My Adventure at a Tibetan Monastery in Yunnan

Written by Wen Wang 

Hello, everyone! Today I will show you Songzanlin Monastery. Songzanlin Monastery is the largest Buddhist monastery in Yunnan, China. At the peak time, there are over 1000 Lamas studying here. Here you have access to experiencing pure Tibetan culture. 

The monastery was founded in 1681. Sakyamuni Buddha and Tsongkhapa who is known as the Second Buddha in Buddhism are mainly worshipped at the monastery. 

Now let’s follow along with me as I visit the monastery!

Now we are at the front gate, please look up, there are two deers which are paying attention to the wheel, which means “two deers studied diligently when the Buddha gave his teachings in Sarnath.” 

Here is a fresco at the front gate. It shows the Four Heavenly Kings of Buddhism. Their duty is to protect the Monastery. People believe that the monastery where blessings can be accumulated is far away from the mortal world, so that the Four Heaven Kings can be invited to safeguard the Monastery. 

When you step in the Monastery, you need to watch out that you always cross the threshold, instead of stepping on the threshold because the threshold in Tibetan culture means the shoulder of the Buddhist master. Feet are seen as dirty part which disrespect the Buddhist. Or the threshold is like difficulties in our life. Straddling over it is perceived as overcoming difficulties successfully in life. 

This is the overview of the Songzanlin Monastery, including temples, the college of Buddhism, Kangshen and the Lama house. 

Then what’s “Kangshen”? The local Kangshen is the Lama organization which can independently operate general affairs in different regions. In this Monastery, there are eight Kangshen. This Duke Kangshen is known as the most abundant cultural collection. There are three Buddhists including Shakya Muni, Master Tsongkaba and Bodhisattva. You can give some pennies when visiting Kangshen for blessing (it doesn’t matter how much). 

Lama houses are the house without titles on both sides of the road. It is funded by the family members of the Lamas. The condition of the house reflects different family background. They are not open to visitors.

Please let me know in the comments below what you think about my article. Would you like to travel and explore more with me in China as well as experience authentic local culture and food? 

Also if you want to give financial support to Foundation Operation X which facilitates the sharing of authentic cultural experiences, you can donate below. 

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