Ganden Monastery in Tibet
monastery before the Chinese invasion
Ganden monastery in 1985, with the
first reconstructed buildings in the center
the Gelugpa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism were traditionally five
main monasteries, of which the three largest were known as the 'Three
Seats'. Before the Chinese occupation, these three monasteries were
occupied by thousands of monks and functioned as large monastic universities.
The Ganden monastery was the first of these large monasteries, built
in 1409 by Lama Tsongkhapa, founder of the Gelug tradition.
The Ganden Tripa (litt. "throne-holder of Ganden) is the traditional
head of the Gelug school.
in Tibet is located at some distance to the capital Lhasa, in a protective
mountain valley. Early 20th century, it was a flourishing monastic
university, housing about 6,000 monks.
1959, the Chinese occupiers completely destroyed the monastery. Since
the 1980s, a small part is being re-built and in use.
conditions for the monasteries in Tibet have possibly slightly improved
over the last few years, but much of the appearance is misleading
as the Chinese are more interested in attracting foreign tourists
to the Tibetan monasteries than in religious freedom. The Chinese
often consider the monks to be a kind of tourist guides rather than
people who try to seriously practice their religion. Because of this,
Tibetans are still escaping to India in the hope to join a monastic
also the page on Ganden
Monastery in India.