Tashilhunpo Monastery
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Tashilhunpo Monastery

Update: Jan. 6th, 2013

Tashilhunpo Monastery

Tashilhunpo Monastery is a monastery of Gelug Sect in Tibetan Buddhism. It is located at the slope of Nyima Mountain on the outskirts of Shigatse. Tashilhunpo means fortune and happiness in Tibetan.

Tashilhunpo Monastery is the biggest monastery in Shigatse Prefecture. The monastery acted as the traditional residence of the successive Panchen Lamas after the Fouth Panchen Lama lived here. Gandain Monastery, Sera Monastery, Drepung Monastery and Tashilhunpo Monastery were called the "Four Great Monasteries of Gelug Sect".

Tashilhunpo Monastery – History

Tashilhunpo Monastery was built by Gedun Drub - the disciple of Tsongkhapa (a famous Buddhism philosopher). The Fourth Panchen expanded the monastery later. Tashilhunpo Monastery was expanded gradually since all Panchen Lamas lived here.

In 1791, Tashilhunpo Monastery was attacked and destroyed by Nepalese Gurkha warriors. The invaders were driven out by the government of Chinese Qing Dynasty. The government strengthened the control over Tashilhunpo Monastery and Tibet.

There were more than 4000 monks in Tashilhunpo Monastery at its heyday. It has four Tantric colleges with its own Abbot. These four abbots would search their own incarnation after the death of a Panchen Lama. One of them would act as a prime minister of Shigatse Prefecture under the control of Dalai Lama.

Tashilhunpo Monastery has been an important and attractive tourist attraction in Tibet after it was opened to the public gradually since the early 1980s.

Tashilhunpo Monastery - Architectures

Tashilhunpo Monastery covers an area of 0.15 million square meters. There are 57 chanting halls and 3600 rooms in the monastery. Tashilhunpo Monastery was built against the mountain slope. The construction complex of the monastery looks really magnificent and spectacular.

Main Chanting Hall

The Main Chanting Hall is composed of two connected chapels and the throne of the Panchen Lama. Tara – the goddess who sanctifies the mountain is worshiped in the right chapel. The left chapel is dedicated to Sakyamuni with eight Bodhisattvas.

Panchen Lama's Palace

The living quarters of the Panchen Lama is located on the east side of Tashilhunpo Monastery. Panchen Lama's Palace is called Gudong. Tourists could reach to the temple where the tomb of the Fourth Panchen Lama is located through a narrow courtyard. There are inscriptions which present the holiness of the Fourth Panchen Lama. His stupa tomb is well decorated with jewels and looked very splendid. The stupa tomb is 11 meter high and decorated with 85 kilograms of gold and numerous semi-precious stones. There are also some precious statues and silk Thangkas related to Buddhism or the lives and events of the Panchen Lamas.

Maitreya Hall

Maitreya Hall is the most magnificent building in Tashilhunpo Monastery. It is the tallest building in the monastery. It was built to state a giant statue of Maitreya Buddha (about 26.2 meters high) by the Ninth Panchen Lama in 1914. The statue is made out of 279 kilograms of gold and 0.15 million kilograms of copper. There are also small statues of Maitreya seated at the corners of the chamber.

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