My trip advisor Tashi William told me from 1st February to 30th April 2018, all A-level scenic spots in Tibet are free to all tourists! Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Namtso, Everest... all free! Meanwhile, airlines and hotels provide not less than 50% discount price.
Overnight in Xi'an Xianyang Airport
In order to save time and save costs, I chose to fly at 10 o'clock on Friday evening and transfer to Xi’an to fly from Xi’an around 6 o'clock the next morning and arrive in Lhasa in the morning.
Early morning arrival at Xianyang Airport, travel alone, airport overnight tips: The Xianyang airport waiting hall did not have a public rest chair. Only the paid massage chair was placed on the boarding floor. Finally, it was discovered that the Starbucks on the arrival floor had opened the rest area after the operation was completed. I finally found a place to rest.
Flight to Lhasa
Tried to get used to altitude sickness after arrival
When finally boarding the plane to Lhasa, I was really full of excitement.
In winter Tibet, from large mountains to large snow-capped mountains, it looked so close to the sun. Under the bright light, the snow-capped mountains were shrouded in thick clouds, and the ice of the river reflected sunlight with a dazzling jewel-like luster, the plane was so close to the ground during the half an hour before arriving at Lhasa airport that I almost felt that it would fly across the surface of the lake.
View from the plane
When the plane had not landed yet, I already felt altitude sickness. On the plane, I already began to have a nosebleed. But I had no other symptoms. So, when I was in Lhasa, I couldn't wait to take up my 5 kg of SLR equipment. I was very interested to go out and headed for the Potala Palace.
Mountain Chakpori is close to the Potala Palace and is the best place to view the Potala Palace. The fee of the viewing angle is 50 yuan.
Palace view from Chakpori
According to legend, the Red Hill and the Chakpori mountain of the Potala Palace were connected together and later were destroyed by the Qing Army. Tibetans built a pagoda in this place and used the iron chains and copper bells to connect them, calling it "connect vein with bells". It is the borderline of Lhasa's old city. After passing this area, we really entered Lhasa.
People in front of Potala
Plaza of the Potala Palace
The plaza of the Potala Palace is the highest city square in the world. Located opposite the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet, it is required to have a passport and Tibet permit for security inspection.
There is a music fountain from 8:30 to 9:00 p.m. in the peak season and the Potala Palace Square in the evening with light and wet ground is the best place for panoramic views of the Potala Palace.
Night view of Potala Palace
At 3 o'clock in the afternoon, there was the lightest sunshine in Tibet. The young monks pushed the elderly monks to bask. The old men looked at the Potala Palace across the street for a long time.
Rocky road on red hill
Passing through the underground passage to the foot of the Potala Palace, Tibetans worshipped devoutly around it.
Originally I wanted to go to the Jokhang Temple, but the 5 kg of SLR equipment let me exhausted when going to the Jokhang Temple, unfortunately, I could only return to the hotel. If I could stop for a good rest at this time, it may be better.
Then, I had a runny nosebleed and blood couldn’t be stopped. I hadn't seen a nosebleed that hadn't stopped for 2 minutes so far. And it was so much that my tissues were not enough.
Immediately after returning to the hotel, I had a strong Altitude Reaction. Headaches and nosebleeds. In short, the first day I arrived in Tibet was really hard.
Potala Palace & the Jokhang Temple
At 9:30 in the morning, entered the Potala Palace, went to the Jokhang Temple in the afternoon, watched the sunset in the Jokhang Temple Square in the evening, and viewed the night view of the Potala Palace in the Palace Square in the evening. This was the best day-long arrangement.
The Potala Palace, located on the Maburi Hill in the northwest of the urban area of Lhasa, the capital of China's Tibet Autonomous Region, is the world's highest magnificent building integrating palaces, castles, and temples. It is also the largest and most complete ancient palaces and castles building complex in Tibet.
