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Sera Monastery

Overview

Sera Monastery, with the other two Ganden Monastery and Drepung Monastery, are the "great three" Gelukpa university monasteries in Tibet. It is one of the six main Gelukpa (Yellow Hat) monasteries. In 1982, Sera Monastery was listed as one of China's National Cultural Relics since 1982.



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The monastery is located in the northern outskirt of Lhasa. It occupies an area of 100,000 square meters, and accommodate about 600 monks. While there were about 8,000 monks in its peak days.  It is said that a kind of wild rose (sera in Tibetan) growing around the original Sera monastery, hence the name Sera Monastery. 


Sera monastery is magnificent, and quite unique style from other monasteries in Lhasa. Sera Monastery covering an area of 28 acres. Its main buildings are the Coqen Hall, Zhacang (college) and Kamcun (dormitory). There are many Buddha statues and beautiful murals in the halls. 


The Sera Bengqin Festival is a grand festival held in the Sera Monastery on December 27 of the Tibetan calendar (about February in the Gregorian calendar). On the day of the festival, a Dorje Pestle is carried to the Potala Palace. The Dalai Lama prays to the Buddha to confer strength and then he blesses the pestle. Following this, the Khenpo (president) of the Ngaba Zhacang (school) will place the pestle on the monks and their followers. These believe that the power and support of the Buddha are then transferred to them. Tens of thousands of Buddhists come to witness this event as it only occurs at the Sera Monastery.


Debate of Monks

Every day at around 15:00pm (excluding Sunday), there will be a Buddist doctrines debate hold by the monastery. The debate is held at the open ground of the countyyard. A monk will slap his hands heavily and point to another monk to start the debate, it is an important way of learning buddhist sutras and scriptures.

Note: The debate starts at 15:00PM or so, and it could be crowded. Visitors need to keep quiet so as not to distrub the monks. Taking photos of the monks is chargeable but reasonable fee.   


Thangka Unveiling

Thangka Unveiling is an important trandition of Sera Monastery and many other monasteries in Tibet. During most important ocassion-- Shoton Festival, the grand ceremony of sunning the Buddha is held at Sera Monastery, a large Buddha immage on the Thangka will be paved on the hillside and be prayed by pilgrims. 


Murals

There are a lot of wall paintings in the halls, and you are recommended to take a flashlight to discover the mysterious paintings.


Travel Tiips

1)From 9:00 to 16:00, it's open to tourists.

2)Buddhism debating usually starts at 15:00.

3)You have to pay RMB10~30 for photo taking inside monastery.

4)After entering the temple, you must walk clockwise from left to right.

5)Obey Buddhist manners and talk appropriately.