As one of the most important and best-preserved Bon monasteries, the Zezhol Monastery is situated at the Zezhol Mountain about 37 kilometers (23 miles) within Dengqen County. It preserves the most complete traditions of the Bon religion.
In the Bon religion, there are four Holy Mountains - Mt. Gangdise in Ngari, Mt. Benri in Nyingchi, Mt. Zezhol in Chamdo and Mt. Meili in Yulong in Yunnan Province. In history, Bon dominated the Tibetan religion for a long time. After its failure in a contest of sutra debating with Buddhism, it retreated to the remote areas.
In Tibetan, Zezhol refers to the six peaks which represent the six perfections in Buddhism: giving, morality, patience, vigor, meditation and wisdom. According to the sutra, the Zezhol Monastery once served as the dwelling place of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva.
The Zezhol Monastery has a long history of about 3,000 years. During the 14th century, it was rebuilt by a famous hierarch of the Bon religion. Legend has it that Amitabha once preached Buddhism on Mt. Zezhol and predicted that the mountain would play a very important role in the development of the Bon religion and that many great Bon masters would appear there. As expected, about 80 masters of the Bon religion appeared in history. So far, four Buddhist colleges have been established in the monastery by the 43rd Zezhol living Buddha, who was also the abbot of the monastery. In the colleges, monks study Buddhist sutras and practice Buddhism. In addition, the monastery teaches Bon sutras and imparts the method of practicing its mystic Yoga.
The Zezhol Monastery features its holy religious dancing - naked group dancing. Called Heaven and Hell, it is performed every twelve years. This spectacular dancing displays the scene in which Yama (the king of Hell) judges all humans' sins and good deeds and decides where they should go after death. Numerous tourists and Bon followers come to the monastery to appreciate the holy dancing, believing that the religious dancing will bring them rebirth after they die.
How to get to Zezhol Monastery
There is no public bus to the monastery, and visitors can only hire a car. From Dengqen County, the fare is around CNY 500.
|Entrance Fee||CNY 30|
|Opening Hours||8:00 - 19:00|