* Introduction * Zongkapa Master * Almanac
Ta'er Monastery
Tsongkhapa (1357-1419), founder of the Gelug Sect of Tibetan Buddhism, was born in today's Huangzhong County where the Tar Monastery was founded.

The Ta'er Lamasery, a famous Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Qinghai Province, was recently renovated, restoring it to its former glory. Hoping to be the first worshippers to the lamasery after its renovation, pilgrims of different ethnic groups came from near and far. Some of them, in ethnic clothes and ornaments, carried abundant packages of offerings; some rotated a prayer wheel in their hands while chanting; and some lay flat or knelt on the ground, praying for the happiness and well-being of their families.

Standing in an imposing manner according to the gradient of the mountain, the Ta'er Lamasery is a wonderful architectural complex that embraces 9,300 structures, including scripture halls, Buddha halls, lamas' residences, and Buddhist pagodas. Built in 1622, in the center of the entire complex, the Great Hall of Gold Tiles is the core structure of the lamasery. The ridges of the hall's roof are decorated with auspicious objects such as treasure bottles, gold streamers, and gold deer. In the center of the hall is a silver pagoda built around a pipal tree; and a statue of Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Yellow Sect of Tibetan Buddhism, is placed in the pagoda. In the hall there also exists a collection of hundreds of works by Tsongkhapa and his disciples as well as hand-written copies of scriptures in Tibetan and Mongolian.

Tsongkhapa was born in Tsongkha (Tsong-kha), Amdo, in 1357, the fourth of six sons. The day after Tsongkhapa¡¯s birth, Chojey Dondrub-rinchen sent his main disciple to the parents with gifts, a statue, and a letter. A sandlewood tree grew from the spot where his umbilical cord fell to the ground. Each leaf had a natural picture of the Buddha Sinhanada (Sangs-rgyas Seng-ge sgra), and was thus called Kumbum (sKu-¡®bum), a hundred thousand body images. The Gelug monastery called Kumbum was later built on that spot.

During this time, Chojey Dondrub-rinchen gave the boy the empowerments of Five-Deity Chakrasamvara), Hevajra, Yamantaka, and Vajrapani. By the age of seven, he had already memorized their complete rituals, had completed the Chakrasamvara retreat, was already doing the self-initiation, and already had a vision of Vajrapani. He frequently dreamt of Atisha, which was a sign that he would correct misunderstandings of the Dharma in Tibet and restore its purity, combining sutra and tantra, as Atisha had done.

At the age of seven, Tsongkhapa received novice vows from Chojey Dondrub-rinchen and the ordination name Lozang-dragpa. He continued to study in Amdo with this lama until he was sixteen, at which time he went to U-tsang (Central Tibet) to study further. He never returned to his homeland. Chojey Dondrub-rinchen remained in Amdo, where he founded Jakyung Monastery to the south of Kumbum.

The Gelug monastery and Jakyung Monastery are the two ancient buildings of Ta¡¯er Lamasery complex. In 1577, Maitreya Buddha Hall was founded. In 1584, 1594, 1606 and 1626, Panchen Palace, Tsongkhapa Hall, Sutra Hall, and Manjusri Bodhisattva Hall were respectively founded. And they have formed today¡¯s Ta¡¯er Lamasery.

Ta¡¯er Lamasery is the birth place of Gelug sect of Buddhism. Worshippers and pilgrims of different ethnic groups came from near and far. Some of them, in ethnic clothes and ornaments, carried abundant packages of offerings; some rotated a prayer wheel in their hands while chanting; and some lay flat or knelt on the ground, praying for the happiness and well-being of their families. Ta¡¯er Lamasery has played an important role in Chinese Buddhist history and is famous all over east Asia. It the treasure house of Buddhism and is also valuable for studying politics, economics and culture of Ming and Qing Dynasty.


Copyright @ Qinghai Province Huangzhong County Dacai Middle School,Holy Place Team,P.R.China