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Drepung monastery

The meaning of «drepung monastery»

Drepung Monastery (Tibetan: .mw-parser-output .uchen{font-family:"BabelStone Tibetan Slim",Jomolhari,"Yagpo Tibetan Uni","Noto Sans Tibetan","Microsoft Himalaya",Kailash,"DDC Uchen","TCRC Youtso Unicode","Tibetan Machine Uni","Qomolangma-Uchen Sarchen","Qomolangma-Uchen Sarchung","Qomolangma-Uchen Suring","Qomolangma-Uchen Sutung","Qomolangma-Title","Qomolangma-Subtitle","DDC Rinzin","Qomolangma-Woodblock","Qomolangma-Dunhuang"}.mw-parser-output .ume{font-family:"Qomolangma-Betsu","Qomolangma-Chuyig","Qomolangma-Drutsa","Qomolangma-Edict","Qomolangma-Tsumachu","Qomolangma-Tsuring","Qomolangma-Tsutong","TibetanSambhotaYigchung","TibetanTsugRing","TibetanYigchung"}འབྲས་སྤུངས་དགོན་པ, Wylie: bras spungs dgon pa, THL: drépung gönpa,[1] "Rice Heap Monastery"),[2][3] located at the foot of Mount Gephel, is one of the "great three" Gelug university gompas (monasteries) of Tibet. The other two are Ganden Monastery and Sera Monastery.

Drepung is the largest of all Tibetan monasteries and is located on the Gambo Utse mountain, five kilometers from the western suburb of Lhasa.

Freddie Spencer Chapman reported, after his 1936–37 trip to Tibet, that Drepung was at that time the largest monastery in the world, and housed 7,700 monks, "but sometimes as many as 10,000 monks."[4][5]

Since the 1950s, Drepung Monastery, along with its peers Ganden and Sera, have lost much of their independence and spiritual credibility in the eyes of Tibetans since they operate under the close watch of the Chinese security services. All three were re-established in exile in the 1950s in the state of Karnataka in south-west India. Drepung and Ganden are in Mundgod and Sera is in Bylakuppe.

Drepung Monastery was founded in 1416 by Jamyang Choge Tashi Palden (1397–1449), one of Tsongkhapa's main disciples, and it was named after the sacred abode in South India of Shridhanyakataka.[6] Drepung was the principal seat of the Gelugpa school and it retained the premier place amongst the four great Gelugpa monasteries.[7] The Ganden Phodrang (dga´ ldan pho brang) in Drepung was the residence of the Dalai Lamas until the Great Fifth Dalai Lama constructed the Potala. Drepung was known for the high standards of its academic study, and was called the Nalanda of Tibet, a reference to the great Buddhist monastic university of India.

Old records show that there were two centres of power in Drepung: the so-called lower chamber (Zimkhang 'og ma) [8] associated with the Dalai Lamas-to-be, and the upper chamber (Zimkhang gong ma) associated with the descendants of Sonam Drakpa, an illustrious teacher who died in 1554.[9] The estate of the Dalai Lamas at Drepung Monastery, called Ganden Phodrang, had been constructed in 1518 by Gendun Gyatso Palzangpo (1476–1541), retrospectively named and counted as 2nd Dalai Lama. The name of the Tibetan government established by the 5th Dalai Lama came from the name of this estate.

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