Thursday, February 28, 2019

Visit to Tumdra Passa Ami Ney

Last year on 5th March 2018 I am very fortunate to visit Passa Ami Ney accompanying Yangtse Tulku of the renowned Yoji Lama Sonam Zangpo. I have planned to visit much earlier but never materialized. Woh! That was the day that I still recollect today. 

The Ney is one and half hours drive from Phuentsholing via Jaigaon to place called Jayanti ( Kalchini). While passing through this jungle route we saw lots of fresh elephant’s dropping so imagine the track. From the last blacktop motor road that end abruptly near the Indian SSB military camp, the road than passes through the river bed (by following used track) around 3 KM to the foothills. Summer it is inaccessible.

After that we have to walk on foot along the riverbed. Many makeshift pathways were made to assist the smooth movement of pilgrims. The holy site begins.
Lopen Thinley famously known as Lopen Naphay introduced us to the main door of the Ney. It is between two Rocky Mountains with gap of around 10 meters. Four appearances of Tiger, Lion, Gaudra and Dragon in form of rock within the periphery, guards the entrance. The first ney we glance was the resting throne of Guru Rinpoche on a rock.

Little ahead in the middle of river we saw on a big boulder 100,000 dakini’s foot prints. Really amazing to see this holy stone. 
And by the side we saw another rock with encrypted letters. No body could read this write up so far. It could be crack one day by future terton.
Further up, there was a waterfall from steep rock coming right from the Tumdra Ney. It is believed that when Guru Rinpoche meditated at the bottom of mountain adjacent to the waterfall, Aum Kamchima offered Choeba (water offering) to Guru Rinpoche and it is this waterfall that she offered. 

It is said that the spot at the bottom is of great significance as the place represents Nam Dru Sum (Triangular sky) and Sa Dru Sum (Triangular earth). In a Zabshi ritual ceremony, sand from such place is generally required and very difficult to acquire. So from here one can collect this sacred sand. 

The river that flows by are initially comes from three different sources Shacheyphu chu, Kateylum Chu and Jotsalum chu . It confluence near the Guru Rinpoche’s meditation spot and called Chuzomsa. When it passes through the Indian Territory it is called by river Janyanti. 
Returning to the main path the real climb than starts. It is steep of almost 80 degrees and takes 1 hour to reach to the Ney. It is a tough hike for people like us. 
Before reaching 100,000 Dakinis foot print stone, you will see river down. It is believed that Guru Rinpoche has blessed that spot. If you listen carefully, you will hear river making sound of “ ཧཱུྂ Hung”. 
Yes I listened and it is making the auspicious sound ཧཱུྂ ཧཱུྂ ཧཱུྂ Hung Hung Hung.

Tulku Rinpoche along with Lam Naten and monks conducted an elaborate Puja at the Monastery located near the Tumdra Ney. The Monastery is a small 2 storied but with full of Kutey Sungtey. We are really blessed to be a part of the team led by Rinpoche. We also received blessing from Rinpoche.

Took part in three dances, of course only gestures as have bad voice.

Tumdra Ney is called by many names as Tumdra Ami Ney, Am Kangchimai Ney, Lhamo Ekajati Ney, Palden Lhamoi Ney, Sachaphu Ney. It is a sacred Ney where Guru Rinpoche physically visited, blessed and hidden many spiritual treasures. Seeing the rich formation of many sacred artifacts, one day many TERs are likely to be discovered from here by future Tertons when the time is apt.
The Ney has many caves, in fact countless, which are all carved out of the steep cliff-face of the Tumdra Hill. There are two approaches the main one from the Monastery and the other from the backside of the main ney.
The caves looks extraordinary, non comparable to any caves due to its unusual formation. 
Guru Rinpoche always chooses such environment of unusual natural features, and often of supernatural conditions. Here it is of no difference.
With great reverence, we visited the highly blissful Ney and saw the following:

At the entrance: 

  • Bay yuel Lam

  • Terton Drukdra Dorje’s Secret room.
  • Sin removal passages 
  • Amazing Chorten on seeing can clean sin and defilements generated from many past generation.

