Ani Sangkhung Nunnery


After entered the gate of Ani Sangkhung Nunnery, a row of prayer wheels that is not so long will firstly come into your vision. The main hall is just situated on the left side of the gate. Careful nuns will always keep their home neat and clean, giving tourists a sense of pure in peace. When being exposed to the elegant environment of this temple, calm down and listen to their melodious chanting voice, perhaps, you will feel a hidden cleanness and beauty behind that voice, happy and free. Probably, you will be shared the joy and easiness in their hearts.

Ani Sangkhung Nunnery (which was located in Lhasa, Tibet) was built in the Ming Dynasty by a disciple of Tsongkhapa, possessed a history of more than 500 years. According to legend, in 7th century, the Tibetan King Songtsen Ganpo, to prevent the proliferation of Qu River and construct the Lhasa City, he ordered to dig an earthen hole for chanting and praying to press the water demon. Therefore, the hole was known as "Canggong." Later in the 15th century, the founder of the nunnery-one of Tsongkhapa's disciples Gujuequndan arrived here. Determined to inherit the wishes of King Songtsen Gampo, he also prayed and chanted scriptures in this hole, and built a nunnery around this earthen hole, being called "Ani Sangkhung Nunnery." Gradually, due to the increased number of nuns in the temple, Scripture Hall on the second floor together with several ocher yellow small building was used as the practicing place for nuns, which later became one of Tibet's most famous nun temples. The most famous near this temple must go to the Songtsen Gampo Practicing Hole under the first layer of the main Buddhist Hall. In this cave was dedicated the statue of the famous Tibetan King-Songtsen Gampo.

Ani Sangkhung Nunnery has a distinctive tradition and its unique style, not only is the female Buddhists’ paradise, but also the place for some women in the secular society to learn Buddhism, culture and various fields of knowledge. There has been cultivated a great number of influential persons, including Tibet's famous female living Buddha Samding. Dorje Phagmo, a female living Buddha who started her Buddhist practicing from here. 

Nowadays, Ani Sangkhung Nunnery has developed much more beautiful and elegant with flowers complete blossomed everywhere in the temple. As a female practicing place, Ani Sangkhung Nunnery keeps focusing on inheriting and carrying forward the faith of Guanyin Bodhisattva and belief of Tara in rituals. For instance, "Tara Puja Ritual" and "Vajrayogini Sadhana" and many other similar ceremonies are often held in this nunnery. In accordance with the requirements of the monastery, at eight o'clock of each day in the scripture hall, there will be held "the daily recitation" that is puja rituals, ended at 4 pm. There are seven large chanting sessions held in each month. The capacity of Ani Sangkhung Nunnery is 100 Buddhist monks and nuns, but there are 95 existing Buddhist monks and nuns.

As a matter of fact, the main hall in Ani Sangkhung Nunnery is not so large, being divided into two layers. At the upper floor built a scripture hall and its door is on the stairs. There are murals of the four heavenly kings printed on both sides of the hall door in addition to eave and post carving, almost as the same as the other Tibetan Buddhist temples. Above the doorpost is the traditional head statue on the column with lion head and human head. In total, there enshrined mainly 11 Guanyin Bodhisattva statues, statue of the Bodhisattva Manjusri, statue of Amitabha Buddha, Tsongkhapa statue as well as 13 Thangka since the Ming and Qing Dynasties, etc.

Special Recommendations:

There is a sweet tea house in the yard of Arnie Ani Sangkhung Nunnery, which is an open-air shed, being separated from the monastery with the fence. Every day, people who get tired after turning prayer wheels and burning incense at the Barkhor Street will come to the Ani Sangkhung Nunnery and after turning prayer wheels here, they will step into the sweet tea house from the side door for rest and have a casual chat with each other here. All seems enviable and satisfying.

Speaking of Tibetan noodles of the Ani Sangkhung Teahouse, its noodle soup is obviously more delicious than other teahouses, but not the kind of delicacy out of gourmet powder. Apart from its soup, the gravy and diced pork on the surface noodles as well as the beef in the yak meat stuffed bun are fresh and tender. Nevertheless, the most famous of Ani Sangkhung teahouse still must go to its sweet tea. Although, the sweet tea here is also boiled with milk powder, it has a refreshing taste that never tastes greasy nor, like some of the sweet tea, becomes thirstier after have a drink.

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