Drepung monastery


Drepung literally meansheap of rice which named after its formation of huge numbers of white monastic buildings congested on the hillside. Drepung is located north of Lhasa on the Mt. Gephel Utse ridge, it was founded by Tsongkapa’s disciple Jamyang Choje Tashi Palden in 1416, it was once one of the world largest monastery that housed more than 10,000 monks from all over the Tibet at that time, it is known that the Tsongkapa (the founder of the Gelugpa sect) himself taught at the sites and blessed the new monastery, then gradually it became one the largest Gelugpa school in the central Tibet and it receive monks from every corners of Tibet for further study of Tsongkapa teachings.

In 1518, the king of the Phagmudrupa-Miwang Tashi Drakpa offered the Dokhang Ngomo to the 2nd Dalai Lama for his residence, then his residence was named as Ganden Phodrang Chokle Namgyal and later it became the centre of both political and spiritual power in Tibet, this outstanding power and function as residence of successive Dalai Lamas lasted until 5th Dalai Lama Thupten Gyatso moved his palace and the government to just reconstructed Potala palace in the 17th century.

Drepung monastery occupies 20,000 square meters on the hillside is the one of the most famous Gelugpa monastic college throughout Tibetan plateau and it receive monks from all part of Tibet, this complex has survived unscathed despite of repeated plunder by Tsangpa Desi king from Shigatse during the civil war in 1618 and successive destructions by Mongols and cultural revolution in different period of time, many of the buildings that we see today are mostly date back to 17th to 18th century.

The monastery was reopened in 1980 with a population of approximately 500 monks. Drepung monastery is now divided into so called most famous seven colleges: Gomang Khangtsen, Loseling Khangtsen, Deyang Khangtsen, Shagkor Khangtsen, Gyelwa Khangtsen or Tosamling Khangtsen, Dulwa Khangtsen, and Ngagpa Khangtsen, the various colleges having different emphases, teaching lineages, or traditional geographical affiliations.

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