Sera is one of Lhasa's great monasteries, as well as an important university monastery where monks are able to expand their philosophical knowledge. Set in the hills just north of the city, Sera was once home to over 5000 monks but after the 1959 revolt and the departure of the Dalai Lama, a great number of monks fled to Mysore in India where they have set up a parallel Sera Monastery. The monastery is best known for the daily debates (not at the weekend) by the resident monks, a ritual that is considered integral to the learning and understanding of Buddhist doctrine. Taking place in the debating courtyard, each point a monk makes is supplemented by gestures, such as claps and pushes, and is a unique sight to behold. The monastery itself is also well worth a look around, the hallways resplendent with scriptures, statues and murals.
What better way to experience it than on a Wendy Wu tour?
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