For many people travelling to Tibet, the temples that full of mysterious atmosphere in Tibetan Plateau are the most attractive. The mystery attraction contained in the magnificent architecture and treasures, and also from the groups of very devout believers, as well as from all kinds of ritual activities with religious and ethnic characteristics. Especially, they won’t miss the debate which has a long history.
Debate is a necessary way to study the Buddhism for the Tibetan Buddhism Lama. It is said that it was first came from India. Debates among monks on the Buddhist doctrines are integral to the learning process in the colleges in the Sera Monastery complex. This facilitates better comprehension of the Buddhist philosophy to attain higher levels of study. This exemplary debating tradition supplemented with gestures is said to be exclusive to this monastery, among the several other monasteries of Lhasa. Visitors also attend to witness these debates that are held as per a set schedule, every day in the “Debating Courtyard” of the monastery.
Because the debate participants must be the Buddhist monks with certain knowledge and skills, so the temple can hold the debate ceremony general is non-small temple. Sera Monastery, at the foot of the Wuze Hill in Sera to the north of Lhasa, one of the three great monasteries in Lhasa and one of the six great monasteries of the Gelug Sect Buddhism in Tibet, has become a must land for many visitors for its world-renowned debate scenes.
Sera Monastery is known to outsiders for debate, but there is not only debate there. So now let us walk into this temple together to watch the famous debate.
In this summer afternoon, I walked into this “Wild Rose” Temple (The Tibetan language meaning of Sera). The first things came into my eye was the towering pagoda under the blue sky.
The monk in sunglasses was staring into the distance, while the holding prayer beads believers were recounting their pray in the Sutra -Turning Tubes.
You will see there are many pilgrims circling the Great Hall of Sera Monastery.
Some held their palms together to pray the blessing of Lord Buddha, and some just quietly started turning the cylinder, but my eyes had already been attracted to this murmuring old woman in front of me.
That wrinkles face, and head of full silver hair, that bright robe…
At this moment, many more pilgrims had formed a long line between the roadways of the temple.
Along with the long flow of people, I completed a little pilgrimage in all temples of Sera. As one of the three major monasteries in Lhasa, Sera temples will not let you disappointed. The hall was filled with colorful painted strokes, various types of Buddha, Thangka, instruments used for the pray, and so on. But I was most impressed by the atmosphere praying and walking together with pilgrims in the hall full of butter lamps.
Out of the mysterious, I looked back to those shocking temples, finding that towering golden dome appears dazzling under the blue sky.
Because most people travelling here are coming for debate, so you would feel a proper peace walking in Sera Monastery at such time.
Walking on this quiet stone road, there is the blue sky and white clouds above the head; on both sides are the tall Tibetan houses, which should be the premises of the monks. In front of the houses there are roses in full bloom.
The golden the Sutra -Turning Tubes twinkling in the sun shine; at the distant, it is the holy mountain.
This stone painted with Buddha is the sacred stone for everyone, which has witnessed the happiness and goodliness people pray for.
It is said that if people knock three times with a small piece of stone on this Sacred Stone, and meditation mantra in the mouth, then Lord Buddha will grant you happiness and goodliness. Look at these holes full on the top of the Sacred Stone, you will know the people have good faith to pursuit of happiness.
People say that Lhasa is a good place for daze and bask in the sun, while Sera can be regarded as a good place for pigeons in a daze in the sun.
Under the eaves, on the bay windows, you can see pigeons’ leisure shadow in the sun.
Of course, they will fly, but not to for finding food, but for the sound of horn.
This horn sound means that the debate the crowd awaited had finally begun.
Although there was language barrier, the behavior and looking of the people doing debate and a warm atmosphere infected everyone in the presence.
Any subject can be used to discuss as long as it is relevant to Buddhist. This is a challenging debate. Two sides will have war of words and strong words. Of course, the most distinctive is that a wide range of body movements and gestures of the debate people:
They held up their arms and drop down when questioning, means: use the sword of Manjushri to cut down ignorance; or the palm pressure, which will squeeze out their greedy in their hearts; or clap to urge the other to answer questions as soon as possible; or pull the prayer beads means overcome the other side with the help of Buddha.
Those people who have the language barrier and know little about Buddhism can only use their cameras to record every movement, every gesture, and every expression of the monks.
Because these unspeakable movements, the focus and laughter from the heart, the intense and passionate rarely seen elsewhere, I believe you would understand why this is a debate can not to be missed.
Perhaps we should also remember that these young monk’s face, because maybe one of them will be the living Buddha in the future.