Great Tibet Tour Logo GREAT TIBET TOUR ®

Tibetan Monks

  • by Ghita
  • Last Updated: 2022-06-15

Tibet is a holy land of Buddhism that attracted hundreds of tourists to travel to explore its profound Buddhist culture. In the past, the ratio was that 1 in 6 Tibetan men were Buddhist monks. Do you wanna know what does the life-like of the mysterious Tibetan monks or have you ever imagined the inside picture of Buddhist monasteries?

Actually, the Tibetan monks lead a simple and fairly peaceful life. By all means, They are dedicated to prayer and serve others and they will feel content and pleasure. Tibetan monks would never pursue the material comforts; their food is simple, involving some Tibetan bread, vegetables and loads of Tibetan tea. The Tibetan monks get along well with each other. Usually they joke with each other and talk with each other.

Tibetan monks play Tibetan copper titaniums at Sakya Monastery.
Tibetan copper titaniums are usually used in big ceremonies.

Monk in the Tibetan language is "trapa," which means “student” or “scholar." There are three kinds of Tibetan monks residents in the monastery, including monks, scholars, and lamas. Lamas are considered as the spiritual guides and master teachers who meditation techniques to disciples. In Tibetan Buddhism, they are regarded as "living gods" who possess supernatural powers that can slay demons and bring good fortune, wealth and good health. It is absolutely that Tibetan monks play a significant role in the lives of the Tibetan people. They not only conduct religious ceremonies but also take care of the monasteries. 

The Scholastic Life of Tibetan Monks

Small monks start their scholastic life in the monastery where they will learn all the monastic disciplines, customs in monasteries and learn how to spell Tibetan Buddhist mantras and recite some basic prayers. And they need to serve their mentor or master for 3 years. Besides, they are going to take care of the chores of the monastery. Later, they will begin to start the 5 Buddhist classics, including Buddhist Logics, Heart Sutra, Madhyamika, Monastic Discipline, and Kusha-shū. 

Each monk is given two commandments, the Sami at the age of 10 and the bhikkhu at the age of 20. Under the auspices of the high monk living Buddha, the ordained person makes a solemn oath in front of the sutras and buddhas to abide by the precepts and practice for the sentient beings.

Buddhist debate at Sera Monastery.
Buddhist debate at Sera Monastery.

The Daily Life of Tibetan Monks

Lamas are students living in Tibetan areas. Through the accumulation of knowledge and faith, complete the "pilgrimage road" in life.

The life of the lama begins early in the morning. The lamas, led by their leaders, say morning prayers in the hall. The morning prayer lasts about 2-3 hours, during which, for three times, hundreds of young monks line up to pour butter tea and "tuba" porridge in the prayer hall. The monks eat and drink while chanting sutras, which is very interesting. After the morning praying, breakfast finishes. The next prayer is about 9 to 10 o 'clock, the lamas return to Zhacangs Hall to chant sutras and drink tea; At 3 or 4 o 'clock in the afternoon, each lama gathers in their Khangtsen (dorm) to chant sutras and drink tea.

In addition to the three prayer sessions, there are also three debate sessions per day.

In Tibetan monasteries, it is common for Tibetans to provide tea and porridge to monks. And in return, the monks chant the scripture for them. Monks would pray for happiness for a family or pray for the rest and peace for a deceased family member. After the chanting, the related family would offer some money to the monks as a particular way of giving.

Tibetan Monks live the same life. They read Buddhism scriptures, turn prayer wheels, Kowtow day after day, year after year to practice their extremely devote beliefs.

Most Tibetan monks live in 10 famous temples and monasteries such as the Jokhang Temple, Drepung Monastery, Sera Monastery, Tashilunpo Monastery, etc. You may have a glimpse of the top ten temples and monasteries in Tibet.

Chanting.
Chanting Buddhist scriptures is the daily practice of monks.

Living Buddhas

The reincarnation system of living buddhas is the most noticeable feature that distinguishes Tibetan Buddhism from other Buddhist schools. Living Buddha refers to a monk who has made some achievements in religious practice. After the establishment of the living Buddha reincarnation system, it has become a common way of inheritance adopted by all sects of Tibetan Buddhism.

The daily life of a young living Buddha is similar to that of a high school student. Morning classes begin at 6 am, followed by sutras and Buddha worship. Every day before breakfast, they recite the Buddhist sutras. In the morning, they generally touch the top for the Buddha to bless the believers and then debate the sutras. After lunch, they have a half-hour lunch break, and in the afternoon they continue to follow the teacher. In the dusk, they would discuss scriptures with other monks and learn from each other. In the evening, they would do homework until late at night.

If you are paying a visit to a living Buddha, you may offer a Hada to the living Buddha. Please bow over your head and offer the Hada with both hands. Then the living Buddha will take the Hada or take it and put it around your neck. You can't point your finger at the living Buddha. In a word, respect is the most important.

Related Articles

  • Songtsen Gampo
    Songtsen Gampo(617-650) was the 33rd Tibetan King. During his reign, he greatly expanded the territory of Tibet and made it a powerful country on the Plateau.

  • Tibetan Handicrafts
    Handmade art has been an indispensable part of the lives of the Tibetan people. When talking about Tibetan handicrafts, people would think of Thangka, Tibetan incense, Tibetan medicine, Tibetan knife, Tibetan ornaments, etc.

  • Khata And Related Etiquette
    Khata scarves are the most common Tibetan gifts. Presenting Khata expresses good wishes and respect. Learn more about Khatas' meanings, color, etiquette, etc.

  • Tibetan Language
    Tibetan language is referred to as Bodic or Tibetic language. Now, it's widely used in the northern part of India, Nepal, and Bhutan. We will briefly introduce the history, alphabets, notable features, words and grammar to the language of Tibet.

  • Top 10 Tibetan Monasteries
    Check the top 10 Tibetan Buddhist monasteries. You can not only see marvelous religious artworks but also discover the spiritual home of Tibetan people.

  • Palden Lhamo
    Palden Lhamo is the chief Dharma Protector, so she is highly valued in all major sects of Tibetan Buddhism. Almost every monastery enshrines her.

  • Bon—The Indigenous Religion of Tibet
    Bon(Bonismo), originated from the "Gangdise Mountains" and "Manasarovar Lake" in ancient Xiangxiong, Tibet. It's a Tibetan indigenous religion.

  • Tibetan Thangka Painting
    Tibetan thangka is a kind of scroll painting decorated with colored satin, with distinct national characteristics, strong religious color and unique artistic style.

  • Top Five Main Beliefs of Tibetan Buddhism
    Tibetan Buddhism is rooted in Mahayana Buddhism and has been practiced in Tibet for 1000+ years. Here're the brief instructions to top five essential beliefs.

  • Tibetan Buddhist Colors
    Tibetan color concept is embodied in Buddhist culture. There're different meanings to iconic colors including red, yellow, white, blue, green, gold, and black.

  • Tibetan Monk Hat
    Some Tibetan monks wear red Buddhist hats while some wear yellow ones. What's the difference? See types of Tibetan monk hats based on the sects, grades, etc.

Ask a Quick Question Below?
or Email Us

Typically Asked Questions from Our Clients

Asked by Tina***
2022-07-25

Do the Monks pray daily for World Peace and elevation of humanity, to bring absolute joy and end all suffering great and small for humankind?

beatrice
Answered by Beatrice 2022-07-25

Dear Tina, This is Beatrice from Great Tibet Tour at your service. You are right, Tibetan monks are praying for world peace and for people to be free from suffering.