The Wish-Granting Tree and Guru Kutsab of Neyphu Gonpa

A legend goes that a man accidentally entered the mythical paradise. After wandering aimlessly for a while he found a tree to shelter himself from the heat of the Sun. Having refreshed a bit, he felt hungry and wished for some food. Immediately the food appeared before him. He then thought he would like some wine. The wine appeared too. Startled and shocked, he thought some ghosts were there providing him everything. Then the ghost appeared.

In the Buddhist-Hindu-Jain mythology there is the legend of wish-granting tree known as the pagsam jongshing (Dz: དཔག་བསམ་ལྗོན་ཤིང; Skt: Kalpavruksha).Wish-granting trees are believed to bestow any wish one makes.

There is a story that in Paro, at the spot where Nyephu Gonpa is located today, there once stood one such pagsam jongshing tree. The people back then wished for abundant harvests. Their wish was granted. They received an endless supply of grains, fruits and vegetables – to the point that they became lazy, idle, bored and wild.

They got so wild that even attempted to kill Gyalwang Choeje Kunga Paljor (1428-1476), who back then was in retreat at Do Choten Gonpa.

They also chopped off the pagsam jongshing tree. Though there is hardly a trace of pagsam jongshing tree stands today, it is believed that one can still make a wish on the spot. Neyphu area holds the key to the mythical paradise, called Bae-Yul in Dzongkha, and that by just setting foot in the area, one is liberated from being reborn in the lower realm.

So, here I am, on the Duechen Ngazom (Vesak) of 2023 I made my maiden visit to make a wish, and had the most amazing day.

The Neyphu Valley, Paro

From Shaba Bridge, coming from Thimphu, if one turns right and takes the dirt road, one enters the Neyphu Valley. Some refer to it as Heyphu, after the name of the village below Neyphu temple. 

Neyphug literally means “the sacred hermitage caves”. According to lopen Karma Jurmey, who completed a six-year retreat at Menchunag, there are 108 sacred caves.

The valley that slowly rises in altitude is a beautiful and blissful place surrounded by mountain-top temples such as Do Choten, Bemri, Dongkala and Phurdo Gonpa. It truly feels like a hidden sacred valley that is referred to as Bae-Yul in the holy scriptures. One actually only realises its sacredness when one leaves the valley and hits the Thimphu – Paro highway.

Terton Ngawang Drakpa

Neyphu Temple was established by terton (treasure revealer) Ngawang Drakpa (1525-1599), a Peling lama, born in Sha Kunzangling. According to some sources, he attained enlightenment at the peak known as Samten Tsemo (where Bemri stands today), and was looking for an appropriate site to establish a seat for his Dharma activities. The village elders of Neyphu valley offered that spot where the pagsam jongshing tree once stood.

The birth of Terton Ngawang Drakpa was envisioned by Terton Pema Lingpa (1450-1521), who left instructions to his son, Thuksey Dawa Gyeltshen, to confer to him all sacred and secret teachings and practices. Terton Ngawang Drakpa, thus travelled to Bumthang and not only was a student of Thuksey, but later also became the teacher to Terton Tshering Dorji, who founded Nyechen Dongkala. He was thus one of the greatest Bhutanese yogis and dzongchen masters of all time, who started the lineage of Nyephu Trulku. The current one is the Ninth Nyephu Trulku, Ngawang Shedrup Chokyi Nima.

In his previous existence, Terton Ngawang Drakpa was Acharya Yeshey Yang – who was a disciple of Guru Padmasambhava and responsible for all clerical works.

Neyphu Monastery

The main statues on the ground floor are the Duesum Sangye ( Dz. དུས་གསུམ་སངས་རྒྱས; Buddhas of The Three Eras – Buddha Dipankara, Buddha Shakyamuni and Buddha Maitreya). The statue of Shakyamuni is considered as sung-joen (talking statue) and hence is very sacred.