In Guru Rinpoche Cave 
  • Guru Rinpoche’s Throne.
  • Guru Dorje Dorlo’s image.

  • Denjo Ba (cow) breast
  • Pasamgi Shing
  • Tsapamey Bumpa
  • Meto Pema
  • Self created Conch
Aum Kangchimai Ney
  • One leg of Am Kangchima.

  • Self created Gaytsen hanging impressively from top 
Phapa Ludrup (Nagarjuna) Cave 
  • Nagarjuna’s throne

  • Nagarjuna’s offering to Guru Rinpoche 
  • Many images of sea creatures. 
Tertons Drukda Dorjee Cave
  • Tertons’s throne
  • Self created Phurba (Ritual Dagger)
  • Cave from where Terton took out Statue TER. 

There are many to be explored on the other side of the ney where one can see self created 21 taras etc. etc. I want to limit writing to the above. Please visit and explore yourself and get blessed.

Lhamo Ekajati is the chief deity of the Passa Tumdra Ami Ney. She is highly revered and feared by both Hindus and Buddhist. Many Indians were visiting the ney like us. Children born in Phuentsholing, Pasakha area must worship Lhamo Kangchimai as their Kel-Lha (birth deity). If not they better do it. I feel worshiping of children’s Kel-Lha at this Ney will be more appropriate as it is her abode.

Even in Nyingma tradition, there are three primary dharma protectors, and Ekajati is one of them in the trinity of Ma Dza Dam Sum-Mamo Ekajati, Dza Rahula and Damchen Dorji Lekpa. As such, the Ney is of great significance to Nyingma practitioners. It is believed that Guru Rinpoche had subjugated and made her one of the principal dharma protector.

Lhamo Ekajati is described to posses telepathic mind and react fast in her wrathful form, capable of striking misfortune on anyone who displeases her, but is also known for her power to fulfill wishes. Lhamo has a unique look and is depicted with a single breast, one leg and an eye.

The great Mahasiddha Thangtrong Gyalpo discovered Tumdra Ney when he came from Tibet to met his Indian Guru Virupa. You can see some of iron chain made by him still hanging on some cliff.

The great Terton Drukdra Dorji who was under attack by reigning 8th Desi, Druk Rabgye (1707-1719) has to flee and go to such place away from the purview of the government at the center. From Paro passing Damchu, Tsimasham, Chukha, Meritsenmo, Gedu performing many miraculous deeds in these places, reached Pasakha, the boarder area of Bhutan and India.
It was the auspicious fulfillment of Karma that led the Terton Drukdra Dorji to such sacred site of Aum Kangchigmai Ney. He spent few years here practicing and propagating Buddhist Dharma.

Later Terton Drukdra Dorji resolved to return back to Thimphu that was highly objected by Lhamo Ekajati foreseeing obstacles to his life. Terton was adamant to return and at this point Lhamo Ekajati warned him that she was a tenth Bhumi Bodhisattva and her objections cannot be dismissed. She got furious and took many wrathful forms to get the Terton to consent her, but instead the Terton miraculously created ritual object (dmar gtor) in negation to her powers.
In fulfillment of his destiny, the Terton made the disastrous return journey during which Lhamo Ekajati accompanied him till the village of Agay Lakha in the guise of his riding horse. The footprints of the Terton and the Mount along with the marks made by his staff are said that it can be clearly seen on the sacred stone in this village. I am yet to visit the place to give elaborate report on this.
As predicted by Lhamo Ekajati, misfortunes accrued to the Terton’s life force as he was confronted with two assassins from the village of Bjabchu at the cliff of Troetroema. While all known weapons to mankind could not inflict harm to Terton, the assassins kept inflicting harms and adamant to eliminate him. Terton who through his visions knew that his time has come, instructed the assailants to try the famous method of bloodless death in the Himalayas by way of choking. Saying this, the Terton gave his belt to the two men who used it to stifle the Terton and then stuff silk scarves down his throat thus assassinating the saint in water pig year of 1713.
The cliff, which was formerly called Troetroema, was in grief called Trongtrongma (bkrongs, an honorific word for assassination).
It is also believed that Lhamo Ekajati is a secret consort of Terton Drukdra Dorji and resides continuously at Tumdra Ney.

