Debate courtyard in a monastic university like Sera is an important place where students study all the five major classics through critical debate. With logical reasoning as the governing rule, students practice the art of debate by questioning one another. This method of monastic debate is considered one of the best means of gaining a profound understanding through establishing the realities of things. As such, debate courtyard is one of the most important places of learning for the monk students of major Tibetan monastic seats.
In the past – prior to 1959 – Sera Mey had two debate courtyards: the upper and the lower. Many past great practitioners practiced debates in them. Teachings were also given by eminent masters in these debate courtyards; thus these are considered places of great blessings.
In exile, the tradition of debate has continued to this day. At the tent camp in Buxhall [a village in West Bengal where the monks who arrived in exile in India were settled by the Indian government for some years] and at the old debate ground in front of the old monastic prayer hall, debate classes were held for many years. The present debate courtyard, which was recently renovated, was constructed in 1996. It was initially sponsored by the late ex-abbot Khensur Rinpoche Geshe Lobsang Tharchin and his students. It has one main courtyard in the middle and two other courtyards on the sides. The main courtyard is used for prayer gatherings before the beginning of debates as well as for conducting debate sessions/classes. The two courtyards on the sides are used for conducting debate classes. His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama blessed the compound and gave teachings there.
With the increase in the number of monk students, the old courtyard was found not spacious enough to contain all the debaters. There was also a need of renovation as it became difficult to hold debate classes during rainy seasons. So, with the blessing of His Holiness and the support of the Tibetan government in exile, our previous abbot Khensur Rinpoche Geshe Lobsang Rabga sought help from well-wishers from the west. Our ex-abbot His Eminence Khensur Rinpoche Geshe Lobsang Jamyang and his students have contributed a lot. The present debate courtyard was made possible with the efforts of His Eminence Khensur Rinpoche Geshe Lobsang Rabga and His Eminence Khensur Rinpoche Geshe Lobsang Jamyang. Kyabje Woeser Rinpoche and his students have also contributed alot.
View Gallery Of Debate Hall Renovation
The Construction of Meditation Care Centre
The abbot of our monastery His Eminence Gyutoe Khensur Rinpoche Ngawang Jorden was advised by His Holiness the Dalai Lama during a special audience to build a meditational retreat center inside the vicinity of the monastery. Through the efforts of our present abbot, this project became a success and at present we have a beautiful retreat center within the monastic premise.
PROPOSED PLAN FOR RETREAT CENTRE & PRAYER HALL AT SERA-MEY MONASTERY