About 4 km (2.5 mi) north of Lhasa lies Sera Monastery (Sèlā Sì, 色拉寺), one of the three great university monasteries dedicated to the Gelukpa, or "yellow hat," school of Buddhism. Although many of the monastery's nearby affiliated hermitages were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution, Sera remains one of the oldest original structures important to Tibetan Buddhism.
During weekdays starting from 3pm, you can witness the resident monks engage in the famously clamorous debates in which loud claps and shouts punctuate the otherwise peaceful scene. In these enthusiastic debates over doctrine, monks showcase their deep understanding of the Buddhist teachings to both exercise their comprehension and advance to higher levels of study.
The hill behind Sera is the only place in Lhasa where sky burials still take place. These are not advertised and not open to the public, but if you are lucky enough to happen upon one, keep your distance and remain respectful of this extremely sacred act.
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