The significant though small Drolma Lhakhang Monastery was built to commemorate eminent monk Atisha from Bangladesh. Drolma Lhakhang is only 30mins drive southwest of Lhasa and is worth a stop for those interested in Tibetan Buddhism. This monastery is jam-packed with ancient relics and hidden treasures.
Drolma Lhakhang is associated with the Bengali scholar Atisha (982~1054). Atisha was the second son of King Kalyan Shri, the king of Eastern India(Bangladesh now). Atisha was proficient in Buddhism and had a great reputation. Therefore, the king Yeshe-Ö of Guge in Ngari of western Tibet invited him to teach the Dharma in 1033. Atisha came to Tibet in 1038, at the age of 53, to carry out missionary activities in Toli Monastery. His teachings were instrumental in the so-called second diffusion of Buddhism in the 11th century. In 1042, Scholar Dromtonpa went to Ngari and invite Atisha to preach, also worshiped Atisha as his teacher.
Atisha arrived in Nyethang in 1040 and died there at the died at age of 72. Atisha lived in Tibet for 17 years and made a positive contribution to the cultural exchanges between China and Bangladesh. He had a certain influence in the hearts of the Tibetan people so there are statues and portraits of him in many temples. After Atisha passed away, Dromtonpa, one of Atisha’s foremost disciples, built Drolma Lhakhang Monastery at Nyethang to enshrine the statue of the talking Tara, which was revered by Master Atisha. And the nearby stupas were buried with some of the remains of Master Atisha.
Later, the 11th-century Drolma Lhakhang Monastery was spared desecration by the Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution after a direct request from Bangladesh (which now encompasses Atisha’s homeland). Chinese premier Zhou Enlai intervened on its behalf.
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