Gandan Monastery

Gandan Monastery
Ganden Monastery is the first and primary monastery of the Gelug Sect in Tibetan Buddhism. It has a full Tibetan name "Dgav-ldan mam-par royal-bavi-gling" which refers to a grand site in the Western Heaven of Buddhism. Emperor Yongzheng of the Qing Dynasty granted another name "Yong Tai" to the monastery. Sitting on the Wangbori Mountain which resembles a reclining elephant to the northeast of the Dagze County, the monastery facing east commands an elevation of 3800 meters above sea level. Major constructions in the monastery include the Lagyi Hall, Yangbagyain Hall, Chitokang, Angyiukang, Xaze and Jamze Zhacang Buddhist colleges, and dozens of Kamcuns and Myicuns.
The Ganden Monastery was built in the early 15th century. Upon the Tibetan New Year in 1409, Zongkapa (1357-1419), founder of Gelug or Yellow Sect of Tibetan Buddhism, gathered over 8000 lamas to hold a Grand Summons Ceremony at the Hokhang Monastery of Lhasa to commemorate Sakyamuni. Since then, the ceremony has become a traditional annual event. In February 1410, the Ganden Monastery was set up with over 500 lamas and Zongkapa himself presided over a grand ceremony to enshrine the monastery. Zongkapa also became the 1st Ganden Khripa (or Abbot) of the Ganden Monastery. The creation of the Ganden Monastery symbolized the formation of the Gelug Sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Zongkapa campaigned for religious reforms which deeply influenced other monasteries. Together with the Sera and Drepung monasteries which were set up later. They became known as the "Three Large monastery of Lhasa." As Zongkapa himself initiated the Ganden Monastery, acted as its first abbit and passed away in the monastery, Ganden Monastery commands indisputable statues among all the Gelug Sect monasteries.
Gandan Monastery
The Lagyi Hall, also called Coqen Hall, is the largest gathering ground in the monastery. With three storey's, the hall takes up 2000 square meters and can hold 3000 people at the same time. The four-storey Yangbagyain Hall stands to the west of the Lagyi Hall. It is composed of the Buddhist Guardian Hall, the Master Hall, the Mandela Hall and the Holy Sputa Hall which hosts silver stapes for various generations of Ganden Khripa abbots. The Chitokang (or Sidongkang) Hall was one of the earliest buildings in the Ganden Monastery. It had been the bed chamber of Zongkapa. After the great master passed away in 1419, the hall enshrined his sacred sputa with some of his personal items. To the west locate the Xaze and Jamze Zhacang Buddhist colleges, as well as the Kamcuns and Myicuns under the two Zhacangs' jurisdiction. The lamas in the monastery are administrated through the Xaze and Jamze Zhacangs. In the Qing Dynasty, the monastery had a quota of 3300 people, while at its peak, the monastery accommodated 5000 people. The Xaze Prince of Dharma and Jamze Prince of Dharma took turns to become the Ganden Khripa have ruled the before his reincarnation assumed the throne, it was the Ganden Khripa who would become the Prince Regent to carry out Dalai Lama's authority in politics and religion over the entire Tibet. Inside Gelug Sect, Ganden Khripa ranks the third after the Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama.
In 1961, the Ganden Monastery became a State important cultural relic protection unit. The monastery suffered destruction during the "cultural revolution" (1966-76) but renovations are carried out in recent years.

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