Ancient Painting in Tagong Monastery

Tagong Monastery is among the oldest monasteries in eastern Tibet. It was built in Tang Dynasty in the 7th Century by Princess Wencheng. It remained as a old complex through the ages. The paitings on its wall of the temple are considered valued artistic works from monks before.

The color remained the same as the picture was painted and they outlive the wall itself. The paintings are another version of Thangkha, only not on a cloth but wall. Now they are protected as treasures in the monastery.

Sertar (Seda) Wuming Buddhist School in May

Sertar Wuming Buddhist School is open to the public. Everyone can visit it in 2016. It is located 20km south to the town of Seda and one full day’s drive from Chengdu.

Sertar Buddhist School
Sertar Buddhist School

It is one of the favorate places in Sichuan for photographers. The stunning views of Sertar are of densely built monk dormitories and temples in the valley of Larungga. At present the road at some sections are still under construction but it will be compeleted soon. By then the driving will be shorter from Chengdu.

Ganzi Monastery

Ganzi Monastery is located at Ganzi town in western Sichuan in Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Region. It is one of the 13 Huoer Holy Monasteries in Tibet.

Ganzi Monastery
Ganzi Monastery

It has a history of about 400 years and later destroyed during the Cultural Revolution and rebuilt in around 1980. It is one of the biggest monasteries in this area. The number of the monks topped in Qing Dynasty at around 3000 but today it has about 400 monks. It is also a Gelugpa Monastery. This monastery is four-story tall and many monk dormitories around the temple. One of the leaders of Ganzi Monastery used to be one of the three candidates of the 11th Dalai Lama. It inherited its tradition of Gelugpa study of Buddhism. Travelers visiting Ganzi can have drive to the monastery for only about 10 minutes up to the mountain side, from where you can view the whole town of Ganzi and also the mountain range lying by the south of the town.

Visit Leshan Grand Buddha by Boat

To visit Leshan Grand Buddha, one needs to ride 140km from Chengdu first. The Grand Buddha statue is located by southeast of the city of Leshan by the conjunction of Dadu River and Qingyi River. There are two ways to see the Buddha; one is to go by foot into the park from the entrance by east bank of the river. This way by walking takes about 2 hours to walk through the park. But it may take longer time if there are lots of visitors, which is usually the case by holidays or weekends.

Leshan Grand Buddha - View from the Boat
Leshan Grand Buddha by Boat

Another way is to take the boat. There are mainly two places to do the boating trip to the Buddha Statue. One is at the same side of the entrance of the park at the east bank of the river. This place is by the river a bit north to the entrance behind a parking lot. But this place has less frequent departures of boats to the Buddha. The other place which is on the west bank across the car park is a more popular choice by visitors. By using the boat on the west bank, you lower the possibility of long time waiting before a boat departs.

O the west side at the dork, it takes usually half an hour to do this visit and it is more comfortable as there are limited passengers that are allowed to board one ship but a possible long time of waiting is expected if there are not enough passengers, and the waiting can be as long as up to twenty minutes.

The boat has a second floor, or a sundeck. Every passenger is required to wear an orange life jacket stacked on the chairs if he or she wants to go to the sundeck. The boat arrives in front of the Buddha a few minutes after departure. It will stay there for about 10 minutes and drive back. Before it ashore it will make a short stop by the location where you supposed to see a lying Buddha.

Workers on the boat will usually ask you to use their photo taking service but you can just ignore that if you don’t want to use.

Boat open time:

From 1st April to 7th October 07:30-18:30

From 8th October to the next 31st March

08:00-17:30

Ticket price: 70 Chinese yuan. No discount for anyone

Xianghuo in Chinese Buddhism – Incense Fire

In China, there are usually Buddhist monasteries in any place where Han Chinese live. Some places have more monasteries and some places have less. And some monasteries are big while some monasteries are small. However the importance and popularity of a monastery are not decided by its size but by its Xianghuo, the incense fire. But what is Xianghuo, the incense fire? The incense fire can be loosely defined as efficaciousness. Most visitors go to a monastery to pray and wish for good things (yuan) including fortune, good luck, longevity, health, etc. And when that wish worked later, they will go back to that monastery and return that “yuan” by burning lots of incense and maybe some money as donation because they think the Buddha in that specific monastery is very efficacious. And they will probably spread out this efficaciousness to their friends and families, which will help this monastery to be more popular. So if you say a monastery has got big incense fire, then it is a popular monastery around this place no matter how small this monastery is.

Jinhua monastery in Chengdu
Jinhua Monastery

It is a very small monastery with big Xianghuo. It is one of the small monasteries that travelers don’t go in Chengdu; visitors are only local “yuan” givers and returners.