Drepung Monastery, Lhasa, Tibet
Drepung Monastery Pictures
The monastery was established in 1416 by Tsong Khapa's disciple Jamyang Qoigyi, who was versed in both Esoteric and Exotoric Buddhism and became the first Kampo there. With the support of plutocrats, it developed as the richest of its kind of Gelugpa and became the mother temple of Dalai Lamas. In 1546, the third Dalai was welcomed as the first Living Buddha into it. At the invitation of Mongolia's king, he went to Qinghai Province to preach. He was dignified with the title 'the third Dalai Lama' the first and second Dalai were entitled, too. It is the very place that the second, third, and the fourth Dalai Lama held the Sitting-in-Bed Ceremony, as well as the residence of the fifth Dalai before his nomination by the government of the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911).
|Buddha Unfolding Festival|
The organizational hierarchy of the monastery is rather complex. The main branches of the organization consist of Coqen, Zhacang, Kamcun, and Myicun. Coqen is in the highest position, to which Zhacang belongs, and Kamcun is under the jurisdiction of Zhacang, with the Myicun as its subordinate. Monks belonging to respective Zhacangs cannot interblend with each other.
The education system in Zhacangs is set up such that, every year there are eight chances to study the sutra collectively, each time spanning from half a month to a month. Monks are tested before the Kampo in the method of reciting sutras and debating, and based on their performance; receive the degrees of different levels.
The ground of the monastery is organized on the caves and temples for Jamyang Qoigyi, together with two magnificent white pagodas. The buildings here then are centered on these pagodas, The major buildings are Ganden Potrang, Coqen Hall, the four Zhacangs (or Tantric colleges), and Kamcuns.
The Ganden Potrang, in the southwest corner, was built under the supervision of the second Dalai Lama Gendun Gyaco around the year of 1530. It became the residence of the second, third, fourth, and the fifth Dalai Lamas. After the fifth Dalai Lama moved to the Potala Palace, it was served as the meeting place for the local regime for both politics and religion.
The monastery is composed of 4 Zhacangs, functioning as the sutra-learning places and the subordinate organization. Loseling Zhacang is the largest with the most lamas. The Loseling, Gomang, and Deyang Zhacang focus on the Esoteric Buddhism, while the Ngaba Zhacang on the Exotoric Buddhism.
Several courtyards in the dense forests on the grounds there are used for monks to debate on the sutras. The courtyards sites are always chosen near Zhacang and various trees are grown. After enduring the debating period in both Zhacang and the entire monastery, the winner will obtain the qualification to attend the test for the senior degree of Geshi.
The Drepung Monastery houses many cultural relics, which adorn and make it more superb. Statues of Manjushri Bodhisattva, and Sitatapatra found on the first storey of the Coqen Hall, rare sutras on the second storey and Jamyang Qoigyi's conch shell given by Tsong Khapa on the third one, all add to the wonderment. Exquisite statues of Tsong Khapa, Kwan-yin Bodhisattva, Manjushri Bodhisattva, Amitayus, and Jamyang Qoigyi in other sutra halls, as well as flowery murals on walls also fully present the wisdom of the Tibetan people.
|Admission Fee:||CNY 55|
|Recommended Time for a Visit:||Three hours|
|Transportation:||The best way is to take a taxi which costs about CNY 20|