Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Jalla Lhakhang houses main deity Damchen Garwai Nagpo

Jalla Lhakhang is located in the middle of a beautiful Jalla village. It is approximately 30 km from WanguePhordrang and is accessible by vehicle.
(the beautiful Jalla Village)
The monastery is of great significance as it is the Densa (dwelling place) of sacred Jowa Jamba and Damchen Gawrai Nagpo.  The scared Jowa Jampa is a terma revealed by Terton Pema Lingpa in Bumthang that flew and came directly to Jalla Goenpa in the 15th century. Jowa Jampa in Sanskrit is known as Maitreya and is regarded as a future Buddha of this world in Buddhist eschatology. According to Buddhist tradition, Maitreya is a bodhisattva who will appear on Earth in the future, achieve complete enlightenment, and teach the pure dharma. Maitreya will be a successor to the present Buddha, Gautama Buddha (also known as Śākyamuni Buddha). The prophecy of the arrival of Maitreya refers to a time in the future when the dharma will have been forgotten by most on the terrestrial world.
(Jowo Jampa)
It is believed that the main deity of Jalla Lhakhang, Damchen Gawai Nagpo, commonly called as Ap Dolay by the local accompanied Jowa Jampa and came to Jalla. Unfortunately, Jowo Jampa is not at Jalla Lhakhang at present. I am continuously looking for an image of the sacred Jowa Jampa and will update as soon as I get so that whoever visits Jala Lhakhang can come in contact can receive blessing by seeing it.
(Damchen Garwai Nagpo commonly called as Ap Dolay)
Unlike usual fearful appearance, the Damchen Garwai Nagpo at Jalla Lhakhang is of peaceful look riding on a goat.  Damchen Garwai Nakpo, was pre-Buddhist Tibetan deity subdued by the Guru Rinpoche who was invited to Tibet by the king to introduce Esoteric Buddhism in the region. Guru Rinpoche converted Damchen Garwai Nakpo by oath as protector of the Buddhist teachings. Along with Damchen Dorje Lekpa, Damchen Garwai Nagpo were the two blacksmiths that made all Guru Rinpoche terma/ statues and weaponry artifacts. Both are very important deities worship by all 4 sects of the Tibetan Buddhism. 
(Damchen Garwai Nangpo with peaceful appearance)
Initially, both Jowa Jampa and Damchen Garwai Nagpo were housed at Jala Goenpa, which is located above the village. It is said that during those days the Jalla community grew to almost 300 strong households (today it is only 37 households). Unfortunately, over the period a deadly disease plagued the village and all habitant got wiped off. The Jalla Goenpa also caught fire and burnt down. One can still see the ruins of main Jalla Goenpa if one visit the site today.

As the village were without the dwellers after the repercussion of the deadly contagious disease, the Wangduephordang Kuzhu took the sacred Jowa Jampa to Wangduephordang Dzong and left Damchen Gawai Nagpo at the present location making small house that is enough to fit the statue. The Jowa Jamba statue was taken through Jalla-Japhu route. On reaching at Japhu village, the Jowa Jampa statue was kept on a stone when the people took some respite. On lifting the statue a drupchu miraculously emerged from the exact spot. This drupchu is known as Jalla Jampa drupchu. The Jowa Jampa statue finally was placed as one of sacred Nagten at Wangduephordang dzong. In Wangduephordang  dzong the statue was commonly addressed as Jalla Jam because of the fact that it was brought from Jalla. I had the privilege to see the sacred statue before Wangdue dzong caught fire in 2012. It is around 12”.
(With present Jalla Lam Tenzin Dorji and uncle Gyeltshen)
According to my Uncle Gup Gyeltshen, he still remembers seeing the small hut where Ap Dolay was installed.

It is believed that the deity Damchen Garwai Nagpo fulfills any aspiration if one seeks his blessing. Nevertheless he also does cast his spell if promises made are not kept.
(Damchen Garwai Nagpo in fearful appearance riding on goat)
One example could be how Sherab Lhendup from Wangdue  Baymey Chungchu Dingkha ascended to the top most post of the government, the 16th Druk Desi by seeking Damchen Garwai Nagpo’s blessing. Sonam Lhendup started his career as Tsirang Sangsum, Zhung Drongney, Trongsa Penlop and Wangdue Dzongpoen before becoming the 16th Druk Desi in 1769. Over these periods he regularly used to seek blessing from Damchen Gawai Nagpo and progressed his career. On one occasion he had promised to offer crown to Damchen Garwai Nagpo if he become Druk Desi. However, Desi Sherab Lhendup failed to visit Jalla Lhakhang after becoming the Druk Desi forget about offering the crown.
(Damchen Garwai Nagpo under concealed state)
One day he fell sick and was bed ridden for some time and could not be cured rather his health kept deteriorating badly. He summons a top astrologer who on analysis found that he had made promise somewhere and fail to fulfill it. Druk Desi immediately recollected the promise he made to Jalla Damchen Garwai Nagpo and immediately pledge to do what he has promised. Druk Desi made the crown studded with big diamond and personally placed on the statue of Damchen Garwai Nagpo at Jalla. After that Druk Desi regained his health and stayed peacefully.

People of Jalla also places Damchen Garwai Nagpo at the highest esteem as the protecting deity and always seeks his blessing.
(The consecration of Jalla Lhakhang in 2014)
Over the period, the community constructed the monastery with the recent renovation done along with the installation of serto in 2014 that was consecrated by H.E. Sakten Tulku Rinpoche.
(H.E. Sakten Tulku Rinpoche)
The main statue in the Lhakhang is the eleven headed thousand-armed Chenrigzig, Guru Rinpoche with Khandro Yeshey Thogyal and Khandro Mendarawa, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and Damchen Garwai Nagpo. Damchen Garwai Nagpo is kept concealed and taken outside once every  year on 15th day of 11th lunar month during which a special ceremony is conducted that is witnessed by him. 
(Chuchi Zay)
(Guru Rinpoche)
(Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal)
(Ap Dolay taken out for a special ceremony)
It is to be strongly noted that because of the presence of Damchen Garwai Nagpo at Jalla and Shaley people of Shar (Wangduephrdang) don’t consume mutton from time immemorial, as goat is the riding animal of Damchen Garwai Nagpo. However, today knowingly or unknowingly some people of Wangdue Phordang do take mutton which is against the restriction. By breaking such vows unpleasant things do happen in the villages. So people of Wangdue and any dharma practitioner that seek Damchen Garwai Nagnpo should refrain from taking goat’s meat.

As per Dasho Passang Dorji, late His Holiness Chadrel Sangye Dorje Rinpoche was very happy to learn that people of Shar don’t take mutton and proclaimed that Damchen Garwai Nagpo is their protector.
(H.H. Chadrel Sangay Dorji Rinpoche)
Jalla village was also visited by Terchen Dorje Lingpa , Khenchen Sonam Ozer, the Second Je Khenpo and Tulku Chokden Gonpo, son of Terchen Dorje Lingpa.
(Terton Dorje Lingpa)
The Lhakhang  performs many Kurims for the wellbeing of the country and the sentient beings.

I am very happy to visit Jalla Lhakhang recently and also met all my relatives and cousin sisters.



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