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Qambaling Monastery
Qambaling Monastery also called the Chamdo Gedain Qambaling Monastery, it is the first monastery in the Kham area after the Gelug Sect built the three monasteries in Lhasa. It is sited where the Ongqu and Zhaqu rivers meet, and is the first of its kind built in the Kham area. It is also the oldest monastery of the Gelug Sect in areas inhabited by Tibetans except Lhasa. Master Zongkapa, founder of the Gelug sect, stayed in Chamdo when he went to study sutras in Tibet at the age of 16. Overwhelmed by the attractive environment, he predicted that it was most suitable site for construction of monasteries. When Xangsheng Xirab Sangbo, son of the chief of a 1,000-Household Office in Riwoqe, finished his studies in the Sera Monastery, he had the Qambaling Monastery built in Chamdo according to the will of Gyiachaogyi, the first disciple of Zongkapa, in 1437. And he became the monastery's first abbot. Eminent monks from other monasteries were invited to serve as the monastery's 2nd-13th abbots. When the 3rd Parbalha became the 14th abbot of the Qambaling Monastery, he set a precedent whereby succeeding generations of the Living Buddha Parbalha became the chief abbot of the monastery, and leader of its five major Living Buddhas. The 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th Living Buddha Parbalha all received honorific titles from the Qing Dynasty emperors. Qambaling Monastery grew into the largest monastery of the Gelug Sect. Before liberation, it was the religious center of the Chamdo area, and also its political center. Qambaling Monastery is composed of the Grand Sutra Hall surrounded by the Tara Hall, Sutra Debating Courty, Gedorlha Palace, Gardain Phodrang, nine Zhacang sutra study schools, the Sutra Printing Hall, and eight dagobas. It has a collection of tens of millions of metallic, wooden and clay statues of Buddha, tangka painting scrolls, religious objects, and Buddhist classics. During its heyday, the monastery supervised 130-odd sub-monasteries located in Chamdo and other parts of Tibet. Since 1978, the year when the reform and opening program was launched, the Central Government has allocated some 20 million Yuan to repair monasteries. Now, the number of monks in monasteries has risen to 851, including 26 who have won the highest Buddhist academic degree of Geshi. The monastery now owns 33.3 hectares of land on which a Chamdo Cultural Tour Zone and a hotel are being built. It also owns a timber processing factory, a zanba processing factory, and seven beasts-driven carts. Its annual income reached more than 2 million Yuan, enough for it to hold religious activities, repair buildings, and improve the life of the monks.
 
 
 
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