Sera Monastery

Sera Monastery 400
Sera Monastery on a clear day.
Photo by: Royr, Creative Commons

A quick trip to the Sera Monastery will immerse you on the Tibetan Buddhism traditions that are followed in China. Along with Drepung Monastery, and Ganden Monastery, this place completes the 3 most important monasteries of Lhasa City. You will be taken to a deep experience of Gelugpa tradition under Tibetan Buddhism.

Sera means “wild rose” in the Tibetan language and was called that because the place was full of wild roses when the monastery was erected in 1419 (Ming Dynasty). The monastery occupies 114,946 square meters of land area and houses 3 main buildings: Coqen Hall, Kamcun (Dormitory), and Zhacang (College). Each of the building halls are full of religious statues with inscriptions written in powdered gold.

The Coqen Hall of the Sera Monastery holds the unique volumes of Chinese sutras that date back to the Ming Dynasty. The Coqen Hall houses five chapels giving honor to 5 Buddha’s: Arhats, Tsong Khapa, Kwan-yin, Maitreya, and Sakyamuni.

The Kamcun is a series of dormitories that serve as the resting and eating place for the Buddhist monks in Lhasa. The halls are used for doctrine reading. There are about 33 dormitories. Each “Kamcun” vary in size and holds a certain number of monks at a time.

The Zhacang is a Buddhist College where monks study Buddhist doctrines and classics. There are 3 colleges inside the monastery: Me, Je, and Ngaba. Me Zhacang is the oldest college and preserves the oldest classics. In Je Zhacang, the Hayagriva doctrine is expertly explains. The Ngaba Zhacang aims to worship the founder, Jamchen Chojey.

If you can catch it, the debates of Buddhist doctrines employed in distinctive styles that only the place can employ are interesting sights to observe. The Sera monastery is a repository of old age traditions that even modern tourists can appreciate.

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