Life feels like the famous words of Cangyang Gyatso (Tibetan: ཚངས་དབྱངས་རྒྱ་མཚོ།, the Sixth Dalai Lama).
Travel to Sichuan-Tibet▲
Sertar Buddhist College, a Buddhist college located in the mountains, is a pure land where people can let go of their earthly troubles.
Located at an altitude of 3,700 meters, the full name is Larung Gar Buddhist College Serta, one of the largest Tibetan Buddhist colleges in the world. It attracts thousands of Tibetan Buddhist practitioners from far and wide, and the small red houses that dot the mountains are their monks' residences, forming a characteristic feature of the landscape.
It was founded in 1980 with just over 30 people. In 1987, the 10th Panchen Master expressed his approval for the establishment of a Buddhist college here, and in 1993, Zhao Puchu, president of the Buddhist Association of China, inscribed the name of the college. In 1993, it was called "the largest Buddhist college in the world" by Le Monde. There are two types of long-term and short-term further studies, the long-term duration is 6 years, but the special degree takes 13 years, and students who pass the individual examinations in each subject, the establishment of sectarianism and oral arguments, the college can confer the degree of khenpo (guru). The Buddhist college has many Han Sutra students, so it also has a Han Jingyuan where khenpos teach the scriptures in Chinese. Although the monks come from different regions, they all live in peace. The precepts of the Buddhist monastery are very strict, and the monastic houses of men and women are clearly separated, and even brothers and sisters are not allowed to visit each other.
Serta Larung Gar Buddhist College▲
The author's first trip was in the mid-nineties.
From Chengdu to Malkang, and then from Malkang to Serta. It was winter, and apart from me and my colleagues, the cars were full of lamas wrapped in thick Tibetan robes or crimson robes. The sky was dark and the car started, and some lamas gently shook the prayer wheel, some gently plucked the Buddha beads, and some whispered Tibetan Buddhist scriptures. And the two of us sat in the corner, like intruders out of place.
In those years, the construction of highways and national highways was not perfect, and the cars became more and more bumpy on the national highways, and the cars drove slower and more and more carefully. Driving between the valleys, the road keeps bending with the rolling mountains, and each turn is almost 90 degrees. The mountains on both sides are covered with huge stones, as if the breeze blows lightly, the stones will fly down. In addition, in the winter of December, ice is clearly visible on the roads, and the rivers that run through the valley are also largely frozen. As early as before I came, I heard friends who had been to Serta say that once I passed Malkan, the road would only get worse and worse, and if it was in the rainy season, a considerable part of it could be called a "rotten dirt road".
Where the strongest faith gathers ▲
But even among the rocks and mountains, the colorful prayer flags that spread over the mountains still fluttered high, silently chanting scriptures for all those who passed by it. This multicolored prayer flag, like a plate of colorful paints, adds too much vitality to this somewhat monotonous mountain. On the frozen riverbank, stupas quietly guard this bumpy section of the national highway. Maybe it's because the Shu road is difficult, so it needs the protection of the stupa even more? With them, they can protect all passers-by to reach their destination safely; Perhaps it may not be because the Shu road is difficult, because the Tibetan people have never been stingy in respecting and following the Buddha, and they have always built stupas on the ridges, passes, and rivers to protect the heavenly life.
The devotion of the heart▲
On the frozen road, from time to time, you can see people in Tibetan robes kowtowing in three steps, kowtowing and waiting for their long heads. At this moment, the sun has not yet fully come out, and this section of the road is still on a shady slope. They crawled on mountain roads, on the cold ice, on this cold, arduous but meritorious pilgrimage road. Every time you grow your head, you are measuring the earth with your own body, and you are expressing your most sincere admiration to the Buddha.
Full of red eyes▲
The sky was getting brighter, and the rays of the sun dressed the somewhat gloomy mountains in a warm and brilliant robe. The winter sun is never vicious, there is never any unreserved warmth. The road conditions were a little bumpy, basking in this warm sun, but I didn't feel a little sleepy, I squinted my eyes and fell asleep without realizing it. In a daze, I suddenly felt as if someone was fiddling with the little pointed winter hat I wore on my head from time to time. The car stopped for a short rest, and I opened my eyes and felt the little winter hat seem to be moving again. A young lama followed his elderly grandfather to get out of the car for lunch. As I walked by, the little lama couldn't help but reach out and gently tug at my little winter hat, his eyes seemed to be full of curiosity, and then followed my grandfather out of the car.
Tibetans who kowtow in three steps▲
When I arrived in Serta County, it was late afternoon, and as soon as I got off the bus, I felt a faint headache.
Serta County is one of the highest counties in Kardze Prefecture, with an average altitude of about 3,800 meters. In fact, Serta's altitude is similar to Lhasa, but local friends say that there is a very strong magnetic field here. Many travelers who have many years of highland hiking experience will experience more obvious altitude sickness to varying degrees. Sure enough, at an altitude of almost 4,500 meters, Yang Zhuoyun did not have the slightest high opposition, and at this moment, when I got out of the car, my head ached, and my companion with me had chest tightness. Fortunately, it did not affect our normal activities, so we walked slowly to the youth hostel on the side of the road.
The monks kowtow
Perhaps the powerful magnetic field came from the Wuming Buddhist Academy.
It is the realm of the Buddha, and we feel the powerful aura from the Dharma at the feet of the Buddha. In this world, it seems that there are really too many things that cannot be explained scientifically, and perhaps there are indeed some forces that we cannot see and touch.
