Why is the Sera Monastery special?
Located at the foot of Taipu Hill, Sera Monastery is one of the three most famous monasteries in Lhasa. Nestled beneath the mountain, it consists of a Buddhist temple, sutra recitation hall and monastery, monastic house, and the famous Living Buddhas’ palace. The well-ordered architecture is in tune with its natural surroundings.
Sera Monastery Highlights
The monastery is made up of a tsokchen (Great Hall), three tratsangs (colleges that offer specialised studies) and thirty khangtsens (residential compounds with chapels reserved for monks coming from different areas of Tibet).
The tsokchen is Sera's largest building and the administrative center of the monastery. Built in 1710, the central assembly hall houses a statue of Sakya Yeshe, the founder of Sera, flanked by sculptures of the Fifth and Thirteenth Dalai Lamas.
Sera Je Tratsang is the monastery's largest college and was responsible for the instruction of itinerant monks from outside the region. The famous debating courtyard is located with this tratsang.
Sera Me Tratsang specializes in teaching novices the fundamental precepts of Buddhism. Its assembly hall is famed for a copper sculpture of Sakyamuni (Historical Buddha) as well as for murals adorning the numerous chapels.
Debating of Buddhist Doctrines
With several hundred monks currently in residence, one of the most interesting times to visit the monastery is in the afternoon when monks, after finishing their morning scripture classes, can be seen debating in the courtyard.
They debate Doctrines every day: it’s a discussion of Buddhism to share knowledge as well as a challenging debate and a battle of words and wits. They use all kinds of gestures in order to strengthen their argument. You will be deeply affected by the intense atmosphere.