Shalu Monastery, also Schalu Kloster, situated 22 kilometers southeast of Shigatse, is a nice combination of Han and Tibet architectural styles.
It was founded in 1040 by Chetsun Sherab Jungnay, one of Tibet's greatest scholars and teacher about Buddhism scriptures. For centuries it was renowned as a centre of scholarly learning and psychic training, and its mural paintings were considered to be the most ancient and beautiful in Tibet. Shalu was the first of the major monasteries to be built by noble families of the Tsang Dynasty during Tibet's great revival of Buddhism, and was an important center of the Sakya tradition.
In 1320, it was administered by Master Purdain Renqen Zhuba, a renowned religious scholar who compiled the Tenjur sutra, one of the classic woks of Tibetan Budhism. It is said that about 3,800 monks were drawn to his teaching. Therefore, the monastery became a holy site for many worshipers. In 1329, it was destroyed in an earthquake. It was rebuilt in 1333 under the patronage of one emperor of the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). Since many Chinese artisans were assigned to reconstruct the monastery, it integrated both Han and Tibetan architectural styles.
Shalu Monastery has four religious treasures of grate value. One is a sutra board, which is 700 years old and impossible to be reassembled if it is ever broken apart. A passage of sutra is printed on the board and is believed to bring good luck. The second treasure is a brass urn. It contains holy water that can cleanse away the 108 filths of human existence. The urn is usually sealed and covered with red cloth. The water is changed every 12 years. The third treasure is a stone basin that was once Chetsun Sherab Jungnay's washbasin. The Living Buddha Jigzun Xerab Qoinnyai who built the Shalu Monastery always washed his face in the stone basin.The fourth treasure is a stone tablet on which the mantra "om mani Padme Hum" is written and four dagobas are carved. It was discovered during the original construction of the monastery.
In 1988, Shalu Monastery was promoted to a key national cultural protection unit. Now, it has become an important site for both tourists and religious worshipers.