On the top floor the temple they plan to reinstate the statues of Guru Padmasambhava, Dorje Sempa (Vajrasattva), Sangye Tshepamay (Amitayus) and two Chenrizig Chukchizhey (Eleven-arms Avalokitesvara). Of special interest is the set of the statues representing the Eight Manifestations of Guru that were sculpted by the Fourth Neyphu Trulku, Sangdag Neduen Dorji.  

The scripture/speech relic (sung-ten) is a set of Kanjur – the holy cannon of Buddhism, believed to have been written by the Second Nyephu Trulku, Sangag Gyeltshen (1600-1661).

Guru kutshab

As the most-sacred inner relics, known as the nang-ten, the monastery also has one of the Five-Envoy-Statues (སྐུ་ཚབ་) of Guru Padmasambhava – considered to be the kutshab (physical representations) of Guru, the blessing of which is at par with meeting Guru in person. (See below for background of kutshab)

The caretaker-monk says that the Kutsab statue was retrieved from the large Buddha statue at Kyichu temple in Paro. Terton Pemalingpa is believed to have seen it in his vision, and revealed it to his son, Thugsey Dawa Gyeltshen, who then later instructed Terton Ngawang Drakpa to retrieve it.

Other sacred relics are a pair of shoes that belonged to Guru Padmasambhava, the ritual hat of Zahor worn by second Neyphu Trulku, and a clay-statue of Jampayang (Manjushri), which is believed to have come flying from Tibet.

The monastery also has the Chamber of the Protector Deities of the Nyingma Tradition – Ma-Za-Dam Sum, which is the short form of Mamo Ekajati, Za Rahula, and Damchen Dorje Legpa.

The Neyphu Monasteries Network

Neyphu Monastery is not a single stand-alone temple but the centre of a vast and loose network of temples and monastic institutes in Paro, such as Bemri, Chorten Gangkha, Menchu Gonpa, Minrekha, Phurdok Gonpa, Tshedrak Gonpa, Tsundru Gonpa, Yangchi Gonpa and Zhelgno ruins (which has been restored and a cafe has been built at the side to support the monastic body).

Around Neyphu Monastery

About an hour walk from Neyphu Gonpa is a stupa, which contains the relics of Sangye Osung (Buddha Kashyapa) – making the stupa as sacred as Boudha Stupa in Kathmandu. The other close place to visit is Menchu Gonpa, where there is the self-arisen painting of Avalokitesvara.

When to visit

On any auspicious day, there are prayers and rituals to the deities and divinities. The most significant is, however, on the 8th Day of the Second month, coinciding with the Birth Anniversary of terton Ngawang Drakpa, all the sacred relics are displayed for public viewing. What is very special would be to view the Guru Kutsab statue, which is equivalent of meeting the Guru in person.


Guru Kutsab

In the Eighth Century, when Guru Rinpoche was leaving for the southwestern land of the Rakshas, King Muthri Tsenpo of Tibet requested Guru to leave something behind to represent him. It is said that Guru instructed Acharya Shantarakshita to make five statues with five different costumes – of Zahor, Nepal, India, Tibet and China. The statues were buried into the earth as termas, to be revealed by tertons at a later period.

These lines were believed to have been spoken by Guru to King Mutri Tsenpo on the sacredness of the Guru Kutsab: 

Whoever sees or gets blessings from these statues, 

it is no different than seeing me, Guru Padmasambhava!

As for the temporal, they grant whichever common attainment one may wish for, 

And ultimately, to the abode of myself, Padmasambhava, escorted with honor by the assembly of Dakas and Dakinis, will be brought to the Supreme Celestial Mansion of Lotus Luminosity!

Even the places where these statues are kept, would have no difference as that of the Celestial Mansion of Lotus Luminosity! 

Huge gatherings of Dakas and Dakinis will take place, auspiciousness would pervade everywhere and there will be bountiful crops and cattle, 

The kalpa (eons) of sickness, war, and famine would soon get over!

