Tuesday, 2 July 2013

A Buddhist Shanty Town?

I just had to share these amazing photos of one of the world's largest Buddhist institutes. The sprawling settlement is found at elevations of 12,500ft and is home to over 40,000 monks, nuns and religious students. It is located in the Larung Valley, Serthar County of Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, in "China".

Serthar Institute, known as Larung Gar Buddhist Academy was established in 1980 by Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok, the most influential lama of the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism in contemporary Tibet.

I particularly like the mass of prayer flags on the hillside at the top of this picture, they look like an immense spider's web.

One of the most surprising elements of Serthar is that more than half of those who come to study are women. Entry into the relatively small number of nunneries that exist in other areas of Tibet is limited, but Serthar was open to virtually anyone who genuinely sought to become a student of Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok’s ecumenical vision. Another surprise at Serthar is that it attracts ethnic Chinese students as well as students from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia, who attend separate classes taught in Mandarin, while larger classes are taught in Tibetan.

No comments:

Post a Comment