is the Great Weed Hall (Jeju Lakang), where the main eleven-faced Vajra bullhead statue is provided, and there are also statues of the gods such as the gods of Yiyang, Bairam (auspicious goddess), and the king of Langse Duowen. . Sutra books are placed on both sides of the temple.

The two floors of the Tsoqin Hall are for monks. The center of the back is the Qiangba Facial Buddha Hall. On both sides of the Qiangba statue, there are the Gongru Gyaltsen Sambuling Pagoda, the Jedi Chuji Village Ling Pagoda, and a Zunsheng Pagoda. On both sides of the Buddha Hall is the Hall of Mercy, with a small area. The main offering is for the Thousand Hands and Thousand Eyes Guanyin, as well as bronze statues of Tara and Six-armed King Kong. The third and fourth floors are the rooms of the Khenpo Tripa (Fatai) of the Tsoqin Hall, the place where the sutra hall and the “Laji” (the management agency of the Sera Monastery) are public, and the rooms where the Dalai Lama came to the temple to give lectures. There is a roof truss on the fourth floor, crowned with a Xieshan-style golden roof. The roof ridge is decorated with treasure plates, orbs, inverted buildings, and a human body. The four horns are decorated with Capricorn fish heads. The eaves add to the religious atmosphere of the hall.

Je Dratsang

Gizacang is the largest dharcang in Sera Monastery, with an area of ​​1702 square meters, second only to Tsoqin Hall. It was first built in 1435 and its founder was Gongjuluozhen Rinchen Sangge. After the Rinchen Sangha was a Tibetan, he worshipped Shakya as a teacher when he was young. Later, he learned from Tsongkhapa, tantric teachings, and built Jizakang according to the wishes of Tsongkhapa (the ancestor of the Gelug sect). Ren Khenpo (abbot). Jizacang is four stories high, and there are 100 pillars in the sutra hall alone. Thangkas, umbrella covers, and curtains are hung in the scripture hall, and the biographies of Sakyamuni and various statues of Dharma protectors are painted on the surrounding walls. 

There are many spiritual towers and statues in the north of the temple. There are many spiritual towers and statues in the north of the temple. From east to west, there are the silver pagoda of the second descending god, the stupa of Deqin Shibalambu (famous Geshe), the stupa of Lobsang Tashi (the Ganden Monastery), and the stupa of Thadi Qinjiu·Qianbai Cuizhen (Famous Geshe) Ling Pagoda, Zambuwa Lobsang Gyatzan (the 28th Division) Ling Pagoda, Dazimwang Ngawang Qudan (Rezhen first-generation living Buddha), first-generation Zadi Qusang Living Buddha Stupa, Chiqin Danba Raojie (the second generation of Rezhen Living Buddha) Stupa. Among the many stupas, the 8th Dalai Lama (Chiang Bai Gyatso), the 13th Dalai Lama (Tuteng Gyatso), the 2nd and 9th Rezhen Living Buddhas, and the Gizacang are also enshrined. Some famous statues of eminent monks and living Buddhas. There are 5 Buddhist halls in the west and north of the scripture hall: The Temple of the Third Buddha is located on the west side, where the past, present, and future Buddhas of the past, present, and the future are enshrined and the statues of the Eight Buddhas are enshrined; Founder Luozhen Rinqin’s statue of the horse head vajra, as well as the statues of the gods such as Yishen and Wrath, there are many hideous masks on the beams and walls, which are extremely terrifying; the master of the Qiangpa Temple offers the Qiangpa Buddha , Eleven-faced Guanyin and other statues; Tsongkhapa Hall is dedicated to Master Tsongkhapa, and there are also statues of senior monks in Jizhacang; Miaoyin Hall (Jiashi Lakang) is located in the northeast corner of the Jingtang, and the main house is for the bronze statue of Miaoyin.

There are two Buddhist temples on the second floor of Jizacang: On the west side is the Face Hall (Xiere Lakang), which is dedicated to the face of Jizacang’s protector of the horse head King Kong: on the east side is the Guanyin Temple (Jianre Sai Lakang). For the statue of Guanyin Bodhisattva. There is also a Zunsheng Hall (Langjielakang) on ​​the third floor. The Buddha statues offered are no longer there. In the middle of the fourth floor is the bedroom where the Dalai Lai Temple lectures, and on both sides are the houses of Dachang Khenpo (the abbot) and other managers.

