Shalu Monastery

 

Shalu Monastery
The Shalu Monastery is located 20 kilometers south of Shigatse, 4km off the Shigatse-Gyantse road. and is easily spotted because of its Chinese style, green-tiled roof. The monastery dates back to the 11th century, rose to prominence in the 14th century when its abbot, Buton Rinchen Drup, emerged as the foremost interpreter and compiler of Sanskrit Buddhist texts of his day. A suborder, the Buton, formed around him.

Shalupa, also known as Butonpa, took form under Buton's leadership. Shalupa included magical feats that monks learned to do. Some monks wore thin clothing in cold weather. They were able to raise their body temperatures to such a level that warm clothing was not needed. Other monks were able to run by leaping superhuman distances. covering long distances without rest.

The monastery is architecturally distinctive. In 1329, an earthquake destroyed the monastery. In 1333, Buton rebuilt it under the patronage of the Chinese Mongolian emperor. Since many Chinese Han artisans participated in rebuilding the monastery, combining the local Tibetan style with that of Chinese Yuan Dynasty.

Shalu Monastery

Shalu Lakhang is the central hall of the monastery with Other buildings of the monastery surrounded it. On the ground floor, the Tschomchen (also a hall) enshrines Sakyamuni and his disciples. Sakyamuni was one of the Buddhas. The chapels flanking the Tschomchen house Tanjur and Kanjur, two very important sutras of Tibetan Buddhism. Chapels in the roof floor are of typical Chinese blue tile design. The chapels enshrine Sakyamuni, Shalu Monastery's own Buton, and the Arhats. Arhats are those who have attained enlightenment, but whose rank and power is lower than that of a Buddha. Massive, delicately painted murals cover the walls of the monastery. Most of the murals depict stories from the life of the Buddha. The murals badly need restoration to preserve and protect them.

Shalu Monastery has four religious treasures. One is a sutra board, which is 700 years old and impossible to be reassembled if it is ever broken apart. A passage of sutra is printed on the board and is believed to bring good luck. The second treasure is a brass urn. It contains holy water that can cleanse away the 108 filths of human existence. The urn is usually sealed and covered with red cloth. The water is changed every 12 years. The third treasure is a stone basin that was once Chetsun Sherab Jungnay's washbasin. The fourth treasure is a stone tablet on which the mantra 'om mani Padme Hum' is written and four dagobas are carved. It was discovered during the original construction of the monastery.

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