Text by Chen Biao
Labrang Monastery in western Xiahe County of Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu Province, known as the world seminary of Tibetan Buddhism, is currently undergoing its biggest renovation in 300 years. “On September 17, 2012, the protection and renovation project for Labrang Monastery was launched,” reveals Sonam Je, deputy head of Xiahe County Administrative Bureau of Culture, Sports, Radio, Film, and Television. “In addition to the annual investment, the central government earmarked 305 million yuan in the renovation, and the whole project is expected to last seven or eight years.”
A Closer Look of Labrang Monastery
Why was such a huge sum of money invested in renovating a monastery? A closer look at the structure may provide some insight.
In the Tibetan language, “Labrang” means “residence of Living Buddhas.” The monastery stands on a rolling mountain that resembles the shape of a phoenix, inspiring its name, “Phoenix Mountain.” Facing Phoenix Mountain is Dragon Mountain which was also named after its shape. The Daxia River flows between the two mountains and forms a semicircular basin. Tibetan people call the place Tashi Basin, a name with auspicious undertones. In 1709, Jamyang, the first Living Buddha of Labrang, founded the monastery with his followers.......