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Tashilumpo Monastery, Shigatse, Tibet
扎什伦布寺,西藏日喀则
Built in 1447, the Tashilumpo (or Tashilhungpo, meaning auspicious Sumeru) Monastery is located on the southern slope of the Nyima Mountain to the west of the Shigatse (Xigaze) city. It is one of the four monasteries of the Gelug Sect of Tibetan Buddhism. According to historical documents, the monastery was built under the supervision of the first Dalai Lama Genden Zhuba, a disciple of Zongkapa, the founder of the Yellow Sect. When the fourth Panchen Lobsan Qoigyi became the abbot, it was expanded to a large scale. Since then, the monastery has become the residence of Panchen Lama. Listed as a key relic under state protection by the State Council on March 4, 1961, the monastery occupies 150,000 square meters. Facing south, the complex is built symmetrically against the Nyima Mountain. Its wall, over 3,000 meters long and built according to the topography of the mountain, surrounds 57 buildings, or more than 3,600 rooms.

The earliest building in the monastery is the Coqen Hall (Large Scripture Hall), whose construction lasted 12 years. Inside are 48 red pillars, which support the ceiling. In the center of the hall is the throne of the Panchen. To the left of the hall is the Great Buddha Hall, built in 1461 with financial support from Jorwo Zhabung, king of Guge Kingdom in Ngari. Inside stands the 11-meter- tall, benevolent-looking Maitreya. To the right of the hall is the Tara Hall, which houses a two-meter-tall bronze statue of White Tara and two clay statues of Green Tara. The interior is decorated with schist collected at the foot of the Himalayas and radiates a peaceful aura. In front of the hall is a 600-square-meter area where the Panchen gives Buddhist lectures and lamas discuss Buddhist scriptures. On the surrounding stone walls are engravings of the images of the Buddhism founder, the four Heavenly Kings, the 18 arhats and 1,000 statues of Buddha with different facial expressions. In the middle of the northern wall are engraved images of sages such as Zongkapa, the founder of the Yellow Sect, 80 senior monks and variously styled flying apsaras and Bodhisattva.

Gyinalhakang, the Han Chinese Buddhist Temple, houses many gifts to the Panchen from the Chinese emperors of past dynasties, such as ancient porcelain wares, gold and silver goblets, tea sets, bowls and plates, jade containers and refined fabrics. The earliest objects, the nine bronze Buddha statues, are said to have been brought to Tibet by Princess Wencheng of the Tang Dynasty (AD 618- 907). A red Tara bronze statue is believed to have been made in the Yuan Dynasty (1206-1368). A 16.5-jin gold seal, inscribed with the three languages of Chinese, Mongolian and Tibetan, is a gift from an emperor of the Qing Dynasty (1616-1911). There are also Buddhist beads made of precious stone, imperial mandates and Buddhist scriptures. Inside the hall hangs a huge picture of a Qing-dynasty emperor in kasaya holding a Dharma wheel. Before the picture is a tablet inscribed with Long live Emperor Daoguang (reigning 1821- 1851). When the emperor issued a decree, the Panchen would kowtow to express his gratitude before the tablet after receiving it. The side hall of the Han Chinese Buddhist Temple is the meeting room where the Qing-dynasty grand minister resident of Tibet and the Panchen used to meet.

West of the Tashilumpo Monastery is the Qamba Buddha Hall, which was built in 1914 under the supervision of the ninth Panchen Qoigyi Nyima. The hall is 30 meters high and covers 862 square meters. In the hall, the bronze statue of Qamba Buddha is the highest of its kind in the world. It took 110 workers four years to finish casting it. The statue used 6,700 taels of gold and 115,000-odd kilograms of copper. The statue sits on a 3.8-meter-high lotus seat. It is 26.2 meters high, his shoulder 11.5 meters wide, his foot 4.2 meters long, his hand 3.2 meters long, his middle finger 1.2 meters long and his ear 2.8 meters long. Between his eyes are inlaid a total of 1,400 pieces of diamond of various sizes, pearls, amber, coral and other precious stones.