Mey Dratsang

Mezhacang is an early building of Sera Monastery. It was built in 1419 and was built for the founder of the temple, Sakyamuni. It is said that the original temple was destroyed by lightning and was rebuilt by Gongchen Qiangqupemba in 1761. The area is 1620 square meters. There are 8 long pillars and 62 short pillars in the scripture hall. The main offering is the bronze statue of Sabian Muni. The statues listed on both sides include the future Buddha, the immeasurable Buddha, the medicine Buddha, the Miaoyin Bodhisattva, and the three masters of Tsongkhapa. Bronze statues, such as the seventh Bodhisattva, the three masters and apprentices of Tsongkhapa, the seventh Dalai Lama, the third generation of Cemerin Living Buddha (Gongjue Tempe Gyatsen), and the Living Buddha of Pabangka.

There are 4 shrines on the north side of the scripture hall: the westernmost is the Dharma-protecting Shrine (Teulakang), which is dedicated to the protector god “Tewu”. Tewu is placed in the shrine in the hall, showing only the upper body, and the niche door is carved with flying clouds and dancing. A pair of human skeletons, dozens of skeletons are carved on both sides of the door; the guardian god in the niche has his eyes open and his mouth is open; the six-armed Vajra, Bai Yishang, 13-faced Bullhead Vajra, and Wrath are enshrined in the temple. Statues such as gods are also mighty and terrifying, and the whole hall is full of mysterious and terrifying atmosphere. On the east side of the Dharma Protector Temple are the Luohan Temple (Naideng Lakang), Shakyamuni Temple (Zulakang) and Tsongkhapa Temple (Zongkalakang). There are 16 Arhats and Shakyamuni Buddha in the temple. And the statue of Master Tsongkhapa. 

On the second floor of Maizhacang there are the Temple of the Sun (Nyima Lakang) and the Ganzhuer Jingdian (Kanjul Lakang). There are 108 “Gan Shuer” written in gold powder and other classics in the original collection of Ganzhuer Lakang, which were lost during the “Cultural Revolution”; there are thousands of small bronze statues of Tara in the Buddhist cabinet in the current hall. The Dalai Lama bedroom is in the middle of the third floor, and Dha Cang Qiangcui’s residence and office are on both sides.

Ngaba Dratsang

Ngaba Dratsang is the early building of Sera Monastery and the Tantric School of Sera Monastery. It was founded by Jamchen Choejay Sakya Yeshi in 1419. At that time, it was used as the Tsochen Hall of Sera Monastery. In 1710, the current Tsochen Hall was changed to Dratsang. The area is 1517 square meters. It is three floors high and consists of a sutra hall and 4 Buddhist halls. The scripture hall has 4 long pillars and 42 short pillars. The main Statue of Shakya Yeshi is also missing. On both sides, there are Gongruojian Village Sangbu, Trichen Tenba Rangji, Jetsun Choekyi Gyaltsen, and Tsongkhapa. The statues of the Buddha and the 13th Dalai Lama.

There are frescoes on the four walls of the scripture hall, including the biography of Sakyamuni, the six majesty (namely, dragon tree, holy sky, Wuzhe, Shiqin, Chenna, and Dharma name), the dense King Kong, and the western world of happiness. The Arhat Hall (Naideng Lakang) on ​​the north side of the scripture hall enshrines Sakyamuni, the eighteen Arhats, the four heavenly kings, the Horse Head King Kong (the incarnation of the compassionate Guanyin), and the God of Wrath (shown by the Buddha when he casts demons and removes obstacles.” Dharmakaya”) and other statues. On the east side of the Luohan Temple is the Great Weed Hall (Jeji Lakang), which offers the statue of Great Weed (the protector of the Gelug Sect). It is said that the statue of Sakyamuni was also made by the post- Tibetan sculptor Xia Aiwa. The belly of the statue contained a thumb of Jerozhawa. After the sculpture was completed, Sakyamuni personally presided over the consecration and chanting ceremony. There are statues of Auspicious Goddess, Six-Armed Yishen God, Four-Armed Yishen God, Duowen Heavenly King, and White Brahma Heavenly King on both sides.
The second floor of Abazacang is the monk’s room and the Wuliangguang Buddha Hall (Wimba Buddhism Lacan). The temple houses the alloy statue of the Wuliangguang Buddha, the Sangbubao Yinling Pagoda in Gongruojian Village, and the Bao Yinling Pagoda in Jezun Qujiejian Village. There is also a Pagoda of Shansi built by Lazang Khan (? ~1717, the leader of the Mongolian Heshuote nobles in the Qing Dynasty). The third floor is mainly used as Dalai’s bedroom.

