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Drepung Monastery

Drepung Monastery in Lhasa, Tibet

The Gulug (Yellow Hat) Sect Drepung Monastery (Chinese: 哲蚌寺, Zhe Bang Si) is one of the key cultural relics of protection in China, located at the foot of a mountain in western outskirts of Lhasa city. Drepung means "vault of crops" in Tibetan.

►The origin of Drepung Monastery:
Master Tsongkapa of Tibet had successfully held a grand religious ceremony in Lhasa 1409. In the same year, he suggested to build Ganden, the very first monastery of his founding of the new Gulug Sect in Tibetan Buddhism. And Tsongkhapa's disciples built the Drepung Monastery, one of the largest monasteries in the world, as the followers of the religious sect had been increasing throughout the Tibetan Plateau.

►The culture spread monk's schools
In 1464, a Lama academy was established in the Drepung Monastery for preaching Buddhism with 4 schools and 29 Kangs (Kang means a group of monks from the same location, and a few Kangs could set up a monk school in a monastery). The Drepung Monastery has many excellent architectural relics in addition to the four monk's schools, such as "Ganden Pho-brang", Tsoqin Grand Hall and the Kang villages.

The monks are debating in the Drepung Monastery in Lhasa, Tibet
The monks are debating in the shade of trees

►Debating:
Unlike many other temples and monasteries in China, there are no vegetation surrounding Drepung, just bare mountains and arid rocks. However, there are some places inside the monastery having luxuriant locales, where the debating on Buddhist doctrines held. Two doctrine-debating places for each monk school, they are very near to the campus. The debating Drepung Monastery, Lhasa, Tibet platform has stairs as level of rankings to the top. Generally speaking, every monk in the venue could argue, but he should have adequate Buddhist knowledge and whether go to the top of the platform must get through tough tongue competitions. Quite a small number of monks could go to the top platform, win the doctrine debate and attain the highest diploma of a Lama.

the annual Shoton festival in Drepung Monastery, Lhasa, Tibet
The above photo shows the annual Shoton festival in Drepung Monastery.
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