Sera Monastery, Lhasa
The Sera Monastery is the representative monastery of the Gelugpa of the Tibetan Buddhism. It lies on the southern slope of the Serawoze Mountain in the northern suburbs of Lhasa. The monastery was built by SagyaYexei, one of the disciples of Tsongkhapa who was the founder of Gelugpa of the Tibet Buddhism in 1419. It is one of the six main monasteries of the Gelugpa of the Tibetan Buddhism. As one of the three main monasteries of Lhasa, it is here that the monks “famous daily debates” take place.
Location: It is located in the southern slope of the Serawoze Mountain of the northern suburb of Lhasa. Some people believe it means “hailstone”, while others believe it means “raspberry”, the full name of the monastery is “Sera Thekchen-ling Monastery”.
Transportation: By minibus in downtown. It is advisable for you to take a taxi.
Open Hours: 9:00-16:00
Admission Free: RMB￥30
The full name of Sera Monastery is “Sera Thekchen-ling Monastery”. There are two legends about the origin of the name. One is that it was hailing when the monastery built its basement, hailstone pronounces “sera” in the Tibetan language, so when the monastery was built, it was named “Sera Monastery”; another legend is that the monastery was surrounded by a grove of rose trees, and rose also pronounces “sera” in the Tibetan language, so Sera Monastery means “the rose monastery” in Tibetan language.
The Sera Monastery was built by SagyaYexei who was the devoted disciple of Tsongkhapa in 1419. On behalf of his master, SagyaYexei went to Nanjing to pay homage to the Ming Dynasty Yongle emperor, who granted him the honorific title “Western Paradise Buddha Grand State Tutor”, and a large number of sutras, Buddhist statues, monks robes, silks, gold and silver, which were used to build Sera Monastery.
The Sera Monastery has its own noted religious festival, called “Blessing of the Dagger of Exorcism”. It has a legend that at the end of the 15th century, the Dagger of Exorcism was brought to Tibet from India called “the flying Dagger of Exorcism” which was enshrined in the Drepung Buddhist Guardian Hall of the Sera Monastery by the Abbot of Gyi Zhacang on 27th of the Twelfth month of the Tibetan calendar. In the past, on the early morning of December 27th, the staff of the Gyi Zhacang attire first took the Dagger of Exorcism to the Potala Palace to the Dalai Lama. After the Dalai Lama offered blessing to it, the Dagger of Exorcism was sent back to the Sera Monastery. At their return to the Sera Monastery, a general blessing of Dagger of Exorcism was given to the monks and lay communities. Every year on that day, thousands of pilgrims take part in the festival.