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Shigatse Monastery

Shigatse Monastery

Shigatse Monastery

Shigatse Prefecture, located in the southwest of Tibet Autonomous Region, is very rich in tourist attractions. Apart from natural landscape like Mt. Everest, the highest mountain in the world, Shigatse owns lots of monasteries.

There are all together 19 monasteries in Shigatse Prefecture: Rongbuk Monastery, Juenang Monastery, Phuntsoling Monastery, Yungdrungling Monastery, E’er Monastery, Qiangqin Monastery, Paba Monastery, Gadong Monastery, Lhatse Nunnery, Gangqin Monastery, Natang Monastery, Sewu Monastery, Xegar Chode Monastery, Nanni Monastery, Yima Monastery, Tashilhunpo Monastery, Shalu Monastery, Sakya Monastery, Pelkor Chode Monastery.

To most travelers, monasteries below are most visited. If you are interested, don’t miss them!

Famous Monasteries in Shigatse

Yungdrungling Monastery

The Bonpo Yungdrungling Monastery is located across the river from the Friendship Hwy. between Lhasa and Shigatse. Once the second most influential Bon monastic institution in Tibet, it used to be home to 700 monks. Now the number declined to 35, and the monks come from different factions of Bonpos, some even from as far as the Aba region of northern Sichuan.

Phuntsoling Monastery

Phuntsoling Monastery, belonging to the Kagyu Sect, once was the central monastery of the Jonangpa. Kagyu Sect is known for the wxamination of the nature of emptiness. The greatest scholar of this monastery, Dolopa Sherab Gyaltsen was one of the 1st proponents of the hard-to-grasp notion of shentong, which is roughly based on the idea that the Buddha-mind is not ultimately empty, even though all forms are empty illusions.

Tashilhunpo Monastery

As an important national cultural relic protection site, the Tashilhunpo Monastery is located on the southern slope of the Nyiseri Mountain to the west of Shigatse City. It is largest monastery of the Gelug Sect in Rear Tibet, and the main stage where generations of Panchen Lamas carried out religious and political activities. It is one of the 4 main monasteries in Tibet, with the other 3 (Drepung Monastery, Sera Monastery and Ganden Monastery) in Lhasa.

Shalu Monastery

Sakya Monastery is the center of the Sakya Sect. In Tibetan, the word Sagya means “gray soil” referring to the weathered gray earth on the Bonbori Hill where the monastery is located. This name later referred to the place then to the Sagya Sect of Tibetan Buddhism. The monastery is 148 km away from Shigatse.

Natang Monastery

Natang Monastery, built by monk Luojiazha in 1033, is 15 km away from Shigatse. It is not so magnificent as Tashilhunpo Monastery, yet 400 years older than it.

Sakya Monastery

Sakya Monastery is the center of the Sakya Sect. In Tibetan, the word Sagya means “gray soil” referring to the weathered gray earth on the Bonbori Hill where the monastery is located. This name later referred to the place then to the Sagya Sect of Tibetan Buddhism. The monastery is 148 km away from Shigatse.

Pelkor Chode Monastery

Pelkor Chode Monastery means “Auspicious Wheel Joy Monastery” in Tibetan language. It lies at the foot of the Dzong Hill to the west of Gyangze Town. Encircled by mountains on 3 sides, the monastery is composed of 4 major parts: Buddhist halls, tower, Zhacang and surrounding wall. It is an important cultural relic protection unit on the level of the Tibet.

Rongbuk Monastery

Rongbuk Monastery, the highest monastery in the world, was established sometime in the early part of the 20th century, under the Nyingmapa Sect. Its history is sketchy. Rongbuk Valley was know as the “sanctuary of the birds”. There was a strict ban on killing any animal in the area. The British arriving at Rongbuk in 1921, found the animals of the valley extraordinarily tame: wild blue sheep would come down to the monastery. There were hundreds of Lamas and pilgrims engaged in meditation in a cluster of brightly colored buildings. The British did not meet the Head Lama as he was off doing a year’s meditation in a cave. It was common for hermits to go on meditation retreats in caves in the valley, subsisting on water and barley passed to them once a day

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