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Drepung Monastery

Drepung Monastery

Situated at the foot of Mount Gephel and 5 kilometers from the western suburb of Lhasa, Drepung Monastery (Chinese pinyin: Zhe bang si) is the largest monastery in the world. Being one of the three great monasteries of Tibet, Drepung Monastery takes up an area of 250, 000 square meters. It once housed 10, 000 monks. Today the population at the monastery is less than a thousand monks.

Founded in 1416 by a disciple of Tsongkhapa named Jamyang Chojey, Drepung Monastery is one of the most important monasteries of Gelugpa in Tibetan Buddhism.

“Drepung” means “Piling up rice” in Tibetan. Seen from the distance, its grand and white construction gives the monastery the appearance of a pile of rice.

The buildings of the monastery are centered on two magnificent white pagodas. There are seven great colleges in Drepung Monastery: Gomang, Loseling, Deyang, Shagkor, Gyelwa or Tosamling, Dulwa, and Ngagpa. These lines of colleges emphasize on different fields of Buddhism. Several courtyards among the dense forests are the places for the monks to debate on the Buddhist scriptures.

The numerous cultural relics stored in Drepung Monastery add to its prestige. The exquisite statues and colorful murals on the walls all present the profound wisdom of the Tibetans.