The “talking” Buddha
Kashypa Buddha – Buddha of the past
Guru Padmasambhava
Terton Ngawang Drakpa
9th Neyphu Trulku with Zahor Guru uzha (ceremonial hat)
The Zhelgno manor has been rebuilt

Phurdo Gonpa – the flying stupa

It feels nice to visit Phurdo Gonpa after two years. After my first and last visit here in 2020, a friend and I gifted them a large water tank.

Phurdo Gonpa is on a mountain top in Paro Shaba, and was established by Drubthop Thangtong Gyalpo (1361-1485), a Tibetan yogi-artiste-engineer. He is best known for building iron chain bridges across the Himalayas, some of which are still in use today.

Thangtong Gyalpo, who was invited here by Drake Tsen and Aap Chundu, while meditating here, saw in his vision the whole mountain range as Mount Potala, the Abode of Avaloketeshvara, in a shape of a phurpa. Hence the altar of this temple is designed as Mount Potala with all the nearby sacred sites such as Bemri, Jelela, Dongkala, Dra Karp, Mendrup Gonpa. The spiritual merit of visiting this mountain is the same as visiting the sacred abode of Potala.

The center statue of the altar is Guru Nangsi Zillnoen (Guru Padmadambhava). He is flanked on either side by Cherizig Chha-Tong (1000-arms Avalokiteshvara). On the right side of the altar is Namsey Zambala – the Wealth Deity, and the Protector deity Mahakala.

Phurdo comes from the Dzongkha word, phu, which means “to fly”, and “do” (boulder). It is derived from the legend that a stone stupa below the temple attempted to fly away with Drubthob Thangtong.

The stupa called Lho Penden has stone slabs on its two sides. The story is that they are self-emanated wings, which sprouted from itself – to be able to fly with the yogi to Tachogang. However, the yogi left him back here. And, thus, it was also called Phurdo (flying rock) and the gonpa took its name from it.

Another interesting relic to see is a 6-feet tall monolith called “Dhoring” (Stone pillar) which is said to be the physical height of Thangtong Gyalpo himself.

My first visit here was in 2020 after I saw a post about the caretaker pleading with the devotee to bring water.

Phurdo Gonpa sits on a limestone mountain top. And like any limestone or dolomite mountain, the water table must be way down in the valley, and not anywhere near the peak. In fact I discovered there are no water springs near any of the temples on this mountain. So all temples such as Dongkala, Mendrup Gonpa, Bemri, Dra Karp have no water source. Since time unknown they harvest rainwater and snow and at other times they walk for hours every day to distant water springs.

During my first visit I noticed that Phurdo Gonpa didn’t even have a large water tank for storage to meet the needs of the dry months. So, a friend of mine and I donated a 5000 litres water tank to help them pull through the fall and the winter months.

Take water:

To all devotees visiting Phurdo Gonpa, Mendrup Gonpa, and Dongkala, take cartons of bottled water, besides the butter and incense sticks. There is a very good road till the doorsteps of the temples.

Who should visit:

Everyone, and especially engineers, artists, writers. One belief is that Thangtong Gyalpo is supposed to have conquered the five elements of nature – earth, wind, fire, water and space. A statue of Thangtong is a must at home to avert natural disasters.

Getting there:

After Shaba Bridge, coming from Thimphu, turn right at the bridge, and head for Yuthok Gonpa and Dra Karp. Phurdo Gonpa is an hour drive and is on top of the mountain past Tenchekha village and Mendrup Gonpa. Small cars are welcome.

Long life cliff of Paro

Tshedrak Gonpa, Naja Gewog, Paro – In September 2020, Guide Chimi, popularly known as the Prostration Man, reached out to me. He was initiating a set of large statues of Guru Sampa Lhendrup and the Eight Manifestations, for his village temple, Tshedrak Gonpa, in remote Naja gewog in Paro. He asked me if I could sponsor of the Eight manisfestations of Guru statue.

I told him, “Why not?” And paid the statue maker directly for Guru Pemasambhava.