Above the Monastery, there is a Cremation place. It is believed that all spirits eliminated in this dreaded place by Guru Rinpoche were cremated there. It is one of the eight famous Cremation ground in Buddhism. So if one burn small piece of nails and hair and pretend Cremation rite here, even if one fail to perform Wangku (death ritual) after death it can suffice. So we did our rites too.
Other unusual features of the Ney are the lakes surrounding it. 
The Ami La Tsho is considered the most sacred, as it is believed to be the ‘soul lake’ of Lhamo Ekajati. We visited this lake on the way back to Phuentsholing. The lake is located on the outskirts of an Indian village called Jhyanti. It is located on top of hill with a shape of a skull. The striking feature is there is no source of water feeding to it. 

My small Guru Rinpoche Statue was taken around and connected to the famous Ney.

Really enjoyed visiting the sacred ney and I strongly recommended all to visit the Ney.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Why Bhutanese Lunar calendar has Double and Omitted days?

If you are familiar with "Datho" (almanac) or following the Bhutanese Calendar you must have come across double days (2 days with single date) and omitted day (Omitted date, for example 17 today and 19 tomorrow with one day that 18 disappearing in between).

Well, first of all lunar month has only 30 days and in one year only 360 days whereas the solar calendar has 365 days with slight changes during the leap year.

Unlike lunar calendar, Solar calendar depends on the length of the solar day, measured from mean sunrise of one calendar day to mean sunrise of the next calendar day, which is approximately 24 hours.

Where as in the case of lunar days it depends on the relation of the Moon to the Sun. Moon goes faster in one part of its orbit and slower in another.

When Moon is in a particular lunar day at sunrise of one calendar day, and the Moon is moving so fast that it reaches the start of the next lunar day (not calendar day) BEFORE the next calendar day’s sunrise.

In this case short lunar day is not recorded whether on first or second calendar day, but is simply omitted from the calendar. This is represented by
ཆད (CHEY).
On the other hand when the Moon is moving very slowly in its orbit, the same lunar day is noted at the sunrise of two calendar dates, thus effectively doubling that lunar date on the calendar. This is represented by ལྷག (Lhag).
Kindly note that omitted or doubled days are only an artifice of the solar calendar and no lunar days are either lost or doubled. They are all there.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

General prediction of rainfall through a single illustration.

Bhutanese astrology can predict exact rainfall, snowfall, windstorm, and lunar and solar eclipse.

The predictions are given in the summary on each lunar month in the Datho (Almanac). I remember two decades back I used to refer that and tell my friend about rainfall and it do rain on that predicted day. They used to  wonder how I know it.

However, now due to heavy disturbance to the environment by pollution, the accuracy of the prediction is slowly going down. A time might come one day  that all prediction will end in false and then the rain prediction part in the Datho  will see its last day. So sad.

The general rainfall of the year is actually summarized in an image (please refer).

Here you have to observe the shoes put on by a man in the picture and the prediction is as follow:

  • If both shoes are worn, there will be less rainfall.
  • If only one shoe is worn, the rainfall of the year is neutral.
  • If a man is seen without the shoes, there will be heavy rain.

Cultivate Generous Thought and practice giving gifts to the Sanghas.

The Buddha once explained that it is a meritorious act even to throw away the water after washing one's plate with the generous thought:...