As one of the three major temples of Nyingma sect in Tibet, Mindroling Monastery is located in Zhanang County, Shannan area. It is a main temple of Nyingma sect in former Tibetan area, constructed at the end of 10th century by an eminent monk of Nyingma sect. Situated in a valley surrounded by mountains, Mindroling Monastery covered a land of about 100 thousand square meters. The temple sitting west headed east with mountain foot in the north and an open valley in front of it, showing a picturesque scenery and a superior terrain. The main hall of Mindroling Monastery is Zu Lacan which is noted for focusing on the study of Tibetan Buddhist classics, astronomical calendar, Rhetoric of calligraphy, Tibetan medicine and pharmacology. The “Tibetan chronology” over the years all came out from this hall. In addition, the wall made of rubbles is also well-known to all, bearing a high value for the study of Tibetan architectural art and architectural style.
Here follows the history of Mindroling Monastery: dating back to about twelfth century, there appeared a lot of treasure revealer in Tibet. There was one famous terton named Howard Dalinba who printed out a collection of the upper and lower parts of treasure and the treasure he dug out himself, and this is the “South Treasure”. Legend has it that at the end of tenth century, an eminent monk built a small Buddhist temple in the village of Mindroling. Nowadays, the scale of Mindroling Monastery was formed in around the 11th year of snake in the Tibetan calendar under the renovation of Howard Dalinba and Gyurme Dorje. Unfortunately, Mindroling Monastery later almost became ruins, making all the monks of this temple feel very sad to see it like this and lament for it. After the reform and opening up, Mindroling Monastery recovered to its original appearance under all the temple monks’ efforts, and established Mindroling Buddhist Institute dedicated to the inheritance and expansion of Buddhism. At present, the Mindroling Buddhist Institute is the only Buddha College taking Nyingmapa as its major belief in Tibet.
As mentioned above, this temple sits west headed east with very attractive scenery being surrounded by mountains. Inside of it are mainly buildings of Zu Lacan which is in the same sitting as the temple and normally it is three storeys in height. The bottom of Zu Lacan is the great scripture hall possessed 20 pillars including two of them are 5.5 meters long leading to the second layer. Mindroling Monastery had been destroyed three times in its history and almost became ruins once upon a time. It enshrined founders of many Buddhist sects such as Nyingma sect, Kagyu sect, Sakya sect and Gelug sect inside and painted the four kings, recurrent graph and world pattern graph on the porch, writing the history of temple on the north and south walls.
In addition to Zu Lacan, there are a lot of other halls that also worshiped Buddha and Dharma, or used as golden or silver stupas for successive Tripas. Of course, a variety of scriptures are possessed there. Standing like a mountain city, Mindroling Monastery acted like a treasure-house collected a wide range of knowledge about the Nyingma sect, sending forth an incomparable light that every tourist coming here wouldn’t stop appreciating it. Therefore, this temple remained high historical value on the study of Nyingma sect including its prosperity, development, fading and doctrine inheritance. Another point of Mindroling Monastery is that this temple takes a very strong nature of the Buddha College and puts an emphasis on study of Buddhist Classics, grammar and rhetoric, handwriting, astronomical calendar, Tibetan medicine and so on. Moreover, this temple has been famous for its beautiful calligraphy over Tibet and some eminent monks of the temple are responsible for the reckoning of Tibetan Chronology. As a result, Mindroling Monastery has been enjoying a reputation of “the first Lama institution over Tibet” which is equivalent to a comprehensive institution of higher education in Tibetan history, and has trained many talents for Tibetan society meanwhile.
After introduced so much about Mindroling Monastery, here comes the last but not least one with regard to handmade Tibetan incense of this temple. Hailed as one of the three kinds of most well-known Tibetan incense, Mindroling Monastery’s incense possesses a very long history. It is originated from the temple more than a thousand years before. According to historical records, Mindroling’s incense has been favored by temporal Potala Palace and Tibetan government since its emergence. For people who live in Tibet, incense has always been an indispensable necessity of their daily life. At the same time, the eternal burning incense in large censers can be seen in each temples of Tibet. However, the wide application of Tibetan incense cannot do without its precious skills molding from pure manual process as well as those valuable raw materials. There is an incense factory self-built beside Mindroling Monastery that enables tourists to witness the whole processing and manufacturing process.