Friday, October 30, 2020

Brief Windhorse Practice of Tārā

 generally referred as wind horse, is linked to one's fortune and luck, either at the time of birth or for a given year. It reflects our capacity to keep bad circumstances away. Lungta acts as coordinator and binder of all life forces. If one’s lungta is weak, one will be unfortunate and unlucky. One’s reputation may be at stake and it may be difficult to achieve anything. New projects such as starting a business will be unsuccessful. 

The good thing is there is way to increase one’s lungtag. Our weak lungta can be strengthened by either hoisting Lungta flag or reciting lungta prayer.

This brief practice given below calls upon the goddess Tara and other deities to grant their inspiration and blessings, so that the practitioner's lifespan, merit, prosperity, renown, good fortune, magnetism (Wang tang) and 'windhorse' (Lung ta) may all increase.


༄༅། །སྒྲོལ་མའི་རླུང་རྟ་བསྡུས་པ་བཞུགས།

Brief Windhorse Practice of Tārā

by Patrul Rinpoche


lumé chok sum chi dang jetsünma

Through the blessing and power of the unfailing Buddha, Dharma and Sagha, and of Jetsünma,


gyalyum pakma drolmé jin tu yi

Mother of the buddhas, Noble Tārā,


dak gi tsé sö paljor nyendrak nam

May our lifespan, merit, prosperity and renown


yar ngö da dang yar gyi tso shyindu

Increase like a waxing moon, like a rising summer lake.


khyepar khajé wangtang lungta nam

Especially may our good fortune, wangtang and windhorse


nyampa so shying chetü gyelwa long

Be healed when they weaken, rejoined when interrupted, raised up when sinking down;


chi jé lekpé lam du drowa dang

May whatever we do turn out well,


tsering nemé dé dang den gyur chik

And may long life, good health, peace and happiness be ours!



By the one called Abu.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

The Gyeltshen (Victory Banner) and Prayer to Gyaltsen Tsemö Pung Gyen

The Gyeltshen is an element in traditional Bhutanese architecture that represents the  “Victory Banner” a symbol of Buddha Shakyamuni’s use of the four immeasurable, and fearless resolve, that led him to victory over the forces of Mara (or negative influences; the five aggregates of personality, emotional defilements, death, desire and temptation).

The victory banner was adopted by early Buddhism as an emblem of the Buddha's enlightenment, heralding the triumph of knowledge over ignorance.

It is said to have been placed on the summit of Mt. Meru by Buddha himself, symbolizing his victory over the entire universe. Again, Mount Meru here is believed to be the central axis supporting the world.

The flag of victory also denotes Buddha's triumph over Mara, who personifies hindrances on the path to spiritual realization. Specifically, there are said to be four types of Maras, each one representing an individual hurdle on the path to spiritual progress. These are:

1.     Mara of Emotional Defilement

2.     Mara of Passion

3.     Mara of the Fear of Death

4.     Mara of Pride and Lust

It was only after conquering these four negative traits that Buddha could proclaim victory over ignorance, and achieve nirvana.

Cylindrical victory banners made of beaten copper are traditionally placed at the four corners of monastery and temple roofs. These signify the Buddha's victorious dharma radiating to the four directions and also his triumph over the four Maras mentioned above.

The Gyeltshen was thus only placed over roofs of religious buildings, palaces and residences of high Buddhist Masters as a mark of sacred blessings.

The Gyeltshen is constructed out of brass or copper which is often plated in gold with carvings of sacred iconography and prayers. The Gyeltshen is usually placed directly over all types of roof including Jabzhi roof and Jamthok roof. Unlike the Sertog roof, the roof for Gyeltshen is not decorated with Chuza Chulo or Chunju Patra.

The Gyeltshen is often also placed over the very tall prayer flag poles known as Lhadar.

In this case the Gyeltshen is made out of simple elements such as local cloth which is wrapped in a simple woven bamboo container basket.

༄༅། །རྒྱལ་མཚན་རྩེ་མོའི་དཔུང་རྒྱན་གྱི་གསོལ་འདེབས་བཞུགས།

Prayer to Gyaltsen Tsemö Pung Gyen1

by Mipham Rinpoche

ཨོཾ། གུ་རུ་ཡི་དམ་རྒྱལ་མཚན་རྩེ་མོའི་ཏོག 

om, guru yidam gyaltsen tsemö tok

O! We take refuge in the gurus, the yidams, and in you, Gyaltsen Tsemö Pung Gyen,


pung gyen lhatsok khyé la kyab su chi

Along with all your retinue!


dakchak nying né solwa tabpé tü

By the power of this fervent prayer of ours,


güpa kün lé nyurdu kyab tu sol

Quickly protect us from all failure and misfortune!