  03  PART Temple Regulations  

The detailed study rules and regulations of the five major theories of the temple are basically the same as those of the Gan and Zhe temples, but the class classification, number, name, age, etc., each has its own different characteristics.

01Although Qi and Mai Erzhacang each have thirteen classes, they are named differently. Ruqie Dacang: three photography classes, three years; five paramita classes, five years; two middle school classes, two years in total, four years; two law classes, two years Two years each for a total of four years; two Jushe seminars for two years each for a total of four years; one Garangba class for two to three years. It will take about 22 years in total.

02The thirteen classes in Semezhacang are: one photography class, two years; six paramita classes, seven years in total; two middle school classes, two years in total for four years; law class Two, two years each for a total of four years; two Jushebans, two years each for a total of four years; although there is no special Garangba class, it has been merged into one class, which lasts for one to two years. The whole learning process will take 23 to 24 years in total.

The believers near Lhasa were ordained when they were 7 years old. When they first entered the monastery, they must first memorize the chants and practices of the conference and Dhacang, as well as the theory of photography, the theory of the solemnity of the view, and the theory of entering the middle. It takes two years. It was only when he was 10 years old that he officially began to study the five majors. After completing thirteen classes one by one, he was about 23 years old when he was named Li Geshe. By the time Geshe was more than 30 years old. A single monk who came to study from remote monasteries in Kham, Amdo, Mongolia, etc., came to the monastery as a monk to Geshe, and was about 43 or 44 years old. Che and Mey Dratsang only add individual Rajangpa quotas every six or seven years. Normally, there are only four Rajangpas in each of the two Dratsang. Entering Garangbaban, you can’t take up the post of Geshe Larangba without waiting for two or three years.

Geshe Rangbazhong who meets the score standard during the examination and debate in the Dazhao Temple in the communication room can enter the upper or lower tantric school to practice tantric rituals and learn various lectures. A few years later, he served as a few punk expensive, three years of Lama Wengze, three years of secret courtyard khenpo, at least about seven years of retiring Khenpo, seven years of Eastern and Northern Falun Gong, and then ascended to Gandenchi. Pakistan is seated for a seven-year term. Except for a few wise men who served as Geshe Rajangpa, most of them were over sixty years old when they served as Ganden Tripa, and some were over 70 years old.
In addition, there are a group of famous religious saints. Among them, some people combined speaking, debating, and writing to make great deeds for the Buddha’s deeds, cultivated countless believers with predestined relationships, and made outstanding contributions to safeguard the unity of the motherland and strengthen national unity. This person resided in Xi’an monastery, taught Buddhist scriptures throughout his life, and trained many successors. After mastering the scriptures, some people have not fixed the secluded places, practiced the teaching methods, achieved achievements, and set an example. Some people, after studying the classics and becoming tantric Geshes, returned to their hometowns, upheld and promoted Buddhism, and wrote detailed accounts of the sages and the religious history of the temples.

Collection of cultural relics  

Sera Monastery contains a large number of cultural relics, Buddha statues, thangkas, scriptures, rituals, offerings, etc., which are extremely precious. According to the “History of the Ming Dynasty”, when Sakyamuni was also lost in the 14th year of Yongle in the Ming Dynasty (AD 1416), when he returned to Tibet from Beijing, the emperor gave “Buddhist scriptures, statues, staffs, monk clothes, silks, gold and silver objects”. There are 108 letters of the Tripitaka (engraved with Zhu) from Ming Chengzu and the eighteen arhats and the four heavenly kings carved in sandalwood; there is also a colored tapestry statue of Sakyamuni, which is 109 cm long and 64 cm wide, with a border. It is 180 cm long and 90 cm wide, wearing a cassock, wearing a five-square Buddha hat, sitting on the bed, and a canopy on the head. Although it has been more than 500 years, it is still bright in color. It is now in the Tibet Museum; there is a sculpture of Pubujue Awang Jiangyang. The statues of the three masters and apprentices, the listening Manjushri statue and Lazang Khan’s compassionate Buddha statue; there are more than 200 letters in the Tuqilakang in the Tsochin Hall to copy the “Ganjur” and “Tanjur” 》Classic; in the ligation warehouse there is a pair of bronze cymbals carved with the “two dragons playing with beads” pattern and the words “Da Ming Xuande plus gold and silver”. The four walls in the hall are full of various styles of armor, bows and arrows, shields, and hats. It is said that these weapons are from the 9th generation of Ye Fan Zanpu (Budai Gongjia) period, and can “suppress demons and avoid evil.” In addition, there are tens of thousands of gold and bronze Buddha statues made in Tibet, brass Buddha statues from India, Buddhist classics, murals, thangkas, and rituals in the Sera Monastery. 

