In Langmusi, located in Ruogai County, Tagtsang Lhamo Geerti Monastery, also known as the Geerti Monastery in short. The terrain that Geerti Monastery is located is relatively open, with herds of cattle and sheep leisurely grazing in the grasslands next to the monastery, while the monks solemnly chant scriptures in the main hall.
The first living Buddha of the Geerti Monastery, Rongqing · Gendeng Jangsen, was one of the seven disciples of the founder of the Gelug Pa of Tibetan Buddhism, Master Tsongkhapa, and established the monastery in 1413 AD. It is one of the largest and most influential monasteries of the Gelug sect in the Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture of Sichuan Province, with 18 affiliated monasteries and around 500 monks.
In 1756 (the 21st year of the reign of the Qianlong Emperor of the Qing Dynasty), the Upper Tantric College was established and the monastery began to gradually expand.
Legend of the Monastery
In 1409, when Master Tsongkhapa founded the Ganden Monastery which was the 1st monastery of Gelugpa of Tibetan Buddhism. The first living Buddha of the Geerti Monastery, Rongqing · Gendeng Jangsen, was his trusted assistant. Master Tsongkhapa sent him to consult with his teacher, Langka Gyentsen, about the construction of the Ganden Monastery. After giving the necessary instructions, the teacher told Rongqing Gendeng Jangsen, “Once the construction of Ganden Monastery is completed, you should go to the Gyarong region to build a monastery to promote the Buddha’s teachings.”
Rongqing Gendeng Jangsen returned and truthfully reported this to Master Tsongkhapa, who then instructed him to go to a place with specific features, including a crescent-shaped valley, a mountain cliff resembling a crown, and a small lake resembling turquoise, to build a monastery and promote the Gelugpa.
Geerti Monastery in Sichuan once housed many invaluable treasures, most of which were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. However, there is now a precious relic – the physical remains of the 5th living Buddha of the Geerti Monastery. The 5th living Buddha was born in 1681 AD and passed away in 1775 AD at the age of 74.
During the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s, the physical remains were taken to the county town of Zoige and then secretly buried on the Dalonggou Mountain by a few religious believers. When it was unearthed in 1981, the muscles still had elasticity and showed no signs of damage. It was then brought back to the Geerti Monastery and has been enshrined in the monastery’s golden hall ever since.
Before the democratic reforms, the physical remains naturally grew hair, but after a group of high-ranking monks gave it a haircut, it never grew hair again. The gilded physical remains have endured the trials of over 300 years and remain lifelike to this day.