In 1985, the State Council allocated special funds to renovate the divine pagoda of the fifth to ninth Panchen Lamas, which had been destroyed during the 1966-1976 cultural revolution. Under the personal supervision of the 10th Panchen, the sacrificial hall built to the memory of past Panchen Lamas was named Tashinamgyi (Auspicious Heaven), which opened on January 22, 1989. The whole project lasted three years and eight months. Covering a floor space of 1,933 square meters, the hall is 33.17 meters high, inside which the divine pagoda is 11.52 meters high. The gilded pagoda is covered with a layer of silver and inlaid with precious stones. Its decorative patterns look grand and solemn. The remains of the Panchen Lamas in five sandalwood boxes are placed inside. In its center is the bronze statue of the ninth Panchen Qoigyi Nyima, while the walls of the hall present murals depicting the contributions of famous lamas of different sects.

The 10th Panchen Erdeni Qoigyi Gyaincain passed away on an inspection tour to Shigatse on January 20, 1989. Three days later, the State Council issued a decision to build a sacrificial hall to enshrine the body of the 10th Panchen Lama for people to pay their respects and to remember his love for the country and his devotion to Tibetan Buddhism. On an inspection tour to Tibet in 1990, President Jiang Zemin paid a special visit to the Tashilumpo Monastery to the memory of the 10th Panchen Lama and inquired about the construction of the hall. With careful choosing of the design, the construction started on September 20, 1990. The state allocated 64.24 million yuan of special funds, and 614 kilograms of gold and 275 kilograms of silver to be used in building the hall. The project lasted three years. A grand inaugural ceremony was held on September 4, 1993 and the hall was named Shesongnamgyi, meaning sacrificial hall for the three sages of Paradise, Human World and Nether World. The naming itself was a serious matter. Four names were submitted, and each was wrapped inside a zanba in the shape of a ball. The four balls were put in a bottle before the body of the Panchen Lama. After three days of sutra chanting, a ball jumped out of the bottle when it was being shaken. Peeling off the zanba, the name appeared: Shesongnamgyi. The 35.25-meter-high sacrificial hall covers a floor space of 1,933 square meters, and its wall is 1.83 meters thick. The style of the building is at once traditional and modern, displaying both ethnic and religious features.

The 11.55-meter-high pagoda covers 253 square meters, its exterior covered with a layer of gold and inlaid with pearls and precious stones. On the pagoda are 818 bags, which hold 24 different kinds of stones, altogether 6,794 pieces. Strictly in accord with religious rituals, the interior of the pagoda is composed of three storeys. The first storey holds barley, wheat, rice, tea leaves, salt, various kinds of dried fruits and candies, sandalwood, various medical herbs, silk and satin, elaborately carved saddles, pilose antlers, rhinoceros horns, silver, pearls, stones, kasaya and Tibetan costumes. The second storey holds Tripitaka, classical works by the three founders of the Gelug Sect, works by all the Panchen Lamas in history and Buddhist scriptures written with gold powder ink. The top storey has Buddhist scriptures and Buddha statues. On August 30, 1993, the body of the 10th Panchen Lama was moved into the pagoda. The body was first put in a sandalwood bier, which was then put into a specially made safety cabinet and finally moved into the Precious Bottle in the pagoda. At the entrance is a life-size statue of the 10th Panchen Lama. Around the body are a variety of religious articles, such as kasaya, tangka painting scrolls, Buddha statues and scriptures.

Deqen Galsang Phodrang is the summer palace of the Panchen Lama. The summer palace of the Panchen Lama was originally built in Gongjor Lingka; thus, it is also called Gongjor Ling Palace. In 1954, the Nyang Qu River flooded due to snow avalanche and the rare floods destroyed the Gongjor Ling Palace. Because of the concern of the late Premier Zhou Enlai, the state allocated funds to build Deqen Galsang Phodrang, which was called New Palace. Located east of Shigatse city, the palace comprises the living quarters for the Panchen Lama, his office and five sacrificial rooms enshrining more than 100 Buddhist statues. The building complex looks classical and elegant, with verdant trees and lush grass and flowers. The 10th Panchen Lama died there and, four months later, his body was moved to the Tashilumpo Monastery where he was buried and worshipped.

