Debating at the Sera Monastery
Another fascinating and worthwhile place to visit when in Tibet, is the Sera Monastery.The Sera Monastery is the last of the three principal Yellow Sect monasteries (the Dalai Lama is the head of the Yellow Sect) built in Lhasa. The setting itself is quite charming, with cobbled alleyways, and temples. The highlight of visiting the Sera Monastery is watching the monks debating inside the shady courtyard behind the main temple. Every day, hundreds of red-robed monks assemble in small groups, or pairs, one sitting and one standing, and practice their debating skill, arguing mostly about Buddhist Rituals.
Watching the monks debating is very entertaining, they clap, hop, jump, whoop and rock back and forth. It appears to be more of a fun exercise, than argumentative.
When I was there, they stopped debating for a while, sat in a semi circle and chanted and prayed whilst one of the monks walked around them, swinging incense. See photo above.
My favourite photo from my visit to the Sera Monastery, he reminded me of the Happy Buddha figures that you see, although he looked more serious than jovial :-)