I had never been to Tshedrak Gonpa but the opportunity to be a part of this magnificent spiritual project was enticing. It is not that I had excess money either. However, I thought, first of all, my descendents and I can someday visit this temple, or drive past it, with pride that I played a small part in rebuilding this religious monument. 

Second, money will come and go. But time only rolls in one direction. It will be an instant when you realise that months have passed by and years have turned into decades.

And then decades will become centuries and, one day, we will be long gone. But this temple will remain. Caretakers will tell the stories of some devotees of destiny, who built this temple. Just as we are proud of our past heritage and our ancestors, our descendents will feel the same about us. I always say that our generation must do our bit instead of basking in past glory, or instead of whining that nothing is enough.

So, on this Tara Day of the Sage Dawa month I decided to make my maiden visit to this temple I heard so much about, and to also see for myself what I had actually got into.

The Rocky Cliff of Longevity

Tshedrak Gonpa stands above Tshegon village in Naja Gewog in lower Paro. To the south one can see the forested mountains of Chukha with Geling Gonpa towards the left peak. Haa Chu flows down at the bottom of the valley. It takes three hours with a small utility car from Thimphu.

Tshedrak means a “rocky cliff of longevity” and gets its name from a mountain that stands behind the temple. Here, the legend says, Terton Sherub Mebar (1267-1326) discovered a ter-statue of Sangye Tshepamay (Buddha Amitayus) from the cliff of longevity. 

“While Sherub Mebar is more known as being associated to Ugyen Guru temple in Paro, it is here that he made his first discovery and proved his worth as a terton (treasure revealer)”, says Lopen Damcho Wangdi, a monk-teacher of Tshedrak. The revelation happened in the 13th century and, according to Lopen Damcho.

Then in the 18th Century the temple reappears in the hagiography of the Seventh Neyphu Trulku Namdrol Dorji, a contemporary and a good friend of the 25th Je Khenpo Sherub Gyeltshen (1771-1848), popularly known as Gori-Je. While there is no written record, it is possible what many claim and that Namdrol Dorji founded Tshedrak Gonpa. This is also evidenced by the fact that the propitiating rituals to the Peling Kasungs are conducted regularly here.

The Ku-ten Sung-ten of Tshedrak

The top floor has the main altar and the goenkang (chapel of the protector deities). The central figure is the Eleven-head Thousand-hands Avalokiteshvara, and represented according to the Peling Tradition. Other deities and bodhisattvas fill the entire altar that covers one wall of the main temple.

Of great interest to many is the goenkang, which houses the statues of the powerful tutelary deities plus Aum Ngagsum, the deity protector Ekjati of the Peling Tradition. 

”Aum Ngagsum is a norlha (wealth conferring deity) and she is extremely generous and revered by people who are into business”, says Lopen Damcho. “Many people have become wealthy and prosperous, and got their wishes fulfilled,” he added. In fact on the day I visited a young girl accompanied by her two elder women were paying gratitude to the deity. 

“Aum Ngagsum’s support is guaranteed but her generosity is closely guarded by the Tsedrak Tsen (Mountain deity of Tshedrak). If the beneficiaries do not show up to offer their gratitude, or annual homage after becoming rich from here, he retaliates and sometimes very violently,” he adds. 

The sung-ten (literally meaning the Speech relic) is a volume of Sung-bum (One Hundred Thousand Verses of Perfection of Wisdom). It is believed that mere reading of this sacred scripture would not only help recover anyone from a serious disease but also guarantee a long life because of the life blessing from this temple.  

In fact, thanks to the blessing of Sangye Tshepamay and the protection of Aum Ngagsum, the villages of Tshegon and Jabana are not only strong and healthy, they are also prosperous. Many people in Tshegon have lived past 100 years.

Getting there

It takes three hours with a small utility car from Thimphu to Tshedrak Gonpa. It is located in Haa Valley but under Paro District administration. From Thimphu drive to Chuzom and further down to Damcho towards Phuntsholing. From Watsha turn right towards Haa.

