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Dzongsar Khyentse to bestow Wang-Lung-Thri on sacred works of Longchenpa

… Initiation and empowerment to commence on June 23

Rinzin Wangchuk

Braving the torrential downpour, devotees from all across the country are flocking to Tharpaling Goenpa in Bumthang to receive the oral transmission and empowerments of Wang-lung-Thri (initiation, empowerment, and explanation) from Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche.

Tharpaling Dratshang’s lam, Khenpo Tshewang Sonam said several hundred lams, trulkus, monks, nuns, and lay practitioners have arrived at the goenpa. Due to limited accommodation at the monastery, some devotees are setting up their own tents, while others have rented tents or sought shelter in the vicinity of the goenpa.   

To accommodate about 6,000 devotees for the Wang-Lung-Thri ceremony, the dratshang has constructed choekhang or congregation hall. Khenpo Tshewang Sonam said that they have also set up about 80 toilets and made arrangements for other amenities to ensure the comfort of the devotees.

The three-week-long religious ceremony is scheduled to commence on June 23. 

Regarded as one of the most sacred teachings of Longchen Rabjampa, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche will impart the oral transmission of Kuenkhen Dzoeduen (collection of Seven Treasuries of Kuenkhen Longchenpa) and Nyingthig Yabshi (scriptures compiled by Longchenpa, including empowerment and transmission), as well as Nyalso Kor Sum (Trilogy of Natural Cases) and Rangdrol Kor Sum (Trilogy of Natural Freedom). 

“While many learned rinpoches and lamas have previously imparted some teachings of Kuenkhen Longchen Rabjampa, this is the first time in Bhutan that the oral transmission and empowerment of the complete sacred works of Longchen Rabjampa will be initiated,” the project director for the re-creation of Longchen Rabjampa’s literary works in Bhutan, Khenpo Phuntsok Tashi said. 

Another remarkable historic aspect of this sacred oral transmission and empowerment, according to Khenpo Phuntsok Tashi, is the comprehensive collection of teaching by Longchen Rabjam, consisting of  31 volumes, which was written and published exclusively in Bhutan. 

A monumental undertaking has been initiated, led by a team of 20 devoted and exceptionally talented Bhutanese calligraphers, supported by 60 experienced Bhutanese Khenpos and lopons serving as diligent editors, to meticulously transcribe the entire writings of Longchen Rabjam.

Tharpaling and Longchen Rabjampa

Tharpaling Goenpa stands majestically at an altitude of approximately 3,600m, commanding a breathtaking view of the Chumey valley nestled in the enchanting region of Bumthang. The name “Tharpaling” holds profound significance, symbolizing liberation. 

According to legends, in the 14th century, the revered Buddhist saint Longchen Rabjampa graced the sacred site of Tharpaling, and imparted profound teachings and liberated numerous devoted souls during his self-imposed exile from Tibet, which lasted for a decade. It was during this period that the place acquired its esteemed name, Tharpaling, meaning “place of liberation.”

From an early age, Longchen Rabjampa (1308-1364) exhibited prodigious abilities and memorized the entire Kanjur (collection of scriptures characterized by Buddhist teachings) and Tenjur (the translated treatises – explaining and elaborating on the words of the Buddha). Guided by Rigdzin Kumaradza, the Buddha of his time, he attained enlightenment. Spending most of his time at Gangri Thodkar peak in Southern Lhasa, he authored numerous influential works, comprising over thirty volumes.

Following a prophecy by Khandro Dorje Phagmo, Longchenpa travelled to Bhutan at the age of 42. During his decade-long stay in the country, he continued his writings and established eight spiritual sanctuaries that stretched from the west to the east of Bhutan. 

Longchen Rabjampa’s compositions exemplify the extraordinary qualities and insights of a visionary and fully enlightened being. While he dictated his teachings, the Dharma protector Rahula transcribed them, Ekajati provided the necessary paper, and Damchen Dorje Legpa supplied the ink. They all pledged to safeguard every word and line of his literary works, support practitioners, and guide students of his teachings until their complete awakening.

Regarding his past lives, Longchen Rabjampa was born as Princess Pema Sel to King Trisong Detsen, but her life was tragically cut short before reaching her teenage years. During this brief existence, she encountered Guru Rinpoche and was entrusted as the future guardian of his special teachings. Reincarnating as Pema Ledrel Tsal, she dedicated herself exclusively to Guru Rinpoche’s teachings. 

It was after this incarnation that the Princess was reborn as the Great Longchen Rabjam, developing a deep connection and affection for Bhutan. While residing primarily at Tharpaling among the eight “Lings,” he repeatedly expressed his love and concern for Bhutan, expressing his intention to guide the nation through his subsequent reincarnations until the end of time. 

Following his passing in Tibet, he returned to Bhutan in the form of Terton Pema Lingpa. The blessings of Pema Lingpa and his predecessors, including Longchen Rabjam, have allowed Bhutan to navigate through the trials of time with peace and happiness.