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Gandain Monastery: Cradle of the Gelug Sect
 

Gandain Monastery: Cradle of the Gelug Sect

Grand  Sutra Hall of the Gandain Monastery

The Gandain Monastery in Dagze County was first built by Zongkapa, founder of the Gelug Sect of Tibetan Buddhism, in 1409. The halls of the monastery spread across the top of Wangbur Mountain give the impression of a mountain town when viewed from a distance. The three-storey Coqen Hll is the major section of the monastery and is large enough to hold a gathering of 3,000 lamas, who use the hall for the recitation of sutras. West of Coqen Hall is Yangbagyain Hall which houses a suit of armor worn for many years by Qing Dynasty Emperor Qianlong who later presented it to the monastery. The armor is inlaid with gold, silver and gemstones, and also bears inscriptions in the Han, Manchurian, Mongolian and Tibetan languages. Coqen Hall incorporates the Buddhist Guardian Hall, the Master’s Hall, the Mandala Hall, the Sidongkang Hall for the Holy Stupa of Zongkapa, and the Hall for the Holy Stupas of the Gandain Chiba Abbots. The holy stupas for Zongkapa contains the master’sremains. The body of the stupa was cast from silver and then wrapped in sheets of gold. Zongkapa lived for many years and died in Chidorkang Hall.

The name Gandain Chiba refers to the head abbot of Gandain Monastery. Since Gandain Monastery is the ancestral monastery of the Gelug Sect, the Gandain Chiba is also the head abbot of the Gelug Sect. He is next only to the Dalai Lama and the Pachen Erdeni in terms of his status in Tibetan Buddhism. The monastery also incorporates Xaze and Jamze Zhacangs, i.e., colleges for studying the stras. At the foot of Gandain Monastery is Lhamo Monastery. In the past, the Lhamo sorcerer, one of the four Buddhist guardians of the local Tibetan government, practiced divination at Lhamo Monastery. The monastery maintains close ties with Gandain Monastery.

 

 

 

 
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