Tsedrak Gonpa is above Tshegon Village just before Rangshikha. You can see it on top of the mountain to the right from Gatro Restaurant. Take the first rough road to the right after the restaurant.

Sherub Mebar and Nyephu Trulku

For more on Terton Sherub Mebar you can check the post by Passang Passu Tshering.

It is believed that Ugyen Guru Temple in Pangbisa received its curative powers from the Sangay Tshepamey ter discovered by Terton Sherub Mebar from Tshedrak. Pangbisa Rilbu (blessed pills) has such a power to cure the illness that in the past one rilbu was exchanged for one ox.

For more on Nyephu Trulku Namdrol Dorji, you can check this link

The founder of the temple – 7th Nyephu Trulku Namdrol Dorji
Tshepamay Ter statue (now housed in Pangbisa, Paro)
Terton Sherub Mebar (1367-1326)
Pema Sambhava in top right corner of the picture is my contribution to the temple

Zilukha temple – the gem in my neighbourhood

These days my morning walk consists of thirteen or 25 rounds of this temple in Zilukha in Thimphu. It is 10 minutes from my place. For those of you in Thimphu who may not be able to hike up to sacred places like Phajoding or Dodeydra, for whatever reasons (including laziness), you have Zilukha temple in the city that is as sacred, and where you can visit without too much formalities.

The temple is the heart of the Thangtong Dewachen Nunnery. It was built in 1983 by drubthob Rikhey Jadrel Rimpoche (1901-1984), who was considered as the 16th reincarnation of drubthob Thangtong Gyalpo (1361-1485). In fact Rikhey Jadrel was also known as Memay Drubthob.

The central statue of the temple is Thangtong Gyalpo (1361-1485) – one of the greatest yogis, and a master builder and artiste in Vajrayana Buddhism. To its left is an mesmerisingly beautiful statue of Drol-kar (White Tara), and to the right is Neten Yenla Jung (Angiraja) – one of the Sixteen Arhats. All the clay statues were created by the best jinzob (mud-artist) of our time, Lopen Omtong from Trashigang Bidung. The consecration ceremony of the temple was presided by His Holiness Kalu Rimpoche (1905-1989). 

Guru Rimpoche’s vajra

It is believed that inside the Thangtong statue is a sacred dorje (Vajra) buried there, which apparently belonged to Guru Padmasambhava himself. The construction was started in 1981 and all the nang-zung (inner relics) for the statues were granted by Lama Sonam Zangpo (1888-1982), who was also supervising the statue construction. As the yeshey sempa (the most sacred relic) Lama Sonam Zangpo requested Memay Drubthob to put the Guru’s dorje, which the Drubthob was in possession of. Memay Drubthob refused at first, but when Lama Sonam Zangpo threatened to walk away, he relented, according to a reliable source. Lama Sonam Zangpo is supposed to have told that they were all getting old and didn’t have many years to live and that no one knows where the sacred dorje would end up if it is not placed there for the benefit of all sentient beings.

According to another source, around the same time, Memay Drubthob invited the indomitable Jadrel Sangye Dorje (1913-2015), popularly known as Jadrel Rimpoche, to the consecration ceremonies. Jadrel Rimpoche unapologetically replied that he would come only if the Guru’s dorje was offered and buried in the main statue as the principal yeshey sempa.

The dorje is believed to be the one that Guru Padmasambhava had used to tame the demons as shown in sampa lhendrup iconography. Hence while the temple may be relatively new, the inner relics offered by Lama Sonam Zangpo and the Guru’s dorje and the presence of all the great yogis such as Kalu Rimpoche and Jadrel Rimpoche make this temple a very special place. It is believed that any wish you make at Zilukha temple would be fulfilled. It is considered to be particularly powerful to clear one’s obstacles, and negative forces directed towards you, thanks to the Guru’s powerful dorje.

Why visit this temple?