In August on the Tibetan calendar each year, lamas in the Tashilumpo Monastery hold the Ximoqenpo Festival the Holy Dance Festival. Originally a religious ritual to drive away evil spirits, it gradually evolved into a traditional festival in Shigatse. According to historical documents, the festival was first sponsored by Dainbai Nyima, the seventh Panchen Lama, about 200 years ago. On August 3 on the Tibetan calendar each year, a dance contest is held among lamas in the monastery, and the festival formally commences on August 4 and lasts three days till August 6, when it is open to the public. The monastery now boasts 39 lamas who can dance 61 different kinds of dances. A huge tent is set up on a platform. On its left are seats for distinguished guests; on its right is the orchestra of the monastery; and in front of the platform is the audience who have traveled far to attend. The whole activity is imbued with a strong religious fervor and follows a strict protocol. The dance is simple in rhythm and slow in execution. To enliven the atmosphere, some short, light pieces are performed between the dances, which always make the audience rock with laughter. During the three-day festival, dozens of holy dances will be performed, such as Buddha's Warrior Attendant Dance, Skeleton Dance, Deer and Cow Dance, Bhiksu Dance and Six Longevity Dance.

On the first day of the festival, the first to take the stage are people wearing deity masks, who dance while circling the stage before retreating backstage. Several minutes later, four ghosts jump onto the stage; they have long fingers and toes like skeletons. They dance and then retreat, too. The third group, wearing iron hats, dance while circling the stage. The fourth group of 20 enter the stage with hats and different silk ribbons hanging on their bodies. The fifth come to the stage imitating the animals. The sixth group are clothed in yellow, red, indigo-blue and purple masks, baggy pattern clothes and hats with tassels. Among the seventh group, four lamas dress up like ghosts, carrying a body molded of butter and zanba; they are followed by deities. After chanting sutras, the dancers stab the body with a knife, pour oil on dry firewood, light it and throw the body (representing ghost) into the fire.

The second day starts with a lama wearing a large Buddha mask and sitting straight on a lotus seat, motionless like a wood or clay sculpture, with two boys waiting on him on both sides. On the stage are two lamas wearing masks and colorful clothes, and dancing according to the rhythm. They soon retreat. Then a pair of lamas dressing up like guards of Dharma come onto the stage, followed by more than ten pairs. The last four wear skeleton masks and strange costumes. Two small ghosts carry a bag of zanba and let the four in skeleton masks take zanba out to spread in all directions.

On the third day, six images of longevity appear on the stage: crane, deer, human, mountain, water and village. The lama sitting on the lotus seat expounds Buddhist scriptures to the wolf and deer. Two white-haired old men then appear on the stage, holding bows and arrows and aiming at the wolf and deer upon seeing them. The lama stops them, telling them it is a sin to kill. Then he talks eloquently about the cycle of incarnation. Finally, the old men and the animals, led by the lama, ascend to the immortal world.

扎什伦布寺(藏语:bkra-shis lhun-po),意为“吉祥须弥寺”,全名为“扎什 伦布白吉德钦曲唐结勒南巴杰瓦林”,意为“吉祥须弥聚福殊胜诸方州”,是西藏日 喀则地区最大的寺庙,位于日喀则市城西的尼玛山东面山坡上。扎什伦布寺为四世之 后历代班禅喇嘛驻锡之地。它与拉萨的“三大寺”甘丹寺、色拉寺、哲蚌寺合称格鲁 派的“四大寺”。四大寺以及青海的塔尔寺和甘肃的拉卜楞寺并列为格鲁派的“六大 寺”。 1961年3月4日,扎什伦布寺被国务院列为国家重点文物保护单位。

1447年,宗喀巴最小的弟子,后来被追溯为一世达赖喇嘛的根敦珠巴(根敦主)在 当时的后藏大贵族曲雄郎巴•索朗白桑和琼杰巴•索朗班觉的资助下,最初兴建扎什伦 布寺。开始寺院定名为“岗坚典培”,意为雪域兴佛寺,后被根敦珠巴改成现在的名 字。历时12年建成。1600年,四世班禅罗桑确吉坚赞任扎什伦布主持时,对该寺进 行了大规模扩建。四世班禅是第一个被册封的班禅喇嘛,从此扎什伦布成了历代班禅 喇嘛的驻锡之地。历代班禅对扎什伦布寺均有扩建。

扎什伦布寺占地面积15万平方米,周围筑有宫墙,宫墙沿山势蜿蜒迤逦,周长3000 多米。寺内有经堂57间,房屋3600间,整个寺院依山坡而筑,背附高山,座北地向 阳,殿宇依次递接,疏密均衡,和谐对称。金顶红墙的高大主建筑群更为雄伟、深厚 、壮观。远处眺望,楼台醒目,殿堂叠耸,金碧辉煌,宏观而壮美。进寺观看,香炉 紫烟升腾,贡台灯火闪烁,众佛尊容各异,形态十分逼真。大殿里,僧侣诵经井然; 佛像前,信徒顶礼膜拜。五百多年来,它强烈地吸引着国内外佛教信徒,游人在这里 朝拜,观瞻。

