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Taklung Monastery

Introduction

Located just 120 kilometers north of the capital of Tibet, Lhasa, Taklung Monastery is a stunning building of bright red brick that contrasts beautifully with the rich green grass surrounding it. Thousands of prayer flags attached to the building catch the wind and provide a deeply moving display of faith.

Located just 120 kilometers north of the capital of Tibet, Lhasa, Taklung Monastery is a stunning building of bright red brick that contrasts beautifully with the rich green grass surrounding it. Thousands of prayer flags attached to the building catch the wind and provide a deeply moving display of faith.

History

Founded in 1180, the monastery at one time was the home of more than 7,000 monks. The monks, following Kagyu Buddhism, spent lives of quiet meditation and reflection, as well as conducting rites and ceremonies in honor of their faith. The monks followed a strict regimen of prayer, meditation and abstinence from meat.

In obedience to the rules of their order, no women were allowed inside the monastery. A nearby nunnery was built to accommodate women who yearned to follow a religious path.

Over time, the power and significance of Taklung Monastery began to decline as the Riwoche school of Buddhist thought gained ascendancy. Many beautiful religious paintings, called "thangkas", were produced by the monks of Taklung Monastery and can still be seen and appreciated for their artistic merit today. These form some of the most enduring tributes to the monastery's artistic and spiritual influence over the centuries.

During the Cultural Revolution, much of Taklung Monastery was destroyed. However, great work and dedication have ensured that a number of buildings that formed the bulk of the monastery have since been restored. The earthquake of 2010 also caused considerable damage to much of the infrastructure but work began almost immediately to preserve the fragile building so that it can be enjoyed by future generations.

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