India

What The World’s Second Largest Monastery Taught Me

Tawang Monastery Arunachal Pradesh

Tawang Monastery Arunachal Pradesh is the world’s second largest monastery.

Located at 10,000 feet with a commanding view of Tawang River, the Tawang monastery is one small city in itself.

It is an ideal epitome to some 500 monks, many of whom are novice monks.

They stay inside the monastery premise and learn and follow Buddhism.

Tawang Monastery Arunachal Pradesh

Tawang Monastery is located in Tawang city in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.

The city is wrapped with a hulking mountain range that cast special magic whoever visits it.

The entire valley is, moreover, no less a patchwork of stunning mountain ridges and vast fields.

Other than the beauty, the natural vistas and the world’s second largest monastery, what else worth exploring in Tawang is the local Monpa tribe. With a Buddhist prayer wheel in their hands and a traditional yak-wool overcoat, the Monpa people can be found in Tawang and few other places.  A small number live in East Kameng district near Bhutan border. They are sub-divided into six sub-groups because of different language each sect speaks. Not much is known about them, but their appearance is certainly striking.

Well, that is just one of the many reasons to visit Tawang.

But the prime reason why it stands above the crowd is that it is home to the world’s second largest monastery – Tawang Monastery Arunachal Pradesh.

And it is this distinction that makes it exclusive in the world.
world's second largest monastery

World’s Second Largest Monastery

… and this is what it taught me!

During my visit to Tawang Monastery Arunachal Pradesh and a small conversation with a senior monk, I found that in Buddhism they believe that a child is capable to follow ‘Lamahood’ when he is mature enough to walk on the path of compassion. And this is the very essence of Buddhism – other than staying in search of happiness.

The conversation was soon accompanied by a small incident that further validated the belief and inspired me to practice compassion myself.

I don’t remember his name but the message he left me with was something indelible. As I stumbled upon his cute novice face and started with my routine photo shoot accompanied by questions like where he came from and what he’s learning in the monastery, we found a spider crawling on the floor.

Tawang Monastery

I have seen kids generally foreboding and running away in fright in such situations, wanting someone to kill whatever is causing them distress.

But this little fellow went from carefully catching hold of this spider and releasing it away from us, with an arresting smile on his face.

When I asked him why he did so, he struggled a bit to put this forward and said: “because we are humans and we are meant to look after others”.

For a kid of his age, away from his parents – showing such love and compassion for others, in my opinion, was a lesson. But I guess that’s what monastery teachings and the knowledge are all about. And when we are talking about Tawang Monastery Arunachal Pradesh, the world’s second largest monastery, the teachings had to be even stronger.

I’ve often heard Buddhists talking about wisdom and compassion but witnessing such a small child practising it with such innocence was simply overwhelming.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

Also Read: Namdroling Monastery Bylakuppe

About

I am Dev, and I've been travelling full-time since 2016. I was a journalism student & started my corporate career as a documentary film-maker in England, before moving to India & becoming a full-time nomad. 25+countries. 50+ Brand Partnerships. And the adventure continues...

  1. I just first visited your site. I am very interested in what you write in this article. I hope this is helpful

    I enjoyed reading your post.. Not many mind to share such a great experience.. the kid in your blog is indeed inspiring…

    Beautiful story! I feel like we all have something to learn for other. Travelling teaches you perspectives, guess we both learnt the same thing in different way.

  2. Animeindo

    Goog article, thank for sharing

  3. Agness of eTramping

    This monastery seems stunning, Dev! Each travel experience teaches us something useful and new!

  4. Beautiful story! I feel like we all have something to learn for other. Travelling teaches you perspectives, guess we both learnt the same thing in different way

    I enjoyed reading your post.. Not many mind to share such a great experience.. the kid in your blog is indeed inspiring…

  5. Beautiful post! Touching story about a little kid. And you are right, travel truly changes us. How fortunate of you to have that amazing experience and the good karma to be able to go to all these places. Treasure it and cherish it. All the best from NYC!

    I enjoyed reading your post.. Not many mind to share such a great experience.. the kid in your blog is indeed inspiring…

    Beautiful story! I feel like we all have something to learn for other. Travelling teaches you perspectives, guess we both learnt the same thing in different way

  6. index mp3

    Very intriguing post Mr. Dev. And the pic of the monastery is just awesome. Stay in touch

    I very much enjoyed your story. We all can learn much from the wise innocence of children and in this case the child with additional early wisdom of Buddhist teachings.

  7. Beautiful post! Touching story about a little kid. And you are right, travel truly changes us. How fortunate of you to have that amazing experience and the good karma to be able to go to all these places. Treasure it and cherish it. All the best from NYC!

  8. I enjoyed reading your post.. Not many mind to share such a great experience.. the kid in your blog is indeed inspiring…

    Beautiful story! I feel like we all have something to learn for other. Travelling teaches you perspectives, guess we both learnt the same thing in different way

  9. Beautiful story! I feel like we all have something to learn for other. Travelling teaches you perspectives, guess we both learnt the same thing in different way

    Thanks for your comment Vishanth. Yes, it’s great how traveling educates you every minute. So how did you learn this lesson? Care to share? I am all ears.

  10. Dev.,

    I enjoyed reading your post.. Not many mind to share such a great experience.. the kid in your blog is indeed inspiring…

    will look forward to learn such great experiences from you and hope I will witness one someday of my life..

    Prakash

    • Indeed Prakash. There is so much to learn from the everyday incidents that keep happening around us. We just need an eye to notice and a mind to accept. Thank for your comment.

  11. Beautiful story! I feel like we all have something to learn for other. Travelling teaches you perspectives, guess we both learnt the same thing in different way 🙂

    • Thanks for your comment Vishanth. Yes, it’s great how traveling educates you every minute. So how did you learn this lesson? Care to share? I am all ears.

  12. You are such an awesome writer and photographer. Really enjoyed this blog post.

  13. The Traveloholic

    Very intriguing post Mr. Dev. And the pic of the monastery is just awesome. Stay in touch 🙂

  14. I very much enjoyed your story. We all can learn much from the wise innocence of children and in this case the child with additional early wisdom of Buddhist teachings.

    • Absolutely Bruce, there is so much to learn from the people around us. Thanks for your comment.

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