Colorful Potala Palace
The Potala Palace was built in the 7th century AD and was reconstructed by the 5th Dalai Lama - Luosangjiacuo in the 17th century. Since then, it has become a symbolic building of politics and religion. Now, the remains of the 7th century are only the Dharma Cave and the St Guanyin Halls (such as the Bodhimanda of Avalokitesvara on the Mount Putuo).
Potala Palace is built leaning mountains and is a civil-stone structure with 13 floors divided into the Red House and the White House. White horse grass is found on the external walls of the building. The color of the white horse grass itself is yellow or brown, and it is dyed red. There are two purposes. One is to reduce pressure. The other is to keep warm in winter and cool in summer.
The White House is a political center, also known as the Winter Palace, and the Summer Palace is in Norbulingka. The Red Palace is a religious center and is the place where the Dalai Lama presides over religious activities. The Red Palace also has Buddha hall and spiritual pagodas. There are Tibetan Buddhist scriptures in the Buddha hall. The paper of the books is made from Wolfsbane. It is poisonous to insects and can act as a pest control.
The wall of the Potala Palace is said to be a mixture of sugar, milk, water, saffron, and natural lime. All of the paintings need 92t, and the funds are given by Tibetans. It has just been brushed when I went and it was exceptionally beautiful.
The whole Tibetans families came to worship and some Tibetans climbed into the Potala Palace with their patients to ask living Buddhas for help.
The black and white in front of the photo are the White House East Gate, which is also the beginning of the Potala Palace.
Palace entry gate
White House East Gate
"Gate Pingcuoduilang” decorated with wood carvings around the door frame and eight auspiciousness and seven lions symbolizing the seven political treasures. At present, the Potala Palace only open this palace, and can not photography after entering.
In Tibetan, it means East Fun Square. The Dalai Lama watches in the middle of the top row and both sides are used by officials. Located on the eastern side of the White House, with an area of more than 1,300 square meters, it is a place where the old Tibetan government held performances in the Potala Palace. In old Tibet, folk art groups from all parts of Tibet sang songs and danced and performed Tibetan opera for Dalai Lama in the Midsummer. What's even grander is the tantric black hat dance held on the December 29th of each Tibetan calendar. The Dalai Lama and all the officials watch from the top to the bottom at the window in front of the White House. Important foreign guests watch at the two-floor dig windows of the courtyard in the east side of the Monks and Officials School from the eastern side, and the entire god dance continues for the whole day. The buildings on the south and north sides of the East Yard are old government buildings; the two horseback drums hung at the entrance to the courtyard are the drums used to tell time in the old Tibetan Potala Palace. Each night (at 21:00 local time in Lhasa, Beijing time 23:00) After the drumming, the Potala Palace is forbidden to walk around and make loud noises. On the south side of the courtyard is a four-storey underground palace, which is an important storehouse for the old Tibetan local government. It mainly stores a large amount of tea. At present, the East Yard, the Monks and Officials School, the government building, and other buildings are turned into office buildings of the Potala Palace Management Office.
The grounds of the square are all made with the unique soil - Aga clay of Tibet. An area of 1,600 square meters. "Aga" is actually a kind of weathered stone. Like soil, like stone, it is mainly used for floors. Tibet’s “Aga” resources are extremely rich, but due to expensive labor costs, only temples and aristocratic families could afford them in old Tibet. Because of its supremacy, the floors of the Potala Palace are almost entirely made with “Aga” Both sides of the square are surrounded by two-story monk’s dormitories.
Lama in Potala
The opposite is the gatehouse of the Monks and Officials School. The main contents of the study are official etiquette, Tibetan grammar, poetic, and calligraphy. These subjects are taught through Buddhist scriptures.
Go up on the left side, go down on the right side, in the middle is a dedicated staircase for the Dalai Lama.
