A Sea Of Red In Larung Gar: Tibet

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Larung Gar Monastery is located in Larung Valley and it is under Serta County of Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan, China. From the east of Serta County at a distance of 20 km. It is the largest Tibetan Buddhist institute in the world, made up of 40,000 monks, nuns and students from different places who are engaged in the study and practice of Dharma.

Monastery

The institute, belonging to the Nyingma sect (red sect) of Tibetan Buddhism, is where tens of thousands of Lamas (local male Buddhists) and Juemus (local female Buddhists) practice monastic study. They practice in red houses, thousands of which look like red dots scattered around this spiritual valley. The surrounding hills of the monastery are also sprinkled with tiny, red, wooden houses built close together. The monks and nuns are separated by a massive wall right across the middle of Larung Gar. Monks and nuns are required to stay in their designated area. Only the area in front of the main monastery assembly hall is open to both.

Aim of the Institute

The aim of the institute can be pursuits at four principles: to unite Buddhist in harmony, to uphold pure precepts, to study and reflect upon and practice the sacred Dharma; finally, to propagate the Dharma and benefit all beings. Based on those principles institute welcome all background of people who are willing to study and practice Tibetan Buddhism at the institution. These days the institution is under the guidance of two respected Khenpos, Khenpo Sodargye and Khenpo Tsultrim Lodro who are the student of Late Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok.

What to See

World monuments of Potala palace and Jokhang temple are still functioning right in the city. It is the historical capital as well as the center of Tibet, every year trucks of local pilgrims visit Lhasa for its holy monasteries and temples which are the main Tibet Lhasa attractions for tourists.

  1. Norbulingka Palace in Lhasa: Norbulingka Palace is located in Lhasa City, Tibetan Autonomous Region. It covers around 36 hectares of area. It is one of the most beautiful landmarks in Tibet.
  2. Tsurphu Monastery:  Tsurphu monastery is the main monastery of Karmapa and it is one of the biggest monasteries of Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism in Tibet.
  3. Tsangkung Nunnery in Lhasa: Ani Tsangkung nunnery is located along the Lingkor pilgrim circuit in Lhasa. It is a place where now female Buddhist followers can still practice the importance of Buddhism.
  4. Barkhor street: Barkhor Street is historically an active place as in the ancient time people get there for divine water from the Milky pool (Othang Tso) that was replaced by the holy temple in the 7th century.
  5. Drepung monastery:  It means“heap of rice” it is named after its formation of huge numbers of white monastic buildings congested on the hillside resemble a heap of rice. Drepung is located north of Lhasa on the Mt. Gephel Utse ridge. It was founded by Tsongkapa’s disciple Jamyang Choje Tashi Palden in 1416 and was once one of the world largest monastery which housed more than 10,000 monks from all over the Tibet.
  6. Ganden Namgyal Ling Monastery: the actual name for the Ganden Monastery which was founded by Tsongkapa (the scholar from Amdo Tsongka and founder of Yellow Hat sect in Tibetan Buddhism) that covers 11,000 square meters. The monastery is situated 45 kilometers away from Lhasa city and locates on the Wangkur Mountain with an altitude of 3900 meters above sea-level. The snow-capped mountains around the monastery is one of breath-takers with an amazing views of tide-mountains and valley straight down the monastery, one lengthy path leads to circulate the monastery from outside with beautiful views and sceneries which Tibetans called Lingkor.
  7. Sera monastery: It was founded in 1419 by Tsongkhapa’s disciple Jamchen Choje Sakya Yeshe, it was built at the base of Mount Phurbochok on which his teacher Tsongkhapa(1357-1419) had established a hermitage called Sera Utse on the ridge above in 1409, Sera monastery is one of the three greatest Gelugpa monastic colleges throughout Tibet, and the other two are Drepung monastery and Ganden monastery, Sera is located about 2km outskirt north of Lhasa, sometime in the history it housed about 6000 monks from all over Tibet.
  8. Jokhang Temple: It is also called Rasa Trulnang Tsuglhak Khang in Tibetan,it is located right in the centre of the old Lhasa encircled by Bakhor street, it is the oldest Buddhist temple in Tibet that erected in 7th century during the reign of king Songtsen Gampo and Samye monastery is the oldest Buddhist monastery that erect in 8thcentury, since then it is one of the focal point of Tibetan pilgrims throughout the Tibetan plateau, a Tibetan saying goes “ trip to Lhasa without visiting Jokhang temple is meaningless”, so in the early days, there is a tradition that every one visit twice to the Jokhang temple on every single trip to Lhasa, one at the arrival and another at the departure.
  9. Potala Palace: It is the most symbolized figure of Tibet and it can be seen almost from everywhere in Lhasa, by standing over the Red Hill (Marpo Ri), 130 meters above the Lhasa valley, the large building consists of 1000 rooms, with chapels, schools, monasteries, jails, government administrative offices, residences and tombs of successive Dalai Lamas made it as a self-contained world. The whole structure is divided into Red Palace(Podrang Marpo) and White Palace(Podrang Karpo) with a distinct color, where the Red Palace was mainly used for ritual purposes, and the White Palace was used for governmental and administration field.

 

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