Lopen Tshewang Tenzin, a lharip instructor at the National Institute for Zorig Chusum in Thimphu, tells the story behind the Thuenpa Puenshi:
A golden era it was for the kingdom of Varanasi. The king, his prime minister and the people all claimed the credit. In the end, they sought the wisdom of the reclusive hermit.
“The golden era has been brought about by the four friends in the forest,” said the hermit. The bird, the rabbit, the monkey and the elephant had devoted their lives to propagating good deeds.
The king and his entourage went into the forest to see the four friends. They sat atop each other beside a large fruit tree. The bird was on top because it had sown the seed. The rabbit was next as it had forsaken the sapling as food and protected it. Under it, the monkey had seen the sapling grow limb and leaves. At the bottom was the elephant who first saw the tree at about the same height as itself.
Their merit translated into Varanasi’s good fortune.
The image of the Thuenpa Punshi is ubiquitous in Bhutanese houses. It is believed that the goodwill emanating from the image in a house will benefit the village. Likewise, images in a village will benefit the kingdom and the world at large.
Lopen Tshewang Tenzin has composed a thangka to illustrate the story of the Thuenpa Puenshi. He has allowed me to use it to wish you a happy and prosperous Iron Female Rabbit Year.
Lopen Tshewang can be reached at +975-1768-3152.