Being a steel man, anything of Drupthop Thangtong Gyalpo is of great interest. So recently visited the unique sacred Dungtse Lhakhang.
Dungtse Chorten Lhakhang or the Circular Stacked Stupa monastery is the only monastery of its kind in the Kingdom. The iron bridge builder Drupthob Thangtong Gyalpo in a unique style that is the trademark of him built this unusual monastery in 1433.
He built in accordance with the geomancy of the Paro valley, thus protecting the land and the people from the otherwise inauspicious layout of the mountain behind it, which is said to have fostered illnesses and evil spirits.
The monastery consists of three levels, symbolically representing the three fields of manifestation of a Buddha i.e. Dharmakaya (Absolute Manifestation), Sambogakaya (Perfect Enjoyment Manifestation) and Nirmanakaya (Emanation Manifestation).
There is huge cylindrical wall in the center of the monastery that goes right to the central tower. In this wall certain slots has been made and sacred statues placed. You see such sacred statues (some with glass windows) around this on all the floors. There is no proper lighting and in total darkness one need to explore. With mobile flashlight the visit became little satisfying.
The monastery contains many steep wooden ladders to reach to different levels. In the inner outer wall there are massive collection of Buddhist paintings and iconography, said to be the best and comparable to any Tibetan Buddhist monastery.
The ground floor consists of large murals of which some include beautiful aspects of Five Buddhas of Meditation, Avalokiteshvara, a breath-taking painting of Guru Padmasambhava’s paradise Zangtok Palri as well as Thangtong Gyalpo and his lineage holders.
On the second floor are depictions of Mahakala on the outer wall with hundred peaceful and wrathful deities and Bardo on the interior wall, the intermediary state between death and rebirth.
The upper floors comprise of wrathful deities and Buddhist saints and ascetics, of which some are rare and detailed depictions. They are Guhyasamaja, Vajrabhairava, Cakrasamvara, Hevajra, Kalacakra, Vajravarahi, Hayagria and Mahamaya.
The Buddhist iconography depicted in the Chorten is considered a unique repository of the Drukpa Kagyu School.
It is said that during construction men of great stature and strength known as the “Nya goe” were employed to lift the massive pillars used in the temple.
Legend says that on the day of the construction, the founder appeared in the form of five vultures and circled the temple showering his blessings before taking flight to Tibet.
One can also see the central tower (utse), the pinnacle of the temple, chained from four directions to the roof of the temple. It is believed that while the consecration was being performed the central tower moved, attempting to fly to Tibet. Thus to stop it from its flight the central tower was chained down.
Behind the monastery on the slope there is ruined house where Drupthop Thangtong Gyalpo has meditated. Above that there is a rock resembling demons Head.
People of Paro must visit and offer prayers from time to time as by having this great Monastery here the harms from Lu and evils has been eliminated.
Very interesting Monastery. Please visit.