East gate of the white house
Overview of the Dalai Lamas and their spiritual pagodas in the past dynasties
The spiritual pagoda of the 5th Dalai Luosangjiacuo is the most luxurious and used 3,721 kilograms of gold. Passed away when he was 66 years old. The Fifth Dalai Lama lived in the period of the Emperor Shunzhi period and began the reign of politics and religion.
The 6th Dalai Tsangyang Gyatso is the legendary poem prince, 24 years old passed away in Qinghai.
The spiritual pagoda of the 7th Dalai Lama has the best purity of gold and he passed away when he was 49 years old.
The 8th Dalai Lama's pagoda has the best craft. He passed away at the age of 47.
The 9th Dalai Lama's pagoda is the smallest, and he passed away at the age of 11.
Only the portraits of the fifth Dalai and the thirteenth Dalai are bearded. The thirteenth Dalai's beard is upturned.
Common points and differences between spiritual pagodas and pagodas of the Dalai Lamas
The same point is that they are composed of three parts:
1, The tower footing is a square: grains are put into it.
2, the middle section is loaded with scripture books.
3, the upper section is loaded with relics and instruments.
The belly of the tower in Tibetan Buddhism is solid and not empty. In addition, in Tibetan Buddhism, the odd number is auspicious and the even number is misfortune. Therefore, the number of towers is generally odd.
Difference: (is there a grid or not)
spiritual pagodas: There are human bodies in the mesh which is pure gold.
pagodas: No flesh, only relics or ashes. And there is no mesh, it is made of pure silver and is gilded.
The handling of the flesh after the Dalai Lama’s Parinirvana:
1, after Parinirvana, soaked with Tibetan medicine.
3, gild the whole body.
4, pose cross-legged posture.
5, The statue of Avalokitesvara is placed on the front (The Dalai Lama is the embodiment of Guanyin). The flesh and the statue are back to back.
6, sealed up with a mesh grid.
Note: The physical treatment of the Panchen Lama is basically the same as that of the Dalai Lama. The only differences are:
1, there is no mesh grid, but the ladder.
2, It is not the statue of Avalokitesvara that is back-to-back with the body of Panchen, but a simulated figure.
What surprised me in Tibetan Buddhism was the Happy Buddha. Regardless of whether it is the Potala Palace or the Jokhang Temple, Happy Buddha is worshipped. The Jokhang Monastery even has a small room that is full of Happy Buddhas.
Happy Buddha is a yidam Buddha of Esoteric Buddhism of Tibetan Buddhism, namely, “Yutian” and “Aishen” in Buddhism. Among them, the male body represents Buddha Dharma, the female body represents wisdom, that the male body and the female body embrace each other represents Buddha Dharma and wisdom are combined into one whole, indicating the endless wisdom in Buddha Dharma. All sects of Buddhism have statues of Buddha, but the Happy Buddha is owned only by Esoteric Buddhism. Only the Tibetan Buddhism (Lamaism) temples worship it. Its shape stems from the tantric teachings of "men and women should do spiritual practice together". The teaching of “men and women should do spiritual practice together” is the product of the Saktism of Hinduism.
Tibetan Buddhism Tantric Buddhism (commonly known as Lamaism) is a Buddhist branch the ultimate goal of which is not different from that of other sects. However, compared with Chinese Buddhism known as "Exotoric Buddhism” , the teachings of Exotoric Buddhism are based on theoretical exploration, while Tibetan Buddhism uses Esoteric Buddhism as its essence, and uses highly organized invocation rituals, and popular belief as its main features, and publicizes the way of spiritual practice - the combination of three secrets.
Happy Buddha is enshrined in Tantric Buddhism and it is a kind of practice tool for "aligning minds" and "cultivating Buddha nature". Master Tsongkhapa said: "to tune the heart, you need to worship Happy Buddha piously ." Facing the Happy Buddha, "observe and view", gradually become more accustomed, more common and less strange, the desire will disappear naturally. The Buddhist doctrine is that "Form is emptiness, and emptiness is form; form is not different from emptiness, and emptiness is different from form". Using "sexual spiritual practice method" makes us think about emptiness and achieves the purpose of "control desire by desire". On the basis of affirming all things, esoteric believes that the combination of yin and yang is the cause of the creation of all things in the universe, and it is also the ultimate relief of religion.
