Samye (Tibetan: བསམ་ཡས་, Wylie: bsam yas, Chinese: 桑耶寺) was the first gompa (Buddhist monastery) built in Tibet. It was probably first constructed between 775-9 under the patronage of King Trisong Detsen of Tibet who sought to revitalize Buddhism, which had declined since its introduction by King Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century. The monastery is in Dranang, Lhoka. It was supposedly modeled on the design of Odantapuri in what is now Bihar, India.
The 18th century Puning Temple built by the Qianlong Emperor of Qing China in Chengde, Hebei was modeled after Samye.
The original buildings have long disappeared. They have been badly damaged several times — by civil war in the 11th century, fires in the mid 17th century and in 1826, an earthquake in 1816, and in the 20th century, particularly during the Cultural Revolution. As late as the late 1980s pigs and other farm animals were allowed to wander through the sacred buildings. Each time it has been rebuilt, and today, largely due to the efforts of Choekyi Gyaltsen, 10th Panchen Lama from 1986 onward, it is again an active monastery and important pilgrimage and tourist destination.
- Copyright © 2017 Philippe DESTINE
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