ཨོཾ་ཧཱུྂ་སྭཱ་ཧཱ། དཔུང་རྒྱན་ལྷ་ཚོགས་ཁྱེད་ཀྱི་རྫུ་འཕྲུལ་མཐུས། 

om hung soha | pung gyen lhatsok khyé kyi dzutrul tü

O svāhā! O Pung Gyen, and your retinue:


dak dang gyujor yöndak khor ché la

With the force of your magical display, for us, our benefactors, and all those around us


milam ngen dang sam ngen jor tsub dok

Avert all bad dreams, and those who have ill thoughts or do us harm!


jekha purkha tabtsö truklong dok

Avert spells and curses, dispute and conflict!


sok lü wangtang lungta güpa dok

Avert all weakening in our life force, body, wangtang and windhorse!


mi la natsa chuk la gökha dok

Avert all illness in men and women, all loss of our resources!


tsé dang sönam pal dang drakpa sok

Grant us long life, merit, glory and renown, and


nyintsen küntu delek dzé du sol

Make peace and happiness reign, throughout both day and night!


By the one called Mipham.

1.     Gyaltsen Tsemö Pung Gyen, whose name translates roughly as 'Ornament on the Top of the Victory Banner', is a female deity whose dhāraī is particularly treasured as a method for enhancing windhorse. The Buddha said that in a previous life he had heard her dhāraī, and from that moment on never again did he experience fear or defeat.


Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Keymar a band that represent sacred structures

In every monastery or stupa you must have noticed red band paint on top of the building with white/yellow circle painted within the red band. What does that represent?  Well that painting is known as Keymar and it throws a signal that the building is either monastery or chorten to the on lookers.

The Keymar is a wide band around the external walls of a building that marks the structure as a sacred religious place.

The Keymar is usually red in colour but in certain Lhakhang and Choetens the Keymar is also black or grey in colour.

The Keymar is left simple or is usually framed by Bogh on the upper and lower sides with a timber lintel band.

On the Keymar at intervals, round motifs to represent the Sun and the Moon are often painted on or installed in plates made of copper plated with gold.

In tantric iconography the sun disc and moon disc are the customary seats for both buddhas and yidams. The sun symbolizes jnana, or wisdom, while the moon is a symbol of bodhichitta, or compassion.

The Keymar is located along the upper levels of the walls of a building or Choeten. Where there are Rabsel, the Keymar is installed or painted in line with the upper middle level of the Rabsel but is in general never placed below a Rabsel.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Dongkarla, the Great Sacred Place

The temple of Dongkar Yösel Tsemo is situated at 3650 metres above sea level.

Terton Tshering Dorji while studying under Drupwang Rinchen Chador is said to have seen something illuminate bright on the mountaintop every night, he later than asked a monk to see the place and to the monk's surprise there was a dark statue of Yidam Thongwa Donden floating on the surface of lake which was guarded by the Samba deers. The statue is believed to be one of three that Terton Pema Lingpa discovered from Mebartsho that happened to fly away.This revealed treasure was offered to the treasure discoverer Tshering Dorje whose footprint is preserved in the temple. Because of this, the place is still venerated. 

As advised by his master Terton Tshering Dorji founded this temple in the 15th century and made his seat. 

Terton Tshering Dorji in his early life used to live in the lower valley of Paro and as a teenager he used to be wild, breaking the cow's horns and legs. It so happened that one day he and his friend slaughtered one of the cows and having found an unborn calf inside the carcass, he was deeply moved and regretted his doing and then titled to a religious pathway. He was destined to be a Terton.


Since there is also the dwelling house of Dongkar Tsen and it has been said that no one can steal anything from the temple. There had been numerous cases where thieves had tried to steal from the Lhakhang, one of them tried to steal a throe which happens to be a bronze vessel, it is said that he was followed by the guardians terrifying him, and when daylight ended the night, he couldn't make it past the chorten close by. When he decided to leave the relic, his right hand got stuck on the surface and fearing someone would catch him, he cut off his own hand and ran away.

(Photo Courtesy: Being A Bhutanese Facebook Page)

Even to this day the hand covered in leather is stored in the Goenkhang. It is also said that a cup was stolen but mysteriously returned to the Lhakhang on the doorstep.