Modeling: The shape of the Happy Buddha is derived from the teachings of Tantric “men and women do spiritual practice together”. The man is sitting cross-legged, his right leg bent more, the left leg bent inside the right leg, and the curve is smaller. The woman is facing the man and her legs are open. The plump hip sits on the man's left leg. Hugging each other, chest tightly affixed, they are naked for intercourse.
The most eye-opening thing for me was the Kalachakra Mandala in Tibetan Buddhism. There are several in the Potala Palace. There is one in the Jokhang Temple. It was donated by Tibetans in recent years and it has spent 100 million yuan.
In Tibetan, it is called Duikuoerlunlang. It is said that Sakyamuni’s Kalachakra was accepted by Yuexian Wang and saved in Shanpoluo, and later introduced into India. It was introduced to Tibet at the beginning of the 11th century and became popular in the 13th century. The Kalachakra Mandala that was enshrined in the temple was built according to the “Kalachakra Tantra” and was built in temple Dadanpingcuolinsi of Jonangpa. Afterward, it was greeted into the Potala Palace in 1680 and reconstructed with 2279 turquoise and pearls, 5168 red corals, 3235 ambers, 7419 lapis lazuli and glass beads, and 1,896 crystal stones, making the entire mandala beautiful and luxurious.
The mandala is an enshrined thing of Esoteric Buddhism, which has two categories: three-dimensional and painted. Each 23 Buddha, each Buddha has its own different mandala. The mandala is a symbolic representation of the visualization and sacredization—crithdy, that is, the infinite universe, and it is a refined concept. The city in the mandala is a center point, with four doors in east, south, west, and north, and 41'3 forms a directional quadrilateral. From outside to inside, vortex-shaped air, flames, wave-like seawater, and rocks with different heights are all embossed to express the formation of natural objects in the universe.
Potala Palace at night
Cakrasamvara Deity Mandala
The characteristics of the Cakrasamvara Deity Mandala are in the square. There are five concentric circles. From the inside out, there are Dale Circle, Yimi Circle, Koumi Circle, Shenmi Circle, and the Samaya. There are 62 deities.
The main statue in the center of the Dale Circle of the Mandala is Heilugashen King Kong inherited by Luyiba and the main dharma-laksana of the Sagya and Gelug King Kong. The Shengle King Kong is standing. The outer ring is painted with five rounds of followers.
On the second round, there are radiating octahedral petals, one wealth vase in each of the four corners, there is Dakini, lama, Kanda Roha, and four yoga women in Lupini in the four directions, from the third round to the fifth round there are cyan, red and white, and the colors of them are consistent with the three statues of Akshobhya, Amitabha, and Mahavairocana. Each round has eight yab-yum forms of dakas and Dakini.
In the outer circle of the mandala, there are eight jujube forests. A jujube forest is a place for abandoning bodies for wild animals to eat. Wild animals are most dangerous when they are eating. This element does not appear in some mandalas, such as the Guhyasamaja mandala, but it is generally emphasized in the Chakrasamvara Mandala. The sacred practitioners of Chakrasamvara often sit in such a scene where the wolves, tigers, and leopards eat dead people and do spiritual practice. In general, each jujube forest has eight characteristics, such as a pile of fire, a tree, a cloud, etc. Each of these characteristics is an aspect of the practice of Shengle Mandala. The fire usually symbolizes the Zhuohuo.
The upper is seated the original holdings of Buddha King Kong and on the left is the red Vajrayogini. On both sides are the Indian and Tibetan masters. There are two simple mandalas in this Thangka. In the upper left corner, the King Kong is a Hevajra mandala, and in the upper right corner is the Rakta Yamari Mandala. The rest of the upper and in the other parts are filled with other various mandalas.
