Buddhist monasteries

Buddhist monasteriesBuddhist monasteries, also known as vihara, emerged sometime around the fourth century BC. Buddhist monks and nuns were instructed to remain in a fixed location for the roughly three month period typically beginning in mid-July. Outside of this period, monks and nuns both lived a migratory existence, wandering from town to town begging for food. These retreats were held in pavilions and parks that had been donated to the sangha by wealthy supporters. Over the years, the custom of staying on property held in common by the sangha as a whole during the retreat evolved into a pious lifestyle, in which monks and nuns resided year round in monasteries.
In India, Buddhist monasteries gradually developed into centres of learning where philosophical principles were developed and debated; this tradition is currently preserved by monastic universities of Vajrayana Buddhists, as well as religious schools and universities founded by religious orders across the Buddhist world.
Whereas early monasteries are considered to have been held in common by the entire sangha, in later years this tradition diverged in a number of countries. In China, peasant families worked monastic-owned land in exchange for paying a portion of their yearly crop to the resident monks in the monastery, just as they would to a feudal landlord. In Sri Lanka and Tibet, the ownership of a monastery often became vested in a single monk, who would often keep the property within the family by passing it on to a nephew who ordained as a monk. In Japan, where civil authorities required Buddhist monks to marry, being the head of a temple or monastery sometimes became a hereditary position, passed from father to son over many generations.
Forest monasteries are monasteries dedicated primarily to the study of Buddhist meditation, rather than scholarship or ceremonial duties. In Forest monasteries small groups of monks living an essentially hermit-like life gathered loosely around a respected elder teacher.

Tibetan Buddhist monasteries are sometimes known as lamaseries and the monks are sometimes known as lamas.

Some famous Buddhist monasteries include:
Jetavana, Sravasti
Nalanda, India
Shaolin, China
Donglin Temple, China
Tengboche, Nepal

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