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Asia - Tibet
05 July 2010

Debating monks at Sera monastery, Tibet

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The Sera monastery is one of the three gelug monastery universities of Tibet. The other two are Ganden and Drepung. The original monastery was located within Lhasa, about 5 kilometres north of the Jokhang temple, but it was destroyed with the Chinese invasion in 1959 and built up in Bylakuppe in India. Sera was founded in 1419 by Jamchen Chojey (Sakya Yeshe). Just like Drepung and Ganden, Sera tough in several kinds of buddhist education and it offered the basis instructions for monks. The in 1959 destroyed monastery was mostly restored by the end of the 20th century and now houses a couple of hundreds of monks, against 5,000 in 1959. Since none of the monks from the Ngagpa Dratsang (Tantrish college) survived the Chinese invasion, only two other colleges (Sera Mey and Sera Jey) were continued in India.

We watched the monks debate in the courtyard. A very interesting sight. Afterwards they all gathered in another building for some kind of congregation, but since our guide had abandoned us we would never know what for (if he had been there we would have known just as little probably, since his English was unintelligible and so was his Chinese according to our Chinese friend).