Serta doesn't seem to be as cold as people say, perhaps because the enthusiasm of the highland sun is too unreserved. A golden statue of a galloping horse glows in the afternoon sun and stands proudly on the huge square. This is the big landmark of Serta County - Golden Horse Square. It is said that in the time of King Gesar, Serta excavated gold in the shape of a horse's head, so the town was named "Serta", which means "golden horse" in Tibetan. It is a small city sheltered by Buddhas, which is the source of Gesar culture.
After resting for a day, the next day at nine o'clock, we hitchhiked at Golden Horse Plaza and ran to the red houses that covered the mountains. Located in Larung Gargou, more than 20 kilometers from the county seat of Serta, Wuming Buddhist College was founded by His Holiness Ruyibao Jigme Phuntsok in 1980. The so-called five mings, here are the statement, the cause, the medical prescription, the craftsmanship and the inner understanding. Serta County is a place where Tibetan Buddhist temples are concentrated, all of which are red religions, and the locals have a saying that "the mountains and rivers of Serta are red". The monastic houses here are spectacular, with kilometres of valleys lined with densely packed wooden huts. There are several temples and Buddhist halls scattered on the valley floor and mountain beams, although the scale of the buildings is not very large, but the decoration is exquisite and splendid; Lamas and nuns in oar-red robes come and go, and the air is full of life and peace.
Sincerity is spiritual
On the highest peak of the Buddhist Academy, there is a resplendent building called "Mandala". The Sanskrit name for the mandala is "mandala", which means a place where some kind of offering is carried out according to Buddhist tantric rituals, and it is usually a place for people to pass on sutras. The upper part of it is the place where the meridians turn, and it is said that if you have any disease, you can make a hundred turns here; On the lower level is the prayer wheel, the golden cylinder that leaves a long crunch after the turn of people's dry hands.
Surrounded by mountains, the monks' residences in the ditch, centered on the large scripture hall of the Buddhist college, are densely packed with hillsides on all sides, and countless crimson log cabins stretch for countless times, and you can't see the end at a glance. This is the purest Buddhist paradise, and among the majestic mountains, the ancient Nyingma Red Sect inherits the broad culture and worldly feelings of Tibetan Buddhism. The prayer flags fluttering in the wind, the red houses built by the mountains, the kind and warm monks, at a hurried glance, those worldly lights and shadows, the worldly Sanskrit will be deeply imprinted in the mind, so that the heart is attached and difficult to give up.
Close-up view of Serta Buddhist College▲
Last year, I traveled again by chance, and the author still set off from Chengdu to the north, covering a distance of more than 500 kilometers.
Passing through Mianyu Town to Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Region, you can see white snow-capped mountains in the distance, and the grassy slopes on the side of the road are also covered with thin ice and snow. On the highway, I still see the scene of 30 years ago, groups of devout Tibetans who are knocking in three steps and one knock, making people feel their deep devotion and awe. As the sun set, we arrived at a hotel on a plateau 3,000 meters above sea level, where young monks were concentrating on tablets and mobile phones in a restaurant downstairs. I have a sudden feeling in my heart, and the monks have also integrated into the current era of electronic products...
Drive Serta Road▲
In the past 30 years, the small red house of the Buddhist college, the frame of natural stone and wooden structure, and the dark red paint of the exterior wall, make the entire Buddhist college more conspicuous and solemn. In the early morning and dusk hours, I took my camera equipment and walked the paths between the huts, looking for different angles. In the cool breeze, I climbed the "Mandala" on the mountain, arrived again at the place where Tibetan Buddhism had reappeared, and relived the old dream overlooking the entire academy and the mountain. Overlooking the valley for several kilometers, there are densely packed monastic houses, small red houses, and several golden temples and Buddhist halls. This scene of "rivers and rivers are red" makes people marvel, feel the majestic momentum and profound connotation of the Buddhist college, and suddenly think of the beauty of the sense of quantity emphasized by the famous Chinese painter Wu Guanzhong.
The current Sedar panorama▲
The painter Wu Guanzhong believes that people appreciate the beauty of texture and ignore the beauty of quantity.
He said: "Quantitative beauty includes factors such as area, volume, capacity and weight, and is composed of formal conditions such as length ratio and area division, and it plays a far more significant role in form than texture beauty. He further explained that when the painter expresses the sense of volume of the object, he exaggerates if he wants to exaggerate, and he abandons if he wants to discard. His works, whether pine stones, red houses, mountain villages, parrots, landscapes, nurseries, landscapes, etc., are full of volume and beauty. What impressed me the most was Parrot Paradise, which he created after a trip to Singapore Bird Park in 1988, in which parrots occupy the entire tree, each showing its own style, reflecting a pleasant imagery.
Wu Guanzhong's painting "Parrot Paradise" ▲
Travel photography cannot create an atmosphere of volume out of nothing like a painter. In this Zen environment, everyone is silently using their own way to understand the nature and meaning of the world. In the face of such a scene with a deep sense of beauty, this scene no longer needs to be painted, and the camera operator can't help but enter an experience that transcends time and space, feeling a different beauty, a beauty of tranquility and calm.
"Love Poem" – Kiyoshi Kuranyo Gyatso
Bright eyes and teeth are unique,
The two are similar to the full moon.
How lonely is melancholy,
The joy is only for one night.