The larger figure in the lower right corner is Yamataka. His appearance in this Thangka comes from the vision of Master Tsongkhapa, indicating that the painting should belong to the early Gelug Temple and the smaller and in the lower-right corner wearing a kasaya statue is probably the person who was originally commissioned to make the Thangka.
There are countless treasures in the Potala Palace. There are numerous small gold Buddhas in the small caves. There are all kinds of priceless pagodas, and not to mention those that are out of print. They make me wonder.
In the temple, butter lamps are burnt all the time, and the pagoda is actually the tomb of the living Buddha. It is placed in the stone cave where there is no wind and no sunshine, Tibetan Buddhist statues’ faces are expressionless. There are numerous paths in the Potala Palace. If I am alone during the day visiting the White House, I will be panic. I really think that reincarnated soul boys are also very hard. When they are young, they have to live with them. Many times, next to the palace of the reincarnated soul boy is the room of a Dalai Lama who has died or the place of his pagoda.
The "Potala Palace" album produced by the Potala Palace introduces the Potala Palace and Buddha statues. The photo was taken very nicely. The paper is touching. It couldn't be bought elsewhere. Only the Potala Palace has a museum book that is worth collecting. After you leave the White House, you can buy at the gate.
Album of Potala Palace
Sakyamuni’s 12-year-old life-size statue. It is said that this statue can realize all your wishes. Therefore, it is called as “Juewo Rinpoche” and is the most revered Buddha statue in the entire Tibetan region. In the temples of Tibet, only the temples which have important status are covered with gold domes.
The roof of Jokhang Temple
Picture of suppressing devil
In the Jokhang Monastery, there is a very old Thangka, which is painted with a lying witch. The female demon is lying naked with her legs bent, her left leg covering the genital, her right arm lifted, her wrist hanging naturally, and her right arm Lift up and bending her wrist over her head. The head, neck, chest, abdomen, arms, and legs are painted with mountains, rivers, lakes, palaces, and small and large temples with clear veins and vivid colors.
The life-size statue of Sakyamuni
The three life-size Buddha statues in the world: the 8-year-old life-size statue is enshrined in the Ramoche Temple in Lhasa, and the 12-year-old life-size statue is enshrined in the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa and the 25-year-old statue is enshrined in Bodhgaya, India. Among them, the gilt bronze statue of Sakyamuni as the prince at the age of 12 is the most exquisite and noble;
The Chizun Princess of Nepal brought the 8-year-old life-size statue of Sakyamuni and it is enshrined in the Jokhang Temple built for it. She also brought many classics of Buddhism at that time. This is why Tibetan and Nepalese cultures have strong homology. Wencheng Princess brought a 12-year-old life-size statue of Sakyamuni and it is enshrined in the Ramoche Temple. Since then, Jokhang Temple and Ramoche Temple have become a base for Tibetan Buddhism.
In 650 AD, due to misrepresentation that the Tang Dynasty would send troops to Tubo, fearing that the 12-year-old life-size statue will be seized by the Tang Dynasty, the Tibetan King exchanged and concealed the life-size statues in Jokhang Temple and Ramoche Temple brought by Wenchen Konjo and Chizun Princess and they have been reserved up to now. In the Jokhang Temple, there is the 12-year-old life-size statue of Sakyamuni which already has 2500 years and it was produced from India and it was brought into Tibet by Wencheng Princess.
People make the pilgrimage in front of Jokhang
Jokhang Temple "Buddha Dharma wheel worshipped by double deers"
The double deers are a male and a female (distinguished by the horn on the head). It is very compassionate. When someone is in danger, they will go to rescue, even if people are pretending to be dead, like the legendary nine-colored deer. In this sign, the deer represents everything.
