Samye Monastery

Samye Monastery or Samye Gompa (Tibetan: བསམ་ ཡས་ དགོན་ པ །, 桑耶寺), also known as “Cunxiang Temple”, “Boundless Temple”, located in In Sanye Town, Zhalang County, Shannan City, Tibet Autonomous Region, China, under Habu Mountain on the north bank of the Yarlung Zangbo River. It was built during the Tubo Dynasty in the 8th century, and was the first monk’s monastery in Tibet. The buildings in the temple are laid out according to the view of the universe of Buddhism. The central Buddhist temple has three styles of Tibetan, Han and Indian, so it is also called “Three Sample Temples”. In 1996, Sanye Temple was announced by the State Council of the People’s Republic of China as one of the fourth batch of national key cultural relics protection units. In 2005, Samye Temple was rated as a national 4A tourist attraction in China.

Tibet Buddhism Highlight Tour to visit Samye Monastery

Samye Monastery History

The full name of the Samye Temple is “Bezama Sanyeminyurungji Baizu Lakang”, which means “the auspicious red rock thoughts have been transformed into a shrine indefinitely”. In the 7th century AD, Tibetan Zampsong Songkamp married the Nepalese and Tang dynasties, married Princess Chizun and Princess Wencheng, and introduced Buddhism to Tibet. Although the Jokhang Temple and the Xiaozhao Temple were built at the time, these temples were mainly used as royal houses to support Buddha statues, or to provide a place for foreign monks to settle down. There are actually no monks in the temple.

At the end of the 8th century, Tubo reached its heyday. At the time, Zamp’s Chisong Dezan believed in Buddhism. He welcomed two Buddhist masters in India, Padma byung gnas, to Tibet to promote Buddhism and decided to build a temple for them. After field surveys by Lianhua Sheng and others, the final site was selected for construction on the northern bank of the Yarlung Zangbo River near the Tubo Winter Palace, and a construction plan was designed by Jiu Huo. According to the “Samiya Temple Records”, in 762, Chisong Dezan personally laid the foundation for the temple. After that, under the auspices of Lianhuasheng, after 12 years of construction, it was completed in 775. When there was a legend that Chisong Dezan was anxious to know what it would look like when it was first built, so the lotus was born into a temple illusion. Chisong Dezan could n’t help but exclaim “Sanye” (meaning “exceeding “Expected”, “unthinkable”), and later used this exclamation as the temple name.

Samye Monastery Picture

After the completion of Samye Temple, a grand opening ceremony was held. Chisong Dezan also invited monks to live in the temple to transmit and translate the scriptures from the Tang Dynasty, India, and Yuxi, and announced that the Tibetans would follow Buddhism. In addition, he personally selected seven aristocratic children to be shaved as monks, becoming the first generation of lamas at the Samye Monastery, and the first monk monk in Tibet, known in history as “sad-mi mi-bdun” . Therefore, Sanye Temple is the first regular temple in Tibet with the three treasures of Buddha, Dharma, and Monk, and has a lofty position in the field of Tibetan Buddhism.

In the middle of the 9th century, Tubo banned the spread of Buddhism and Samye Monastery was banned. After reopening in the late 10th century, it became the central monastery of the Nyingma School (Red Sect). During the Sakya reign, the temple was repaired and monks were sent to live in the temple. Since then, Ningma and Sakya factions have coexisted in a temple.

Samye Monastery location Map – Tibet Monastery Map

Tibet Samye Monastery Travel Guidelines 

  • Low Season: November 1 till April 30, ticket price is CNY45;
  • Shoulder season: May1-June30, Sept.1-Oct.31, ticket price is CNY45;
  • Peak Season: July1-Aug.31, ticket price CNY45;
  • A licensed tour guide is a must, otherwise you may not be able to enter;
  • Private or shared tour vehicle can take you there;
  • Don’t wear revealing clothes, hats or caps, sunglasses, or masks when visiting the site;
  • Follow your Tibetan guide’s instruction and the photograph policy inside.
  • Please take passports, permits (but no water, lighters, sprays, cigarettes, scissors, knives, etc, security checking is similar as at airport, or the statute of liberty, empire tower, cruises ships, etc).

Recommended Tibet Tour Programs by Tibet Local Guide

Here let Tibetan guide recommend you some Tibet tours. They are the 3 nights 4 days Lhasa tour, 6-7 days Lhasa Lake Yamdrok Gyantse Shigatse tour, 8-9 days Lhasa Everest Base camp/Nepal, and the 15-20 days Kailash Manasarovar Tours.

If you are interested in a tour of  Samye monastery, you can read further more about  Tsetang Tour attractions here. Follow local Tibetan guide tour service, you can find lots of informative travel advice on Tibet Tourism. Should you have any questions or concerns on a tour, please feel free to email us by