Druk Wangyel

Truly amazing!

The heavens descended on Dochula yesterday. Boddhisattvas and gods, enchanting goddesses and spirits, guardian deities and demons, and Milarepa himself, meditating and levitating in the freezing cold, appeared before the thousands of pilgrims who had gathered to witness the inaugural Druk Wangyel Tsechu.

The tsechu was inspired, guided and supported by Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck to honour the armed forces for their bravery and selfless services in protecting the peace, security and sovereignty of our nation.

Photo credit: “Dochula Druk Wangyel Festival” by Dasho Karma Ura, the festival director who composed and choreographed the dances.

Summer residence

His Holiness the Je Khenpo and the central monastic body took up their summer residence in Tashichhodzong last Saturday.

This week’s banner celebrates this centuries-old tradition. The gallery has a few more photos of the soelthap arriving at the Tashichhodzong.

Big butter lamp

Buttering lamp

Buttering lamp?

I enjoyed reading your answers to the last Big Picture. And knowing that we’d get a few more interesting answers, I was tempted to keep the question open. But I visited the National Memorial Chorten today, and decided to announce the answer.

The big picture was, indeed, a big butter lamp in the National Memorial Chorten. Dinesh Pradhan answered first. He didn’t mention “butter lamp”, but it’s obvious he knew what the picture was and where it was taken. Dinesh, please contact me, by email, to claim your prize: lunch at the Musk.

The gigantic butter lamp, a tshen barma, is at the National Memorial Chorten. Like most of the other butter lamps there, it was donated by a devotee. This particular lamp holds five and half tins – that’s 88 kgs – of vanaspati, and can give continuous light for three months. That’s a lot closer, literally, to the ideal butter lamp espoused in the original “Marmi Moenlam”. Its composer, Songtsen Goenpo, compares the oil in the perfect butter lamp to a vast ocean, and the wick to an upright cypress tree.

I went to the National Memorial Chorten today to observe the Moenlam Chenmo and Bazaguru Dungdrup that is currently being conducted by the Central Monastic Body. The week-long prayers for the well-being of our country are being led by His Holiness the Je Khenpo.

I’ve posted some pictures of the Memorial Chorten in our gallery.

Moenlam chenpo in Haa

Devoted

Devoted

I’ve posted another set of photographs. They were taken earlier today while accompanying His Holiness the Je Khenpo’s entourage to Haa. His Holiness is in Haa to lead the moenlam chenpo prayers for world peace and harmony.

The moenlam choenpo was started in 2001 by three cousins – Dasho Nob Tshering (a civil servant), Desang Dorji (a businessman) and Nob Gyeltshen (a retired RBG officer). That year, the three of them sponsored the prayers and contributed Nu 100,000 each towards the moenlam chenpo fund. Other devotees quickly joined them and, before the end of the week-long prayers, the fund reached Nu 2,300,000.

The income from the fund (consisting mainly of interest accrued) was to be used to finance future moenlam chenpos, but every year sponsors have volunteered to bear the full cost of the prayers. So the fund has grown steadily, and, by last year, had reached more than Nu 8 million. Part of the money has been spent building a brand new moenlan tshokhag, a prayer hall that can house all the devotees during the annual prayers.

Since introducing the moenlam chenpo in Haa, His Holiness the Je Khenpo has traveled there every year to personally lead the weak-long prayers. This year’s prayers begin tomorrow. And they are sponsored by the residents of Samar gewog, almost all of whom are farmers.