The Hundred Day Retreat of the World's Largest Female Cultivation Site at an Altitude of 4000 meters

  • Photographer
    Qing Ye
  • Prize
    Honorable Mention
  • Date of Photograph

The world's largest gathering place for female practitioners.


Yarchen Monastery, built in 1985, is the world's largest gathering place for female practitioners. Surrounded by mountains, it is located on the Qinghai Tibet Plateau at an altitude of about 4000 meters in western Sichuan province, over 100 kilometers away from the nearest county seat. It is unparalleled and independent, but it is the closest place to heaven.

Yarchen Monastery is surrounded on three sides by the curved Changqu River. The inside the island is for female practitioners to practice and reside, while the area outside the island is for male practitioners. The island is connected inside and outside by a bridge, and males are prohibited from entering the island through the bridge. Men and women practice and live independently, without disturbing each other. In the years I have been filming Yarchen Monastery, in 2018, there were over 20000 female practitioners here.

The "hundred day retreat" in winter every year is the most important aspect of the practice of the practitioners in Yarchen Monastery. The Matchbox like cultivation hut needs to be built by themselves. Every morning, the female practitioners go to the hut to practice and retreat. At sunset, they call each others and return to inside island.

Yarchen Monastery has strict requirements for practitioners who engage in a hundred day retreat. Before the retreatment, the master will conduct three assessments on those who have closed down. In addition, those who have retreatment need to take a physical examination and show the health certificate issued by the hospital. Only those who meet the conditions of soul practice and physical health can participate. Even so, after a hundred days of pretreatment, only about 1% of those who have retreatment can obtain proof of their achievements.
In the photo, there is a pure world of harmony between heaven and man, with female practitioners and the practice hut in the snow, and the vast white sky and earth.

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