History of Sera Jey Monastery

The following article is from the Winter, 2000 issue of the Snow Lion Newsletter and is for historical reference only. You can see this in context of the original newsletter here.


Sera Monastery is one of the three largest Tibetan Buddhist Monasteries of the Gelug order in the world. Sera Monastery was founded in 1419 A.D. by the great Lama Jamchen Choeje Shakya Yeshe, one of the principal disciples of Lama Tsong Khapa.

Within Sera Monastery there are two colleges, Sera Jey and Sera Mey. Sera Jey is the older and was established in the 15th century by Lama Kunkyen Lodroe Rinchen Senge. His purpose in founding Sera Jey was to preserve the Buddhist tradition in general, and in particular, the great Lama Tsong Khapa's teachings and instructions in the tradition.

The Monastery grew veiy large and attracted students from all over Tibet and as far away as Mongolia, China, India and even Japan. And even within the Tibetan Buddhist tradition itself, the Monastery attracted a large number of students frgm other traditions, for example the Nyingma, Kagyue, and Sakya traditions. At the time of His Holiness' Geshe Lharampa Degree examination in 1959 there were 5,000 monks at Sera Jey alone.

Throughout its history the Monastery has been renowned for producing a large number of great scholars turd highly accomplished spiritual Masters and saints.

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