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summer in Chengdu 3

Published on August 7, 2011, by in Architecture, Chengdu.

Buddha with oval head 成都 昭觉寺   Chengdu, Zhaojue Monastery

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photo of the day

Gyantse Kumbum, statue of Yum Chenmo  / Prajnaparamita in one of the chapels   Here is some more information about Gyantse Kumbum, excerpted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palcho_Monastery: The Palcho Monastery or Pelkor Choede Monastery or Shekar Gyantse is the main monastery in Gyantse, Tibet, next to the Dzong or fort. It is most notable for its Kumbum, which has 108 chapels in its four floors. The Tsuklakhang, the main temple of the monastery was built 1418-1428 by Rabten Kunzang Phak, the second Prince of Gyantse, who was a devotee of Kedrub Je (1385-1438), one of Tsongkapa’s leading disciples later recognised as the 1st Panchen Lama. It became an important centre of the Sakya sect of Tibetan Buddhism. In 1904, the town and monastery were attacked by British soldiers and, although most of the damage was later restored, bullet holes from this attack remain in the monastery to this day. It was partially destroyed in 1959 after a revolt against Chinese rule. It was ransacked again during the Cultural Revolution, but has since been largely restored. …Architecturally, Pelkhor monastery is a fusion of Han, Tibetan and Nepali architecture. The most striking architecture in the complex, a symbol of Gyantse, is the Bodhi Dagoba (Tibetan name: Pelkhor Choede), popularly called as the ‘Kumbum’. It is a 32 metres (100 ft) high structure, a nine-tier building with 108 gates (108 interpreted as nine-tier structure representing space multiplied by the time element of 12 zodiac signs), and 76 chapels and shrines; out of the nine floors, the first five

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Sarnath

Excavations of early temple structures at Sarnath, 13 km outside Varanasi   The First Turning of the Wheel of the Dharma The Buddha began his first sermon by revealing the Middle Way between self-indulgence and asceticism: Monks, these two extremes should not be followed by one who has gone forth into homelessness. What two? The pursuit of sensual happiness in sensual pleasures, which is low, vulgar, the way of worldlings, ignoble, unbeneficial; and the pursuit of self-mortification, which is painful, ignoble, unbeneficial. Without veering towards either of these extremes, the Tathagata has awakened to the middle way, which gives rise to vision, which gives rise to knowledge, which leads to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbana. And what, monks, is that middle way awakened to by the Tathagata, which gives rise to vision… which leads to Nibbana? It is this Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. This, monks, is that middle way awakened to by the Tathagata, which gives rise to vision, which gives rise to knowledge, which leads to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbana. (The Connected Discourses of the Buddha, p. 1844) http://nichirenscoffeehouse.net/Ryuei/4NobleTruths.html     The Dhamek Stupa, c. 500 CE, said to mark the spot of the deer park where the Buddha gave his first sermon.       Mulagandhakuti Vihara, Buddhist temple at Sarnath, where a coffer contains relics of the Buddha       Bodhi Tree

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Sera Monastery, Lhasa - mural in entrance porch to the assembly hall

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To Yamdrok Lake, Gyantse, and Shigatse

Yamdrok Lake     The China-Nepal Friendship Highway (Hwy.  318) runs from Lhasa southwest through the Himalaya, to the Chinese border at Zhamgmu.  After three days in Lhasa, our itinerary took us to Yamdrok Lake and then to  Gyantse, where we spent one night, and then on to Shigatse, for another night’s stay.     Ready for its close-up:  rent-a-yak, Yamdrok Lake       From my notes:  Tuesday, July 13 Day 4:  Hard to believe that the Tibet trip is already half over. We left Lhasa today at 8 AM – after I’d had a satisfying triple cappuccino and a slice of lucious Cheesecake at The Summit coffee house of Beijing East Rd. We stopped for a photo op at an 11-th century Buddha rock carving outside Lhasa. Our 4-WD Land Cruiser [me eternally in the front seat, a concession to advanced age and/or status] droved through some of the most amazing scenery I’ve ever seen:  rock, sand, rivers, lakes, scrubby vegetation, grazing yaks, the Gamta Pass, then to Yamdrok Lake, one of the three largest sacred lakes in Tibet. Lunch buffet in a nondescript nowhere town, then drove through a delicious and refreshing rain.  Oh yes, we saw a glacier – I ran through the cold and wet to the restroom, then jumped back in the vehicle. Before we knew it, we had arrived in Gyantse and the gate of the Palkor Choede Monastery. We would visit one of the highlights of the tour for me, the famous Gyantse

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