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Tsurpu Monastery
Main Monastery of Karma-Kagyu Sect of Tibetan Buddhism

Located in the upstream of Chubu River in the northwest of Doilungdeqen County, about 60km away from the west of Lhasa Tibet, and at an altitude of 4,300 meters, Tsurpu Temple is the main temple of Karma Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism. The world-renowned reincarnation system of Tibetan Buddhism was initiated in this monastery and popularized by other religious sects of Tibetan Buddhism.

Facing south, Tsurpu Monastery was built by the first generation Gyalwa Karmapa Dusum Khyenpa in 1189. During a meditation, Dusum Khyenpa realized that Tsurpu Monastery is Chakrasamvara Mandala and everyone will be blessed by Chakrasamvara at here.

The large-scale building complex in Tsurpu Monastery is centered on Dukhang Hall, and also includes Scripture Hall, Buddha Hall, Dharmapalas Hall, Buddhist College (Four great dratsangs), Practice Hall of Esoteric Buddhism, private residence for living Buddha, houses of the monks. Tsurpu Monastery is facing the south and surrounded by mountains on the south, west and north side, and is fronting water and with hills on the back.

There is a spring water pouring out near Tsurpu Monastery and the spring water is clear and sweet. Karmapa (the Abbot’s title of Tsurpu Monastery) made it through a walking stick with supernatural power in the past. Besides, the stone carving statue of Mahakala, the alms bowl of Milarepa and the mitre of Dusum Khyenpa are all the precious treasures of Tsurpu Monastery.

There are also a series of famous scenic spots on the Jiqinbo Mountain surrounding the Tsurpu Monastery, such as the Zhodo Tidro Hermitage, the Retreat Room and the “hole up” caves of generations Karmapa, and the incantation words on the stone left by the Karmapa during a kora. On the mountainside behind Tsurpu Monastery, there is a white building, Zhuokang, which is a practice place for monks in Tsurpu Monastery. The general practice time is three years, three months and three days, and the monks are not allowed to go out and contact with anyone from the outside world during cultivation, and their food was passed in through a window by specified people. In addition, the historical sites in the monastery also includes the Image Stone of Karmapa’s pilgrimage, the natural pattern of the stone pattern of the Goldfish Pilgrimage, even the practice cave of the first Karmapa, etc.

Tsurpu Monastery has a large number of rare cultural relics. The monument of Jiangpu Monastery in the main hall of Tsurpu Monastery is about two and a half meters high and about half a meter wide, and was engraved with ancient Tibetan words, which has the important historical value for studying the politics, economy and religion of the Tubo period. The silver statue, created by the eighth Karmapa to commemorate his guru, is the most important treasure of Tsurpu Monastery.

Tsurpu Monastery has made a huge contribution to Tibetan Buddhism and Tibetan culture. The first living Buddha, Dusum Khyenpa, of the Karma Kagyu sect gave a letter about his reincarnation prediction to his pupil Zhuogundeqian and thus created the world famous reincarnation system. In 1204 AD, when the second Karmapa, Karma Paxi, was born, he was certified as the reincarnation of the first Karmapa Dusum Khyenpa. And then the reincarnation system of the Tibetan Living Buddha was officially established and gradually used by other religious sects of Tibetan Buddhism.

Mask Dance (Cham) Festival at Tsurpu Monastery

Mask Dance is an annual activity of Tsurpu Monastery, the main temple of Karma and Kaggu (White) of Tibetan Buddhism, and it is also one of the major components of Summer Prayer Festival. Besides, there are many large scale religious activities, such as erecting prayer flag pole, unveiling Thangka with Buddha painting and other religious activities. The dance ritual, one of the traditional religious dances, is called "Cham" in Tibetan. According to the content of music, players will dress in long garbs, and wear masks, and hold ritual objects such as knives and shields in their hands. Besides, the accompaniment music is played by musical instruments such as cymbals, buffalo horn, suona, etc. This traditional ritual has been popular for thousands of years.

Thangka Festival at Tsurpu Monastery

On the exhibition of huge Thangka with Buddha image in Tsurpu Monastery, a huge Thangka was carried to the booth by the monks of Tsurpu Monastery. The 38m high and 35m wide embroidery with image of Padmasambhava or Sakyamuni is displayed in front of pilgrims for blessing. With 800-year history, Tsurpu Monastery is considered the main monastery of the Karma Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Exhibition of Buddha Image is a religious rite that Tibetan Buddhism monasteries exhibit huge Thangka and also provides a good opportunity for skillful craftsmen to show their professional craftsmanship, which aims to allow all human beings to admire the Buddha statue, to soak up in the kindness of Buddha, to keep away from the evil and serve the kind, and to purify the soul.

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