A Bad Feeling! Part - I

I have never felt this bad in a long time. The day merited a much better mood and thoughts for it was an auspicious day of Buddha’s parnirvana. For Buddhist, the day is so special that almost everybody refrains from doing regular household chores/duties and visit holy sites and monasteries to offer prayers and butter lamps. It is believed that if one engages in good activities, no matter how small it might be, the merit gained is particularly enormous on such auspicious days. Of course, by the same token if one commits sin, it is going to be enormous as well. For that matter, I guess, the day is considered special to remember Buddha’s profound life and unparallel deeds. Since the day is considered a national holiday, it is also an opportunity for people alike to get together and catch up. 

It was exactly what I was bound for, yesterday. The day before, just a moment before I retired to the bed, a friend of mine called me up asking if I would be interested to join them on a trip to Barshong Goenpa, perched right above Trashigang-S/jonkhar highway about 15 KM drive from Kanglung. The magnificent lhakhang that overlooks the Barshong village below is, from my naïve take, one of the finest lhakhang ever built in eastern Bhutan in terms of its amazing grandeur. In 3 years I have traveled through that route several times, and every time I did, it has never failed to amaze me. I have also heard a lot about it-all were stories of amazement, but it wasn’t until yesterday that I could actually be in person. The story that I heard and the idea that I had formed in my mind while traveling beneath were overly underrated. One of my friends once remarked, “Tashigang Dzong is a joke when comparing with Barshong Lhakhang”.  Now I believe him. I think the courtyard it has is also going to give a stiff competition with the famous Tendrel Thang, adjacent to Trashichhodzong. As I made my way in, I couldn’t feel anything but a total amazement. Hundreds of devotees had already gathered in the gigantic hall in which a ritual/puja dedicated to the Buddha dharma was presided over by His Eminence Zuri Rinpoche. 

His Eminence is well known as the reincarnate of Neten Bakula, one of the sixteen Arhats. In 1959, His Holiness the sixteenth Gyalwang Karmapa Rangjung Ripai Dorji and the Seventh Zuri Rinpoche Karma Dho-Ngak Choechi Singye had arrived in Bhutan. Later, the Seventh Zuri Rinpoche passed away at Dawathang, Bumthang. The present Zuri Rinpoche is the eighth incarnate and was born into descendents of Terton Pema Lingpa’s family. The newborn was recognized as a true incarnate of Zuri Rinpochen by His Holiness the Sixteenth Karmapa and named Karma Mijur Tenpae Gyaltshen Jigme Gocha. According to the pamphlet provided on the day, by 1993 the Rinpoche has paid visits to various countries viz. Hongkong, China, Singapore, and Australia teaching and initiating transmissions on essentials of Dharma. Through such visits, he gathered followers of Buddhism and had instituted a number of meditation centers. His Eminence also advocates on environment protection and has initiated animal saving programs. 

Upon the request of the people of Barshong for the benefit of the sentient beings, the Rinpoche constructed Karma Thegzum Dechenling Monastery and consecrated in October 2010. The monastery currently houses over hundred monks solely supported by Rinpoche in studying Shedra and dratshang. What makes this Buddhist college/school unique is that it provides a wholesome education to the monks in the sense it also teaches a unique Bhutanese culture such as paintings, crafts and sculptures, yoga and computer courses apart from the regular studies on Buddhist philosophy. 

...to be cont'd...

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