Labrang Monastary, China

Labrang-Gisela-Brantl-50 (Photo credit: Immanuel Giel)

Labrang Monastery is a Gelukpa school of Tibetan Buddhism that is beautiful to the eye and to the soul even after a very lively and eventful past. It was founded in 1709 as a monastery in the town of Xiahe in the Gansu Province in China. And most recently was closed in 1958 by the Chinese and was reopened 12 years later in 1970 to tourism.

Labrang-Gisela-Brantl-32 (Photo credit: Immanuel Giel)

The monastery was reopened as a working monastery in 1980 and is the main feature of the town with its white walls and golden roofs that represent both Tibetan and Han Dynasty architecture. Inside the monastery complex you will find the halls and buildings that house not only an elaborate Buddhist Museum but six Buddhist Institutes of learning which include a Medical College, Hevajra College, Upper Tantric College and the largest being the Mayjung Tosaming College for the study of Sutra and Debate.

Labrang-Gisela-Brantl-41 (Photo credit: Immanuel Giel)

Inside the Buddhist Museum there is a large collection of Buddha statues, sutras and murals. Some of the statures are quite elaborate made of gold, silver, copper, aluminum, ivory, sandalwood, jade, crystal and clay. The art in Labrang Monastery is not only contained in the Buddhist Museum but throughout the monastery your will find art and beauty everywhere from frescoes, tapestries, beautiful carpentry, Tibetan furniture, Tibetan scarves and stupas. The monastery also has one of the richest collections of Buddhist scriptures in the world, many of them are in the categories of philosophy along with two volumes of Pattra-leaf sutras and approximately 70,000 wood blocks for printing.

Labrang-Gisela-Brantl-40 (Photo credit: Immanuel Giel)

The Labrang Monastery celebrates seven of the Tibetan Buddhist ceremonies with chanting, prayer and sutra debates and much more. The major celebration being the first one of the lunar year between January 4th through the 17th depending on the Tibetan calendar and another major celebration is on June 26th through July 15th. Now that the Monastery is once again open to tourism there are several tours to choose from to visit this monastery, which is one of the major Tibetan Monasteries in China.

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