大经堂:即错钦大殿,是扎什伦布寺最早的建筑,历时12年建成。大经堂前,有个 600多平方米的讲经场,这个场是班禅对全寺僧人讲经及僧人辩经的场所。讲经场四 壁,有石凿而成穴居于洞壁的佛教祖师,四大天王、十八罗汉和形态各异的一千尊佛 像和八十位佛教高僧及各种飞天仙女、菩萨。大经堂内,48根朱漆大柱遥相挺立,承 托殿顶殿堂正中有班禅的宝座。大殿左侧,是公元1461年,在阿里古格王觉五扎蚌 资助下扩建的大佛堂,当中塑造了一尊高11米的弥勤佛像,佛像面部形态慈善和蔼, 端庄娴静,由尼泊尔工匠与藏族工匠共同完成。大殿堂右侧,是度母佛堂,里面安放 着高2米的白度母铜像,两旁是泥塑的绿度母像。经堂里面是用喜马拉雅山麓的片岩 铺成,整个环境弥漫着一种修行炼法的浓厚气氛。

甲纳拉康佛堂:甲纳拉康,意为“汉佛堂”,是西藏其它寺院不曾多见的佛堂。佛堂 内珍藏着历代皇帝赠送班禅的永乐古瓷、金银酒盏、茶碗碟盘、玉石器皿、纺织品类 等诸多礼品。最早有唐代的九尊青铜佛像,相传是文成公主带进藏的。晚些的有元朝 时期的一尊骑在野猪上面的赤身女度母铜像,还有清朝皇帝赐给班禅的一枚重16.5 斤,上镌汉、蒙、藏三种文字的金印。此外,还有宝石佛珠,封诰敕书、经卷等。

汉佛堂偏殿,有一清朝驻藏大巨与班禅的会晤堂。正殿,挂着清朝乾隆皇帝身穿袈裟 ,手端法轮的大幅画像,像下立有道光皇帝的牌位,上写有“道光皇帝万岁万岁万万 岁”文字。每逢皇上下诏,班禅接旨受封后要在皇帝牌位前叩首谢恩。汉佛堂内的文 物,不言而喻地证明西藏地方与历代中央朝庭的隶属关系。

强巴佛殿:在扎什伦布寺西侧,有一座宏大殿宇,这就是强巴佛殿。内有强巴大铜佛 像一尊,最为引人注目。大殿建于1914年,由九世班禅曲吉尼玛主持修建。殿高30 米,建筑面积862平方米。佛殿全为石垒砌,接缝密实,庄严肃穆。整个佛殿分四大 阶梯状,层层收拢高出。每层顶角各卧雄师一尊。上部殿檐系缀铜铃,殿堂以铜柱金 顶而装饰,气势雄伟壮阔。强巴佛蹲坐在高达3.8米的莲花基座上,面部朝南,俯瞰着 寺宇,佛像高26.2米,肩宽11.5米,脚板长4.2米,手长3.2米,中指周长1.2米,耳长2.8 米,是臣型雕塑行列中的珍品,也是世界上最高最大的铜塑佛像。铸造这尊佛像,由此 及110个匠,花费4年时间才完成。共耗黄金6700两、黄铜23万多斤。佛像眉宇间白 毫镶饰的大小钻石、珍珠、琥珀、珊瑚、松耳石1400多颗,其它珍贵装饰为数更多 。

灵塔殿:扎什伦布寺的灵塔是历代班禅的舍利塔。扎什伦布寺里修建的班禅灵塔共有 8座,“文革”中,五至九世班禅灵塔祀殿被毁。1985年至1989年,十世班禅大师为 五至九世班禅重新修建了一座合葬灵塔殿,取名叫“扎什南捷”(吉祥的天国)。四 世班禅的灵塔,在七十年代重建在原五世班禅的灵殿里。一至三世班禅的灵塔祀殿没 有修建在扎什伦布寺。一世班禅曾任甘丹寺第三任池巴(住持),圆寂后灵塔修建在 甘丹寺。二、三世班禅生前任恩贡寺(今日喀则江当乡)池巴,圆寂后其灵塔均修建 在恩贡寺。

