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Sera Monastery

Sera Monastery

Sera Monastery (Chinese pinyin: Se la si) is located in a northern suburb 3 kilometers from Lhasa. It is one of the three great monasteries of Tibet, the other two being Ganden Monastery and Drepung Monastery.

Sera Monastery was created in 1419 by Jamchen Chojey, a disciple of Tsong Khapa (a famous teacher of Tibetan Buddhism whose activities led to the formation of the yellow hat sect). The name of the monastery “Sera” comes from the fact that the site, before the monastery was built was covered with wild roses.

With an area of about 115,000 meters squared, the Sera Monastery once housed 8,000 monks. At the monastery there are colleges, residential rooms, and Doctrine Halls inside the monastery. Additionally, Scriptures, colorful statues and murals can be found. Zhacang, which translates to Buddhist College in Tibetan, plays a significant role in the study of Buddhist classics. There are three Zhacangs (colleges) in the monastery: Ngagpa Dratsang (Tantric College), Sera Mey College, and Sera Jey College.

As one of the three main monasteries of Lhasa, it is in Sera Monastery that monks fiercely debate about Buddhist scriptures. Lama debating begins at 3:00 except for Sunday and is held in the courtyard of Sera Monastery. Lamas must participate in debating to strengthen their comprehension and further advance their levels of study.

With a long history, the debating tradition in the Sera Monastery is distinctive among the three famous monasteries in Lhasa. Besides verbal debating, the monks supplement their efforts by applying gestures, such as clapping their hands or pushing their partners for an answer.

Visiting Sera Monastery can allow tourists to experience the religious and cultural atmosphere in Tibet.

The gardens are great spots to have a picnic because they are a beautiful venue for theaters and festivals, especially the Shoton Festival in June.The yogurt banquet is the liveliest festival of summer in Tibet. During this festival, Tibetan Opera is performed in Norbulingka, thus it is also named the “Tibetan Opera Festival.”

Norbulingka Park has significant cultural value. Not only does it embrace nature, but also reflects the ethnic and religious enclaves of the Tibet.