In Tuqilakan, another Buddhist hall of the Tsoqin Hall, there are more than 200 Ganjur and Tanjur sutras written with golden sweat on the sand. In the Gangshukang Buddha Hall in Jizacang, there is a collection of the first bronze cymbal with the pattern of “Two Dragons Playing with Beads” engraved on the cymbal, and the words “Ming Xuande plus gold and silver”. In addition, in Tenzin Lacan in Gizacang, all kinds of armor, bows, shields, hats, etc. are hung on the surrounding walls. According to legend, these were weapons used by the ninth generation of Tibetan kings in Tibet, capable of “suppressing evil spirits.” In addition to the above cultural relics, it is said that the temple also contains eighteen sandalwood carved arhats given by the emperor of the Ming Dynasty.

  Legend of Sera Monastery

There are two theories about the origin of the name of Sera Monastery: One said that the temple had severe hail during its foundation and construction. Hail was pronounced “Sera” in Tibetan, so the temple was named “Sera Monastery” after it was built. It is called “Hail Temple”; it is said that the temple was built in a place where wild roses bloomed, so it was named “Sera Temple”. The Tibetan pronunciation of wild roses is also “Sala”. The full name of the temple is “Sera Mahayana Temple”.

  06  PART Tourism Resources  

Main Buddhist events

Sera Monastery has a grand festival called “Sera Bengchen”, which means the unique Vajra Blessing Festival in Sera Monastery. It is said that at the end of the 15th century AD, a vajra, known as the Flying Pestle, came from India, and was enshrined in the Tenzin Protector of Dharma on December 27th by the Khenpo Dhacang. In the past, according to the custom, every early morning of December 27th, the “enforcement agents” who stuttered and drew on a fast horse sent the vajra to the Potala Palace and presented it to the Dalai Lama. After the Dalai Lama blessed the vajra, hurry up. The horse was sent back to Sera Monastery. At this time, stammering Dhacang Khenpo ascended to the throne, holding the vajra to bless the monks and all the worshippers in the monastery, to show the blessing of the Buddha, Bodhisattva and Dharma protector. There are tens of thousands of believers who come to Sera Monastery every year to wait for their heads and blessings.

Highlights of travel

The most famous statue is the King Kong Statue of Horse Head Ming King. In the four-story Jizhacang Dharma Protector Temple, walk straight into the main hall, pass a row of small halls, and the innermost one is. The locals would stick their heads into a small shrine and touch the base of the statue with their heads.

The emperor bestowed the Shakya also lost. The 108 letters “Kanzhuer” in Beijing printed with cinnabar in 1410 (the existing 105 letters) is the most precious. It is not only exquisitely made, but also the first to be printed with engraving. Tibetan Tripitaka.
You can see the entire Sera Monastery from a bird’s-eye view at the Buddha Tan in the northeast of Sera Monastery. Every year on the Seton Festival, the Buddha drying ceremony is held here. 
Debating scriptures is a discussion of Buddhist knowledge, and it can also be said to be a way of learning for lamas. The monks of Sera Monastery have a sutra-monitoring activity every day. This is a challenging debate. Debtors often use various gestures to increase the intensity of the debate. They either high-five and urge the other party to answer questions as soon as possible, or pull the beads to express the power of the Buddha to defeat the other party. 

As one of the three major temples in Lhasa, Sera Monastery may not be as grand and colorful as Drepung Monastery, but the debate activities here are definitely very distinctive.

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