四世班禅罗桑曲吉(1567——1662)的灵塔十分豪华,这要归功于他对扎什伦布寺 的重大贡献,扎什伦布寺初建成时,当时只有大经堂下面一层。规模不大,僧人也不 算多,四世班禅时,大经堂扩建到三层,并修筑了其它经堂,这也是扎什伦布寺最大 的一次扩建,它对于弘扬佛法,传教授义,扩大扎什影响起了积极作用。后来经过历 代班禅的扩建,才形成了今天这样的规模。四世班禅活了94岁。由于他对扎什伦布寺 作出了突出的贡献,僧徒们为纪念他,建造了这座豪华的灵塔殿堂。这座灵塔殿堂, 用了四年零一百三十天时间,于公元1666年建成,灵塔高11米,花费黄金2700余两 ,白银3.3万两,铜7.8万斤,绸缎9000余尺,此外,还有珊瑚、珍珠、玛瑙、松耳石等 共7000多颗,色彩缤纷,荣耀华贵。

五至九世班禅合葬灵塔殿“扎什南捷”,从开工到1989年元月22日举行开光大典, 历时三年零八个月,总建筑面积为1933平方米,高为33.17米,其中灵塔高度为11.52 米。塔身镏金以银皮包裹,遍镶珠宝,雕饰华美,造型庄严,踏内装饰也非常考究, 数目繁多。五至九世班禅遗骨,分装在5个檀香木盒内,安放在灵塔的宝瓶里。灵塔 正中安放着九世班禅曲吉尼玛的铜像。大殿四周墙壁绘有藏传佛教各教派的著名高僧 业绩的壁画。修建这灵塔,得到了中央以及西藏各级政府和有关部门的大力支持。十 世班禅大师生前曾说:“扎什南捷的建成,是藏汉人民共同劳动的结晶,是西藏广大 僧俗人民爱国主义精神的具体体现,是藏汉民族团结的象征”。

“释颂南捷”是第十世班禅额尔德尼确吉坚赞大师灵塔祀殿。大师生前是我国一位伟 大的爱国主义者,中国共产党的忠诚朋友,中国藏传佛教的杰出领袖,中国佛教协会名 誉会长,。1989年元月28日,他在日喀则视察期间圆寂。为了表达党和国家及人民群 众对班禅大师的缅怀之情,在大师圆寂后的第三天,党中央国务院就决定在扎什伦布寺 修建大师遗体灵塔祀殿,供人们瞻仰朝拜,缅怀他爱国爱教的业绩。经过多方实地勘察 ,论证和设计,1990年9月20日,举行了灵塔开工奠基。为建好灵塔祀殿,国家拨出 6424万元,黄金614公斤,白银275公斤。在工程进行中,社会各界人士和群众也积 极支持灵塔祀殿修建工作,参加义务劳动,自愿捐款捐物。历经三年时间,1993年9 月4日,第十班禅额尔德尼确吉坚赞大师灵塔祀殿开光盛典在扎什伦布寺隆重举行。 如今,展现在世人面前的“释颂南捷”大殿,总建筑面积为1933平方米,高35.25米 。祀殿主体采用了现代建筑中的钢筋水泥框架结构,墙壁以花岗石砌筑,墙厚达1 .83米,达到八度设防要求。整个建筑以西藏古代宗教建筑风格为主,吸收了唐、清 建筑艺术特色和佛教灵塔建筑形式。祀殿由红色和棕色两大建筑部分组成,在殿的顶 端,覆盖着具有民族、宗教特色的金顶。灵塔面积为253平方米,塔高11.55米,塔 身以金皮包裹,遍镶珠宝,共安放宝石袋818个,共24种珠宝6794个。塔内装藏也十 分丰富,按照宗教仪轨,整个灵塔内装藏分为上中下三层。下层装有青稞、小麦、大 米、茶叶、盐、碱、各种干果和糖类、檀香木、各种药材、各种绸缎、金雕镶嵌的马 鞍、鹿茸、犀牛角、银宝、珠宝、大师袈裟和藏装。中层装有大藏经和格鲁派三大祖 师的经典著作、历代班禅的经典著作、历代班禅经师的著作、贝叶经、金汁书写的佛 经等。在塔的上层装有佛经和佛像。十世班禅大师的法体完好地安放在众生福田的中 央,周围放置了各种宗教用品,如袈裟、唐嘎、佛像、经书等。