China # 11 – Xiahe’s Labrang Tibetan Buddhist Monastery – Gansu Province – September 2014

July 13, 2018

After our exciting drive, following muddy switchbacks down the mountain in the dark to Xiahe, we were just happy that Green knew a pleasant hotel, the Tara Guesthouse, she had stayed at before and it had a quiet courtyard for us to park and camp. In the morning, we were a 5-minute walk to the entrance of the Labrang Monastery.

Labrang Tibetan Buddhist Monastery

While founded in 1709 and expanded greatly in the following centuries, much of the Labrang monastery was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution but then rebuilt from the 1980’s onward.

While founded in 1709 and expanded greatly in the following centuries, much of the Labrang monastery was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution but then rebuilt from the 1980’s onward.

Monks live off donations.

Monks live off donations.

Founded in 1709, Labrang is one of Tibetan Buddhism’s most important monasteries outside the Tibetan Autonomous Region. The formal name is Genden Shédrup Dargyé Trashi Gyésu khyilwé Ling or in Tibetan དགེ་ལྡན་བཤད་སྒྲུབ་དར་རྒྱས་བཀྲ་ཤིས་གྱས་སུ་འཁྱིལ་བའི་གླིང༌།. As a popular choice for many Tibetan monks to study at this influential Buddhist monastic university, the monastery has attracted monks from all over the Tibetan plateau. Labrang Monastery is also an important gathering place for many annual religious festivals. Believers on a pilgrimage visit in an effort for rewards in the next life (they believe in reincarnation) and to pray for their health, which could explain why we saw many older Tibetans walking with canes.

Yellow Hat Sect or Gelug School

The Yellow Hat Sect of Tibetan Buddhism, also called the Gelug School, has its own history and background. His Holiness, The Dalai Lama, belongs to this school. The yellow hats refer to the elaborate crescent-shaped hats worn by monks during ceremonies.

This monk definitely knew about modern technology.

This monk definitely knew about modern technology.

Children enter the monastery at a very young age.

Children enter the monastery at a very young age.

Our guide, Green, had studied Tibetan Buddhism and was a wealth of information, but for us, it is an extremely complicated religion. I could imagine it would seem equally baffling if a Tibetan Buddhist visited the Vatican in Rome. We could only appreciate the architecture and the general feeling of the Monastery, with its beautifully carved entrances, pagodas, temples and the amazing art work inside the temples. In a way, we felt we were actually in Tibet.

While we would have liked to linger longer in this peaceful town, being on a strict timetable, we soon had to continue towards our next destination. We headed toward the Bin County Cave Temple. It was not on our “Must see in China” list, but Green insisted we had stop there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Responses to “China # 11 – Xiahe’s Labrang Tibetan Buddhist Monastery – Gansu Province – September 2014”

  1. Very Nice. It would be truly interesting to visit this part of the world and meet the people. Thank You

  2. Thanks for keeping up with our blogs!

Leave a Comment




Answer this (to show you're not a robot) *