Sera Monastery

As one of the 'Three Great Monastery' of the Yellow Hat Sect, Sere Monastery is located at the foot of Tatipu Hill, some 3 kilometers (about 1.86 miles) north from Potala Palace. The monastery was originally constructed in 1419 by Sakya Yeshe, one of the disciples of Tsong Khapa who was sent to meet Emperor Yongle of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) on behalf of Tsong Khapa, and was entitled Dharma King of Great Mercy. Emperor Yongle also awarded him many sutras, statues of Buddha, frocks, silk as well as gold and silver by which Sakya Yeshe was able to build the Sera Monastery.

In the northeastern part of the monastery lies the four-storey Coqen Hall. It contains a square, an assembly hall and five Buddha halls. The statues of Maitreya and Sixteen Arhats can be seen here. The first wooden carving and painting sutra, donated by Emperor Yongle is another treasure to be found here. Sera Monastery has three Zhacangs (or tantric colleges). Sera Je Zhacang is also a four-storey building in which the Hynagriva, horse-headed demon-god, is worshiped. Ngagpa Zhacang was once the Coqen Hall of Sera Monstery. It manly consists of four Buddha halls, the residence of the Dalai Lama and Stupa-tombs. It was the place where monks both learned and practiced Tantra. The chanting hall of Sera Me Zhacang is truly remarkable, with resplendent and magnificent murals adorning every conceivable corner of the hall.


Sera Monastery is also famous for its Tantric teaching. Monks debate every afternoon in Debating Garden to practice their tantra. What's more, a rock not far away from Sera is the location where Tibetans make 'sky burial'. According to local tradition, the dead of the common people will be dissected and feed to birds, thus purifying their soul. In respect this local custom, visitors are forbidden access to this area.

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