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Tibet Guide

Shalu Monastery

Author:tibetbest.net     Last updated:2013/11/6 20:15:03     Onclick:1262

Shalu Monastery or xialu Monastery is small monastery 22 km south of Shigatse in Tibet. Founded in 1040 by Chetsun Sherab Jungnay, for centuries it was renowned as a centre of scholarly learning and psychic training and its mural paintings were considered to be the most ancient and beautiful in Tibet. Shalu was the first of the major monasteries to be built by noble families of the Tsang Dynasty during Tibet"s great revival of Buddhism, and was an important center of the Sakya tradition.

The hall has an arch-like ceiling covered with glazed tiles. The steep eaves are like the wings of a flying bird. The structure is a complete replica of inland temples. The Monastery consists of two floors. On the first floor lies a main hall for assembly. The statues of Sakyamuni and his disciples are worshiped there. The layout of the second floor is a typical Chinese quadrangle. The murals here are exquisitely painted and vivid, demonstrating the features of the Yuan Dynasty"s paintings. Shalu has four treasures which are of notable value. One is a sutra board, which is 700 years old and cannot be reassembled once broken apart, a piece of sutra printed against the board is regarded as good luck.
The other is a brass urn, which is usually covered with a piece of red cloth and sealed; the holy water is said to be the purest water in the world. The water, renewed every 12 years, can cure 108 kinds of diseases and cleanse away filth and dirt. Another is a stone basin, which was the washbasin of Chetsun, the builder of Shalu Monastery. And the last one is a stone tablet, which was uncovered in the first construction of Shalu Monastery. The tablet displays a mantra which reads "om mani Padme Hum" and has four dagoba carved into it. Here are some guide information for your tour to Shalu Monastery.

New bud is what Shalu means in Tibetan. Originally, Jetsun Sherab Jungnay who is one of the Tibet’s greatest scholar and teacher about Tibetan scriptures built the monastery in 1040 under favor of his teacher. Shooting an arrow in the air and hits, new bud accidently permits him to erect a monastery using the name “new bud” that is Shalu in Tibetan. There are two major destructions happened to the monastery, one in 1329 that is a devastating earthquake influenced the monastery and renovated after 4 years under the command of the Mongolian emperor of China by rendering many of Hans artisans into the monastery hence, still today you can see the mixed arts and style of Tibetan and Chinese. The other one during the Cultural Revolution result damages to the monastery. However, the 11th abbot of the monastery called Buton Rinchen Drup who is great interpreter and compiler of Sanskrit texts took another renovation in the year 1330 with the help of local noble families. Moreover, he also creates a centre in the monastery that train monks to adapt cold weather by using internal body heat theory called Thumo. Buton is also a name of a suborder in Tibetan Buddhism founded by Buton Rinchen Drup. Hence, Shalu is also a center for the Buton order as well. One part of the Buton order chapel is also exists in Gyangtse monastery in front of the 34m tall Kumbum stupa. Concisely, the monastery is in a Chenresig style that symbolizes a haven from all worldly sufferings.

The holiest statue is the present Buddha’s statue (Sakyamuni) that locates in the center chapel along with his disciples that is where the monks gathering for prayers and rituals. However, scripture chapel is containing Kangyur (scripture of commandments) and Tengyur (scripture of commentries) flank the Tsomchen (assembly hall). In addition, on the upper floors you can easily differentiate the typical Chinese blue tiled structures styled during renovation that contains Sakyamuni, Buton’s tomb and Arhats (most knowledgeable disciples of present Buddha (Sakya Thupa or Sakyamuni). Other than these, there are also many of old mural paintings all around the monastery walls where some are even around 400-700years old. Nevertheless, the monastery is worth full with four high treasures that are; 1.700-year-old sutra board. 2. One Brass Urn that contains holy water covering a mixed red and yellow clothe on the top and the holy water is changing after 12 years. 3. Stone basin used by Jungnay in the past. 4. Is a stone tablet carved with six-letter mantra (Om Ma Nay Pad May Hoom), these are the wonders of the monastery from 1040 to the present day.

Nowaday, the monastery is becoming quite popular for the tourist as there you can visit the monastery and even you can do trekking for 3 to 4 days from Shalu monastery to Narthang monastery. The monastery is already in the National Cultural Protection Unit selected in 1988.  At present, the road to the monastery is paved and big mountains surround the monastery with agricultural lands near by the monastery belongs to the villagers near by the monastery.

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