Samye was built in the 8th century as the first monastery of Tibet. King Trisong Detsen tried to built it with the advice of the famous Indian abbot Shantarakshita. But many demons caused obstacles to prevent its construction. During the day time people worked hard to built, and at night the demons destroyed it. So the abbot advised the King to invite a famous tantric master called Padmasambhava. This master subdued all the demons on his way to Tibet and then at Samye so they could build the monastery without any obstacles. The Indian Abbot, the Tantric Master and the Tibetan King were the three founder of this monastery and since then they are highly respected.
The shape of Samye monastery is same as the structure of the universe in Buddhist cosmology and the central building has three floors. The 3rd floor is built in Indian style to show that Indian is the origin of the Buddist teachings. The second floor has a Chinese style to represent the special relation with the Chinese empire. And the first floor is built in Tibetan design to show that the Tibetan are faithful to Buddhism. In terms of Buddhist cosmology, the central building represent Mount Meru and the four stupas represent the four guardian Kings. The eight chapels around the main temple represent the eight sub-continents. The first seven monks of Tibet received their Buddhist vows here from the Indian abbot and the translation of Buddhist scriptures into Tibetan was done here.
In terms of relics there is a holy stone statue of the Buddha as the main statue in the assembly-hall and a famous statue of Padmasambhava which he is said to have called “Looks like me”. Besides, there are also hairs and walking-sticks of Padmasambhava and the skull of Shantarakshita kept as as important relics. This monastery he’d been expanded and renovated several times over the centuries.