Introduction to Ganden Monastery (甘丹寺)
Ganden Monastery, or Ganden Namgyeling, is one of the "Great Three" Gelukpa university monasteries of Tibet, located at the top of Wangbur Mountain, Tagtse County, 36 kilometers from Potala Palace in Lhasa, at an altitude of 4,300 meters. The other two "great monasteries" are Sera Monastery and Drepung Monastery. Its full name is Ganden Namgyal Ling. Ganden means "joyful" and is the Tibetan name for Tusita, the heaven where the bodhisattva Maitreya is said to reside. Namgyal Ling means "victorious temple".
It was the original monastery of the Geluk order, founded by Je Tsongkhapa himself in 1409, and traditionally considered to be the seat of Geluk administrative and political power. The Ganden Tripa or "throne-holder of Ganden" is the head of the Gelukpa school.
Being the farthest from Lhasa of the three university monasteries, Ganden traditionally had a smaller population with some 6,000 monks in the early 20th century. Although Waddell reports an estimate of about 3,300 in the 1890s and there were, apparently only 2,000 in 1959. At this time there are about 170 monks.
Ganden Monastery consisted of two principal original colleges, Jangtse and Shartse, meaning North Peak and East Peak respectively. The three main sights in the Ganden Monastery are the Serdung, including the tomb of Tsongkhapa, the Tsokchen Assembly Hall as well as the Ngam Cho Khang the chapel where Tsongkhapa traditionally taught. The monastery houses artifacts which belonged to Tsongkhapa.
It contained more than two dozen major chapels with large Buddha statues. The largest chapel was capable of seating 3,500 monks. Tenzin Gyatso, the present Dalai Lama, took his final degree examination in Ganden in 1958 and he claims to feel a particularly close connection with Tsongkhapa.
Although Ganden Monastery in Tibet, is rebuilt after demolishing, it is still a wonderful master work for those who are interested in Buddhism passed by Tibetan. The Buddha Exhibition Festival in Ganden Monastery is one of the most red-carpet Buddhist ceremonies in Tibet every year.