Ganden Monastery in Lhasa
Ganden monastery is located 50Km northeast of Lhasa, Gaden monastery was built in 1409 by revervent Master Tsongkhapa, and it is the main or the mother monastery of the Gelugpa school of Tibetan Buddhism. Master Tsongkhapa was born in Tsongkha area of Amdo which is located in the east Tibet.
Tsongkhapa came to central Tibet to study Buddha Dharma from different masters of Nyingma, Sakya, Kagyu and other schools at that time. After many years of study and practice, he became an excellent master and many monks came to be his disciples. In 1409, he organized the first great prayer (Monlam) festival in Lhasa. Furthermore, at that time any of this students and patrons requested him to build Gaden monastery with their support. As a result, the construction began in the same year. Since then it became a great learning center.
Master Tsongkhapa was the founder of Gelugpa School which is mainly based on the Kadampa School that Atisha introduced in the 11th century, but Tsongkhapa made the study of Buddhism very systematic and he was very strict in following the Buddhist disciplines. There are two main colleges which are Shartse and Changtse. Within the two colleges, there are many Kangtsens or colleges with their own residence complex.
In terms of learning, the monks study and practice the Lamrim or the “Gradual Path to Enlightenment”. Tsongkhapa wrote it based on Atisha’s text. Besides, they mainly study the five great subjects of Buddhism. In terms of sacred relics, Ganden monastery has the burial or entombment stupa of Tsongkhapa, his teeth, and the famous Gaden throne. It is the highest spirital ranking in the Gelug School of Tibetan Buddhism. Tsongkhapa was the first throne-holder. In addition, other subsequent throne-holder titles were also awarded . The basis of the titles is a hierarchical progression based on merits.