Located just 2 kilometres North of Lhasa is a monastic university known as Sera Monastery - "sera" meaning wild roses in the native Tibetan language. It is one of the three Gelugpa or Yellow Hat Sect university monasteries in Tibet that teaches advanced Buddhist studies and practice. The Yellow Hat Sect is the newest and presently, dominant branch of Tibetan Buddhism that was founded during the era of the Ming Dynasty by a philosopher and Tibetan religious leader, Je Tsongkhapa.
Sera Monastery is the only university which organises a daily debate unlike any other where student monks are put to test on their understanding and knowledge on Buddhist philosophies. Between 3pm to 5pm every day, young monks gather at the debating courtyard of Sera Monastery in pairs. The questioner, usually standing up, throws a string of arguments to his defender who is seated and challenges him with loud voices and animated gestures such as walking in circles around his contender, giving extremely loud claps, or pulling his rosary beads for suspense build-up which ultimately signifies his agreements or disagreements. The older and more senior lamas would be seen at the location with their bright yellow hats and heavy robes, supervising the debates led by the young monks and jumping in where needed. This one-of-a-kind debate nearly always ends with laughter and playful nudges between the numerous duos, ultimately leaving all smiling to themselves. These images were difficult to take up close as professional cameras were not allowed within the debating field and were shot externally from the entrance. The other images were taken at the dormitory quarters during the busy hours of congregation.