Holiday China Tour  
Attractions >> Tibet >> Lhasa Attractions

Samye Monastery, Tibet

Built in the 8th century, Samye Monastery was the first Buddhist monastery to be founded in Tibet. It is also notable as the site of the "Great Debate" (792-794) between the Indian Mahayanists and Chinese Chan (Zen) Buddhists.

Samye is famous for its sacred mandala design: the central temple symbolizes the legendary Mount Meru, center of the universe. It is a popular pilgrimage destination for Tibetan Buddhists, some of whom travel on foot for weeks to reach it.

Samye Monastery was founded in the 8th century during the reign of King Trisong Detsen with the help of the Indian Buddhist masters Padmasambhava and Shantarakshita, whom the king had invited to Tibet to help spread Buddhism. Padamasambhava is credited with subduing the local spirits and winning them over to Buddhism.
The first Tibetan monks were ordained here after examination, and are referred to as the Seven Examined Men. Over the centuries Samye has been associated with various schools of Tibetan Buddhism.
Padmasambhava's involvement makes Samye important in the Nyingma school, but it was later taken over by the Sakya and Gelugpa schools. Today, Tibetans of all traditions come to worship here.

The whole construction of the temple is very grandiose and complicated.It replicates the universe described in the sutras exactly.The central world Mount Meru is represented by the majestic Wuzi Hall.The Sun and Moon chapels stand in the north and south as the sun and moon in the universe.
Four larger halls and eight smaller halls are distributed around all sides of the central hall, symbolizing the four large continents and eight small ones.In the four corners lie the Red, White, Black and Green Pagodas guarding the Dharma like the Heavenly Kings.A circular wall surrounds the temple as if marking the periphery of the world.The layout of Samye Monastery resembles the Mandala in the Esoteric Buddhism.

Getting There
From Lhasa, buses for Samye Crossing, or duko in Chinese; depart beginning at 7:30am for the 3 1/2-hour trip (¥25/$3), just south of the New Mandala restaurant.

China Tour Online Help
China tour operator
Service available 24X7
Popular China Theme Tours
Classic China Tours
Leisure China Tours
China Photography Tour
China Ancient Town Tours
China Train Tours
China Silk Road Tours
China Hiking Tours
China Student Tours
Seasonal China Tours
Muslim China Tours