Ani Tsankhung Monastery
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Ani Tsankhung Monastery

Update: Jan. 7th, 2013

Ani Tsankhung Monastery

Ani Tsankhung Monastery is a Buddhist nunnery with special tradition and style in Lhasa. It is the paradise of Buddhist nuns and also the best place for the female followers of Buddhism to study the culture and history of Buddhism. Ani Tsankhung Monastery cultivated several outstanding celebrities, including the famous female living Buddha Samding Dorjepam in Tibet. There are about 100 nuns in the monastery.

Ani Tsankhung Monastery – Brief Introduction

The nuns in Ani Tsankhung Monastery would chant the Buddhism scriptures at 8:00 a.m every day and the chanting would be end at the nightfall. There are several large-scale collective chanting every month.

Ani Tsankhung Monastery is relatively small compared to the other famous monasteries in Tibet. There are beautiful stone stairs in front of the main entrance of the monastery. Though it covers a small area, Ani Tsankhung Monastery is characterized by clean and tidy, it seemed that everything here is in perfect order. Tourists here would be attracted by the row of prayer wheels facing the entrance of the monastery.

Ani Tsankhung Monastery – History

It is said that Ani Tsankhung Monastery could be dated back to the 7th century – Tubo Kingdom Period. There is a legend goes that there were frequent floods in summer during that period. The farmland and villages on both banks of Lhasa River were always destroyed by the disastrous floods. To prevent the floods, Songtsen Gampo dug a hole at upper reaches of Lhasa River. He prayed peace and safety for the people in the hole. Later, people called that hole Tsankhung which means "hole" in Tibetan.

In the 12th century, Geywabem – a famous highly skilled doctor cultivated himself in Tsankhung and made great achievements. He made Tsankhung enjoyed greater reputation. In the 15th century, a famous disciple of Master Tsongkhapa constructed Ani Tsankhung Monastery on the base of that hole. Then the monastery was expanded gradually.

Ani Tsankhung Monastery – Cultural Relics

The main building of Ani Tsankhung Monastery is a two-storey construction. The upstairs is act as the assembly hall of the monastery. Just as other Buddhism monasteries in Tibet, Ani Tsankhung Monastery was decorated with various murals. Thangkas of Avalokitesvara, Bodhisattva and Master Tsongkhapa are enshrined in the monastery. Some of these Thangkas could be dated back to Ming and Qing dynasties.

The hole where Songtsen Gampo prayed for the people under the main assembly hall of Ani Tsankhung Monastery is widely known. The statue of Songtsen Gampo is enshrined in the hole. There are three nuns taking care of the hole everyday. This ancient and holy hole keeps attracting a large quantity of Buddhism followers here for pilgrimage and is highly respected by Tibetan people.

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