Explore Tibet Team introduces the Samye Monastery and the Zamling Chisang Festival to Travelers

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Explore Tibet Team, a professional Tibet travel agency based in Lhasa, introduces the Samye Monastery and the Zamling Chisang festival to travelers and says: ”This festival honors Guru Rinpoche and the founding of Tibet’s first Buddhist monastery. Visitors should know something of the historic and cultural importance of this holy site.”

Explore Tibet Team, a professional Tibet travel agency based in Lhasa, introduces the Samye Monastery and the Zamling Chisang festival to travelers and says: ”This festival honors Guru Rinpoche and the founding of Tibet’s first Buddhist monastery. Visitors should know something of the historic and cultural importance of this holy site before their Tibet trips.”

The Samye Monastery, located by the shore of the Brahmaputra River, about 220 kilometers from Lhasa, was built in the 8th century by the Tibetan king Trisong Detsen. Since the time of the first king of Tibet in the previous century, Buddhism had lost favor with the people. The king wished to revitalize the practice by building a new center of monastic training. He invited Shantarakshita, a monk from India, to oversee construction and begin promoting Buddhist teachings.

Several disasters occurred during the construction of the monastery, leading the workers to think that evil spirits were blocking their progress. Padmasambhava, a sage-guru better known in Tibet as Guru Rinpoche and Shantarakshita’s contemporary, was summoned by the king from northern India to confront the evil spirits blocking the construction. He succeeded in subduing the spirits, and turning them into protectors of Tibet. Guru Rinpoche later became an important transmitter of the teachings of Vajrayana (Tantric) Buddhism across Tibet and Bhutan.

Guru Rinpoche’s triumph over the evil spirits is celebrated every year on the 15th day of the 5th month of the Tibetan lunar calendar in a festival called Zamling Chisang (Universal Prayer Day). This year the festival falls on July 3rd, and monks and pilgrims will journey to the monastery to offer prayers and burn sang, which is a special type of powdered incense. Visitors to the Samye Monastery during the festival can bear witness to one of Tibet’s most important cultural traditions for Tibet tours.

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Sonam Jamphel