Shalu Monastery, also Schalu Kloster, situated 20 kilometers (12 miles) southeast of Shigatse, is a perfect combination of Han and Tibet architectural styles. It was built in 1087 by Jigzun Xerab Qoinnyai.
In 1320, it was administered by Master Purdain Renqen Zhuba, a renowned religious scholar who compiled the Tenjur sutra, one of the classic woks of Tibetan Budhism. It is said that about 3,800 monks were drawn to his teaching. Therefore, the monastery became a holy site for many worshipers. In 1329, it was destroyed in an earthquake. It was rebuilt in 1333 under the patronage of one emperor of the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368).
'Shalu' means 'new bud' in Tibetan Language. An interesting anecdote lies behind the name of the monastery. A monk named Jigzun Xerab Qoinnyai wanted to build a monastery to spread doctrines of Tibetan Buddhism. He consulted his teacher about the construction site. His teachers suggested that the monastery should be built where a shooting arrow fell. The arrow fell in a new bud, hence the name of Shalu Monastery.
The four treasures enhanced the charm of Shalu Monastery. The first treasure is the printing board of Tibetan Buddhist scripture. It is made up of 108 blocks of sandalwood and has a long history of 700 years. Having a piece of the sutra board is believed to be very lucky by worshipers.
The second is a holy jar made of brass. It is covered and sealed by a piece of red cloth. The water in the jar is said to be the purest water in the world. The water, renewed every 12 years, can cure 108 kinds of diseases and cleanse away filth and dirt.
The third is a stone tablet inscribed with six characters. Its edge is engraved with four delicate small pagodas, which were excavated during the construction of the monastery.
The fourth treasure is a huge stone like a basin. It is said the basin would not overflow even if filled on the rainiest day. The Living Buddha Jigzun Xerab Qoinnyai who built the Shalu Monastery always washed his face in the stone basin.
In 1988, Shalu Monastery was promoted to a key national cultural protection unit. Now, it has become an important site for both tourists and religious worshipers.
Location: 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of Shigatse.
Ticket: CNY 20
Opening hours: 09:00 to 18:00