Legends about Jokhang Temple
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Legends about Jokhang Temple

Update: Feb. 1st, 2013

Jokhang Temple

Jokhang Temple is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery. It was built by Songtsen Gampo to commemorate the event of Princess Bhrikuti coming to Tibet. Until now, it has over 1350 years' history. In the main hall of Jokhang Temple, the twelve-year-old statue of Sakyamuni is enshrined in the middle, with statues of Songtsen Gampo, Princess Wencheng and Nepal Princess Bhrikuti on both sides. About the construction of Jokhang Temple, there are three magical legends.

Legends about Jokhang Temple ?

At first, the site of Jokhang Temple was a lake. Songtsen Gampo ever promised Princess Bhrikuti on the bank of this lake that to built a lake at the place where ring drop off. It is unexpected that the ring fallen into the lake. Suddenly, the lake is covered by light net, and a white pagoda appeared in the light net. Then, a grand project which used thousands white goats to carry construction materials started.

Legends about Jokhang Temple ?

Princess Wencheng and Prince Bhrikuti separately brought a precious statue of Sakyamuni to Tibet. As the most precious dowry, the Princess Bhrikuti from Nepal brought the eight-year-old statue of Sakyamuni, and the Princess Wencheng brought the twelve-year-old statue of Sakyamuni. Tibetans think that these two statues of Sakyamuni are the earliest Buddha statues in the snow-covered plateau. In order to enshrine these to Buddha statues, Songtsen Gampo decided to build the earliest Buddhist construction in Tibetan Buddhism history. That's Jokhang Temple and Ramoche Monastery.

Legends about Jokhang Temple ?

According to legends, the Jokhang Temple was ever submerged by water for several times during its construction process. Princess Wencheng explained that the whole Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is an enchantress lying on her back (if you can go to visit Tibetan Museum in your Tibet tour, you are recommended to enjoy an ancient Thangka which tells the story of Princess Wencheng calculating the landform of Tubo). This enchantress was in the shape of human, with head facing east and legs facing west. The lake where Jokhang Temple is located on was the heart of this enchantress, and the water in the lake is her blood. Hence, Princess Wencheng said that the Jokhang Temple must be built by filling up the lake to suppress the heart of the enchantress. Later, Princess Wencheng also recommended building other twelve small monasteries in remote districts to suppress the four limbs and each joint of this enchantress. Hence, there were thirteen monasteries built.

Based on the location chosen by Princess Wencheng, the lake must be filled up before building monastery. At that time, people mainly used goat to carry sand and soil bags. In fact, the present name of Lhasa also changed from Jokhang Temple. At first, Lhasa was named Rasa. "Ra" means goat, and "sa" means soil. The name of Rasa means the place built by goat. Later, the monastery was built there, and it enshrined Buddha statues, scripture and Buddhist pagoda, and various pilgrims came here, hence people think it is a Buddhist place. Consequently, the name was changed to Lhasa which means Buddhist place in Tibetan Language.

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