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Samye Monastery

Samye Monastery, located on the north bank of the Yarlung Tsangpo River in Zhanang county, is the first formal Buddhist Monastery with the Buddha Dharma and Sangha in Tibet. Meanwhile, it is also the birthplace of Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, and the key cultural relics under state-level protection.

Samye Monastery was built during the 770's under the patronage of King Trisong Detsen, with the work being directed by Padmasambhava and Shantarakshita, the two Indian masters that the king had invited to Tibet. The monastery combines the styles of China, Tibet and India, and the layout was designed to represent the ideal universe described in Buddhist scriptures. "Utse", the Great Hall symbolizing "Sumeru" in perfect Buddhist universe, is the largest structure in the monastery. It has three floors. The first floor is Tibetan, with a turning wheel cloister full of splendid murals. The second floor is a Chinese Sutra Hall which houses about 472 Chinese stone Buddhas.

After the Samye Monastery was completed, both Indian and Chinese monks were invited there to work on the translation of Buddhist scriptures from their respective languages into Tibetan. As described in a historical book, this monastery is considered "an unimaginable construction and incomparable monastery". Over the centuries it has come under the influence of the Nyingma, Sakya and Geluk schools and is thus considered a symbol of Tibets national identity.

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