Samye Monastery

Known as the first monastery ever built in Tibet . Situated in Dranang, Samye Monastery was completed in 779. I t was founded by the Tibetan King Trisiong Detsen and belongs to the Nyingmapa and Sakyapa sects. Samye means "unimaginable" in Tibetan. The monastery combines the styles of China , Tibet and India , and the layout was designed to represent the ideal universe described in Buddhist scriptures. It is said that the monastery was destroyed by fire and was rebuilt for three hundred years as the residence of the 6th Dalai Lama. Finally, Rating Rimpoche completed it. "Utse", the Great Hall symbolizing "Sumeru" in perfect Buddhist universe, is the largest structure in the monastery. The Sun and Moon chapels encircle the large hall, and four "stupas" of different styles stand at each corner of the room. These "stupas" are colored in red, white, black and green to represent the four Heavenly Kings. Four larger halls and eight smaller ones, evenly distributed around "Utse," represent the oceans in that universe. The monastery is secluded from the outside world by a circular wall with thousands of Buddha statues sitting on it. This wall represents a mountain near the border of the universe.