After descending about ten minutes from the temple there is a blessed water source.


From Dongkarla you can see Bumthang Kikila, Jomolhari, Chabthra Zemala, Darkarla, Kilila, Hosharla, Bumdra Namgöla, Wang Dochongla and Tashigang, Bemri, Thadra Gönpa, Gerling Gönpa, Tsöndru Gönpa, Drakwang Tengchenkha, Lharipang, Gorinang, Beltram Gönpa, Drake, and Do Chöten Gönpa.


Since so many places can be seen from here, the words of an ancient song say: “From Paro Dongkorla, [both] Paro and Wang (Thimphu) can be seen."



In earlier times, when there were no roads in Bhutan, travel was very difficult. It is said that when the mother of Kuzho Tshering Paljor, the Pönlop (governor) of Paro, was living in Bumthang, he used to send people from Bumthang and, by prior arrangement, the Pönlop used to come to Dongkarla and his mother to Kikila where they each made smoke offerings (so that they could see each others' smoke and feel as if they have met together).


Recently HE Tsugla Lopen performed the consecration ceremony of the renovated Dongkola monastery.

(photo Courtesy: Tshula Lopen Facebook Page) 

(Photo Courtesy: Tshula Lopen Facebook page)

(Photo Courtesy: Tshula Lopen Facebook page)

Dongkola is also a metaphor which depicts the height at which a person can rise to and a height to which a devotee can climb.


Thursday, October 22, 2020

A brief account of Pema Lingpa’s (1450-1521) visionary journey to Zangdok Palri

Terton Pema Lingpa was an important Bhutanese treasure revealer within the Nyingma tradition and the reincarnation of Künkhyen Longchen Rabjam (Longchenpa).

One morning before dawn, as Pema Lingpa was in a dream-like meditative state, three ḍākinīs came to him, leading a white horse. They invited the tertön to mount the horse and follow them to Zangdok Palri, and so they journeyed to the summit of a snow mountain. From there, the ḍākinīs showed Pema Lingpa the triangular continent of Chamara, in which the palace of Lotus Light towered on top of the Glorious Copper-Colored Mountain.

At that moment, a bridge like a white silk scarf was extended from Zangdok Palri to the snow mountain. Pema Lingpa and the ḍākinīs made their way across it to the foot of Zangdok Palri, crossed a vast lake, and climbed up the slopes of the mountain.

All around were trees filled with bodhisattva birds and animals singing the bendza guru mantra. Reaching the top, they found an immense palace, self-arisen and transparent, with no distinction between inside and out, as it was undistorted by the conceptual mind and free from the notions of grasper and grasped: the Palace of Lotus Light.

Upon entering the palace, Pema Lingpa saw Guru Rinpoché in the form of the King of Rakshas, mature, with a moustache and beard, his hair in a topknot, and his right hand in the gesture of taming demons.

The tertön prostrated to the Maha Guru and received blessings. To Guru Rinpoché’s right were the awareness-holders of India, to his left the Tibetan disciples, and in front his treasure revealing disciples. Pema Lingpa took his seat in front among the tertöns, and Guru Rinpoche proceeded to give teachings. The Lotus Guru declared:

The nature of intrinsic awareness is unborn and uncreated.
It is unchanging and spontaneously ever-present.
Intrinsic awareness is like a gem with no basis.
Hoist it on top of the victory banner of freedom from fabrication;
By doing so, you will no doubt attain
Buddhahood in a single lifetime.

The ḍākinīs then led Pema Lingpa on a day-long tour of Zangdok Palri. In the evening, they arrived to a palace made of five precious gems: Guru Rinpoché’s night-time residence. Attended by Khandro Yeshé Tsogyal

and Mutik Tsenpo, Guru Rinpoché conferred the complete four empowerments for the The Compendium of the Lama’s Most Secret Precepts (Lama Yangsang Kadü) upon the tertön. Pema Lingpa practiced for seven days, during which the Dharma protectors all appeared before him, making oaths of allegiance. Guru Rinpoché then gave the tertön his secret name, Orgyen Pema Lingpa.

After receiving many further teachings and instructions, Pema Lingpa was sent home by Guru Rinpoché, in order to benefit the Bhutanese disciples and reveal his appointed termas. Led by the three ḍākinīs, he once again rode the white horse to the top of the snow mountain. There, as he thought of home, he instantly awoke in his own bed from his dream-like vision.

May we all aspire to meet with the Maha Guru in person and visit his pure land.

Courtesy: Samye

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