Falun is the weapon of ancient India, and Falun is often turned. “Double deers kneel towards Falun” represents all things are listening to Dharma.
Pilgrims on the street
The Tibetan calendar on October 15th is the annual Tibetan traditional festival - Pumiantuqian, namely, the "Palden Lhamo Festival." Every year of the Tibetan calendar, on October 15th, all the monks from the Muru Temple hold a solemn annual memorial ceremony for the Dharma Palden Lhamo of the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa. On the evening of the 14th, the monks invite Palden Lhamo to Sakyamuni Hall and sit with Sakyamuni Buddha. On the morning of the 15th, when the sun is rising, the monks will come to Bajiao Street with their heads supporting the statue of Palden Lhamo. Believers will give Hada to Palden Lhamo. After a series of spiritual activities, they will return to the Jokhang Temple and put the statue back on the original throne. Women are particularly interested in this festival and call it "Fairy Festival". They must dress up on this day and go to worship Palden Lhamo and burn incense.
Festival in Jokhang
About the origin of this festival, Tibetan folks are circulating such a vivid legend: Masuojiemu, the Divine Mother of the Jokhang Temple, had three daughters. The youngest daughter Bailaxiemu only wanted to play every day, and the mother asked her to help her catch lice, but she refused, the mother cursed that she will have many lice on her body, and later Bailaxiemu's statue was full of mice. The second daughter, Dongzanjiemu, loved to talk back, and her mother cursed that she will ask for food along the street. Later Dongzanjiemu's portrait was painted on the stone in the southeast of Barkhor Street. And she depended on the food given by people. The eldest daughter Zilazhamu, and the mother cursed that she will not have a husband in her life and even if she will have one, she can only meet him once in a year. The mother's curse was fulfilled. Bailazhamu's lover lived in Chipuzongzan, on the south bank of Lhasa. She can only meet once in a whole year on October 15.
Thangka hung specially intended for the festival
A place for people to worship on the outskirts
Lamas preparing for festival
Men are particularly respectful of women and will give women gifts or money. Even when women whom you are not familiar with ask money, you must give some. On this day, women will deliberately dress up, go out to play, and go to the Jokhang Temple to pray and make a wish for their future. It is said that the wishes that women make on the day are very likely to be realized.
Since ancient times, Tibet has had the custom to give alms to younger generations, monks, and children regardless of whether they are rich or poor. Children are the happiest on this day, and in the early morning, they will ask their parents for festival money.
the Jokhang Temple Square
In my private opinion, the courtyard of the “Tang-Tibet Alliance monument” in front of the main entrance of the Jokhang Temple is called the Jokhang Temple Square. This was where the “Buddha Dharma assembly” was held. The Buddha Dharma assembly was founded in 1409 by the Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Yellow religion, and becomes the largest annual event in Tibetan Buddhism. Every year from the third day to the 24th of the first month of the lunar month, monks from all parts of the country gather at the courtyard, chant Scriptures, pray, sermon and public debate with Gexi which is the highest Buddhology degree. The monks take turns asking questions and debate with him. The scene is warm and spectacular.
Makye Ame, located in the southeast corner of Barkhor Street in Lhasa, Tibet, is a restaurant based on Nepalese, Indian, and Tibetan cuisines, which has been refined to westernization.
The name of Makye Ame is from the poetry of the sixth Dalai Lama Tsangyang Gyatso, which is said to be the name of the lover of Tsangyang Gyatso. And the place where Tsangyang Gyatso and Makye Ame met with each other is the earthy yellow small building where now Makye Ame is.
People on street
Lalu Wetland National Nature Reserve
Lalu Wetland National Nature Reserve mainly protects the alpine wetland ecosystem. It is a typical wetland of the Tibetan Plateau and belongs to the reed peat bog. It is known as the "Oxygen Bar" in Lhasa, the "Lhasa's Lung" and the "Natural Oxygen Bar". It is currently not open to public.