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Shodain Monastery

Shodain Monastery is located in Nagqu Region, which is governed by Ji Zhchang of Sera Monastery in Lhasa, was found in 1814. Its former name is “Shodain Yarba”, and it is also called “Shadain Monastery”. It is one of the most influential monasteries in Nagqu area, originally belonged to Nyingma Sect and then belonged to Geru Sect.

There are two Zhachangs in the monastery: one is Mi Zhachang Shazhujiang Zangongbelin, short for Mini Zhachang; another is Juba Zhachang Sawangondo Aganli Shalin, short for Juba Zhachang. Before 1950, there are 350 lamas here, but now only 60. Shodain Monastery can be qualified as the most famous Yellow Sect in north Tibet.

The size of the monastery is not so big. There is a golden law wheel surrounded by tow golden sheep standing in the middle roof of the monastery as a symbol of this monastery, which is a little like Jokhang Monastery in Lhasa. This monastery has more than 200 years history. The 13th Dalai Lama had lived in Shodain Monastery for more than one month in 1908 when he came back to Tibet from Beijing via Nagqu.

And he authorized Shodain Monastery to hold the Grand Summons Ceremony every January 4th in Tibet calendar. He not only indicated that all the lamas in Shodain Monastery could enjoy the treatment at the annual Buddhist service in Lhasa, but also ordered that the number of lamas in Shodain Monastery should be kept above 300. During a certain time period, this has been a very glory for Shodain Monastery, but now all this has become history.

Feature of the Monastery Apart from the Grand Summons Ceremony regularly hold here, Shodain Monastery also holds the big religious dance, Changmo(an old song and dance tradition). The Changmo Dance in Shodain Monastery is quite unique in Tibet, which is called Je Changmo and Jusong Changmo Qin. Je means eight.

Changmo means dance or hop. As it is a kind of Changmo in August, so is named Je Changmo. Jusong means thirteen. Qin means big or informal. Because it is a kind of big religious dance formally held on 13th, local people call it Jusong Changmo Qin. The performance on August 2nd without wearing Changmo costume is called Debula, which means portable or easy taking.

Actually it is a kind of inner rehearsal, while the performance on August 8th wearing Changmo costume is called Jeyang Changmo. On August 13th, performers wear their best Changmo costume and give a formal show, which is called Jusong Changmo Qin. Lot of local people will go to the monastery to see the big performance. After the show, the monastery will hold a solemn ceremony of exorcising.

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