Sera Monastery

Traditionally, Tibetan towns and settlements were overlooked by their monasteries. Some of these monasteries were great monastic cities with many thousands of monks. The major monastic study centers were built to host study programs of the Buddhist scriptures, Buddhist philosophy and logic that required 20-30 years to complete. In the Tibetan Gelugpa tradition, the three main centers of monastic study were Drepung, Sera and Ganden Monastery. Sera, the second largest of these three, was founded in 1419 by a disciple of the founding Gelugpa master Je Tsongkapa. Sera traditionally hosted three colleges, Sera Je, Sera Me and Ngakpa Dratsang, each with its own richly decorated chapels and chanting halls. The Assembly Hall of Sera Je hosts five chapels dedicated to Chenrezig – the Buddha of compassion, Maitreya Buddha, Sakyamuni Buddha, Tsong Khapa, and the assembly of Arhats. The Chenrezig chapel is home to a gold-gilded statue of Chenrezig with hundreds of hands and eyes.