Chokorgyel Monastery - History

History

In 1509 Gedun Gyatso, the 2nd Dalai Lama, had a meditation cave and founded a hermitage here. The Gelugpa monastery of Chokorgyel (Tibetan: ཆོས་འཁོར་རྒྱལ་དགོན་པ་), is a four hour hike from the sacred lake, Lhamo La-tso, and about 115 km northeast of Tsetang and about 160 km southeast of Lhasa. The monastery is at an altitude of 4,500 m (14,764 ft), while the lake itself is at an altitude of about 5,000 m. (16,404 ft). It is a small, oval lake - no more than 2 square kilometres in size.

The Dzungar Mongols severely damaged the monastery in 1718, although it was rebuilt immediately by the Regent Kangchene, although little, if anything ancient would have survived until the time of the arrival of the Chinese in 1959.

It is said that Palden Lhamo, the female guardian spirit of the sacred lake, Lhamo La-tso, promised the 1st Dalai Lama in one of his visions "that she would protect the reincarnation lineage of the Dalai Lamas." Ever since the time of Gendun Gyatso, the 2nd Dalai Lama, who formalised the system, and senior monks have since regularly visited the lake to seek guidance on choosing the next reincarnations. particularly of the Dalai and Panchen lamas, through visions while meditating there.

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The monastery was an important halting-place for many senior lamas on their treks to and from the 'Vision Lake', Lhamo Lha-so. It once housed 500 monks but was completely destroyed during the Cultural Revolution when every bit of wood was removed from the buildings, leaving only roofless walls. The main hall has since been rebuilt and a few monks have taken up residence once again.

Read more about this topic:  Chokorgyel Monastery

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