The Sera Monastery is one of three famous monasteries in Lhasa along with the Drepung Monastery and the Ganden Monastery. "Sera" means "Wild Rose Garden". The monastery is about 5 km north of the Jokang in Lhasa. It was founded in 1419, by Jamchen Chojey (Sakya Yeshe), a disciple of Tsong Khapa.The Sera Monastery is a large complex of buildings. These include large religious halls, three respected Buddhist religious colleges. Sera housed more than 5,000 monks in 1959. Although badly damaged, it is still standing and has been largely repaired. It now houses a few hundred Buddhist monks.
The debating traditions in the Sera Monastery are unique among the three famous monasteries in Lhasa. Debates are conducted by the lamas in the monastery every day beginning at 3.a.m. In a battle of words, they supplement their efforts by using a variety of gestures including clapping their hands, pushing their partners for an answer, or plucking their prayer beads to win the virtue of the Buddha.
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