Tibetan and Himalayan Library - THL

THL Title Text
Sera Chöding Hermitage (Sera Chöding RitröSe ra chos sdings ri khrod)
by José Ignacio Cabezón
April 29, 2006

Location and Layout

Se ra chos sdings is the closest of all of the hermitages to SeraSe ra, a mere fifteen-minute walk up the mountain just above the monastery. Like SeraSe ra, it faces south.

The main temple at Se ra chos sdings, which before 1959 used to belong to the Lower Tantric College (Gyümé Dratsangrgyud smad grwa tshang)

There are several important buildings at the site. From west to east, they are as follows:

The yellow retreat hut was one of TsongkhapaTsong kha pa’s (1357-1419) principal retreat spots. According to some oral sources, it was the first real house TsongkhapaTsong kha pa allowed to be built for him. In this house there is a small window through which the local site-spirit (zhidakgzhi bdag) would enter to visit him, and there is a famous mural of TsongkhapaTsong kha pa on the wall that is said to be an “image that speaks” speaking-statue (sungjönmagsung byon ma).

Just below (and slightly east of) the yellow retreat hut is the large temple or assembly hall (dukhang’du khang), which was the place where the Lower Tantric College celebrated one of its most important yearly ritual cycles or chötokchos thog. The murals in the clerestory of this temple date to before 1959. The second story of the temple contains meeting/reception rooms and the living quarters for administrators and hierarchs of the Tantric College (Ngakpa Dratsangsngags pa grwa tshang), where they would have stayed while visiting ChödingChos sdings.

TsongkhapaTsong kha pa’s Yellow Retreat Hut at ChödingChos sdings is located just behind the main temple.

There are two different Dharma enclosures (chörachos rwa): one is adjacent to the large temple, the other is closer to the spring (see below).

TsongkhapaTsong kha pa’s (1357-1419) throne was the place where he gave the lectures that resulted in one of his most famous texts, the Ocean of Reasoning (Rikpé GyatsoRigs pa’i rgya mstho). In 2004, work on a small structure to house this throne was almost complete.

A spring with waters that have curative powers was discovered as the result of instructions given by the former abbot of SeraSe ra, Geshé SenggéDge bshes seng ge (d. 1990s).

Farther from these various buildings, there are several huts and caves that are reputed to have served as meditation retreat sites for some of TsongkhapaTsong kha pa’s closest disciples.

The view of SeraSe ra from the far eastern corner of the ChödingChos sdings complex is one of the best views of the monastery.

Sera Choding Hermitage , by José Ignacio Cabezón

Table of Contents

  1. Location and Layout
  2. History
  3. Glossary
  4. Notes
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