Lhasa Sera Monastery 色拉寺

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Sera Monastery 色拉寺

The three Gelug monasteries, Sera, Drepung, and Ganden, were known collectively as the Pillars of the State, and there was actually some political rivalry between them, which is even reflected in the name Sera. Sera, meaning "merciful hail", is a direct challenge to Drepung Monastery, whose name means "rice mound" in the sense that hail damages rice. 
Sera was founded in 1419. At its heydey, Sera monastery was home to more than 5,000 monks and five monastic colleges. It specialized in teaching novices the fundamental precepts of Buddhism. 
The monastery is made up of a tsokchen (Great Hall), three tratsangs (colleges that offer specialized studies) and thirty khangtsens (residential compounds with chapels reserved for monks coming from different areas of Tibet). 
The tsokchen is Sera's largest building and the administrative center of the monastery. The central assembly hall, built in 1710, houses a statue of Sakya Yeshe, the founder of Sera, which is flanked by sculptures of the Fifth and Thirteenth Dalai Lamas. To the rear of the central assembly hall are four floors which are each filled with chapels that are dedicated to various gods and the monks' quarters. The monastery is much less active now, having only several hundred monks currently in residence. One of the most interesting times to visit the monastery is in the afternoon when the monks, after finishing their morning scripture classes, can be seen debating in the courtyard.
Some of Sera Monastery’s monks were famed for their brave last stand in 1947 when they challenged the government. In the course of this failed coup, they even made an attempt on the Regent's life. 
Admission Fee:  CNY 55
Opening Hours: 09:00 to 16:00 Recommended Time for a Visit:  Two hours
Bus Route: A taxi is roughly 15 CNY, but try to bargain with the driver.
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