Sera was the last of the three principal Gelupka, or Yellow Hat, Buddhist monasteries to be built in Lhasa. Sera has been listed as one of the China's National Cultural Relics since 1982.
Sera Monastery is located about five kilometers north of the Jokhang Monastery in Lhasa. It was completed in 1419, under the supervision of Shaka Yeshe. Shaka Yeshe was an important teacher who traveled to Beijing and as far as Mongolia to preach Buddhism. He was given the title The Tutor of the Empire, by the Ming Emperor, Xuande. Many precious gifts were sent to Sera by various Chinese Emperors, many of which are well-preserved and can be seen at Sera to this day.
Sera comprises a great sutra chanting hall, a college and 32 sections. It once housed nearly 10,000 monks, and is proud of its glorious history during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Sera means hailstone in Tibetan, and legend tells that it hailed during the foundation of this famous monastery.
Every day (except on Mondays) at 15:00, there is a debating on Buddist doctrines among the monks at Sera Monastery. The debating is held on open grounds, and is a necessary way of learning sutras and scriptures. Visitors can watch the debate, but it is adviced to keep quiet.
During the Shoton Festival, which is one of the most important traditional festivals in Tibet, the grand ceremony of "Sunning the Buddha"is held at Sera Monastery. Shoton Festival is held every year around August. Join our Tibet Shoton Festival Tour to experience this grand festival.
I updated this article on January 21, 2014
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