We visit many sacred places and monuments purely based on legends we hear and believe. This temple in our city is not only convenient but it was built during our time by the greatest yogis and masters of the century – Rikhey Jadrel Rimpoche, Lama Sonam Zangpo, Kalu Rimpoche and Jadrel Sangye Dorje Rimpoche. Simply put, the temple is an established fact.

May Guru Padmasambhava hear your prayers and moelam

More on Thangtong Gyalpo

1. Thangtong Gyalpo is believed to be the mind emanation (thug-truel) of Guru Padmasambhava. It is believed that Guru considered revering Thangtong as revering him.

2. Thangtong Gyalpo, whose real name is Tsundru Zangpo, was an engineer, artiste, yogi, and an adept. He is considered to be the deity of people who take up professions such as engineer and art.

3. The world’s first opera was not Italian but Tibetan. It is called Achey Lhamo, and it was authored by Thangtong Gyalpo. Today Achey Lhamo opens all major Tibetan functions and festivals.

4. Thangtong Gyalpo means King of the Empty Plain. While he was meditating in the Gyede Plain in Tsang, five dakinis appeared to him and sang verses of praise: “On the great spreading plain; The yogin who understands emptiness; Sits like a fearless king; Thus we name him King of the Empty Plain.

Supporting the temple:

The temple is independently managed and sustained. And so there are less formalities for visiting it. And the generous offerings of the devotees for prayers and rituals help to maintain this amazing gem in our city.

I often make requests to the nuns to recite barchel lamsel (obstacle-removing) and sampa lhendrup (wish-fulfilling) and make some offerings.

The Wealth and Wellbeing Temples of Dodeydra

I spent the first day of this holy Saga Dawa month by making my bi-annual visit to the sacred temples of Dodeydra in Thimphu – a Drukpa Kagyu establishment on the  northwestern ridges. 

I have been visiting this beautiful place for over 20 years now. It is a nice two-hour hike but with a killer uphill climb right at the start, which, if you can survive, provides you the most stunning view of Thimphu valley. 

In recent years Dodeydra has become a wellbeing temple for me and for my friends from abroad. Two of my American friends recovered from a life-threatening disease after we sought the prayers here. Another launched his business and visits Bhutan every year and conducts his annual kurim. It has become the official temple for my wellbeing journey.   

The Cave of Scriptures 

Dodeydra, which literally means “Cave of Scriptures”, gets its name from Dodey Kesang – a sacred Buddhist sutra set, which is believed to have been revealed from the rocks over which a temple now stands. The main temple, called the Tsuglakhang, was established by the 13th Je Khenpo (chief abbot) of Bhutan, Yonten Thaye (1724-84) in 1779. It also became the seat of two subsequent Je Khenpos – of the 18th Je Jamyang Gyaltshen, and of the 27th and 29th Je Pema Zangpo.

The health temple

Palden Lhamo is one of the eight major dharmapalas, and the only female, in Vajrayana Buddhism. She is also one of the three supreme protectors of the Kingdom of Bhutan. Known as Sri Devi in Sanskrit, she is believed to be the emanation of Mahakali – and the wrathful manifestation of Lhamo Yangchenma (Saraswati).

What many do not know is that Palden Lhamo is believed to help people recover from illnesses and diseases. Legend has it that when she was escaping from her evil husband-king, her mount, the donkey, was hit by an arrow. She pulled out the arrow and turned the wound into an eye. In the black pouch she holds in her left hand she is believed to collect the pain and diseases of the devotees.

Story goes that when Je Pema Zangpo was meditating in a cave below, he heard the bray of the donkey of Palden Lhamo. He also saw the deity in his dreams. He later came across the donkey dung, which is now preserved in this temple as a sacred relic.

The temple, nicknamed Pem Zam Lhakhang, has the Tshela Namsum (Longevity Trinity) of Sangye Tshepamay (Buddha Amityus), Jetsun Drolma (Tara) and Namgyelma (Unisha Vijjaya) as the main statues. Hence, a kurim ritual here for the sick, or long life wishes, prayers or blessing ceremonies are recommended.

The wealth temple

The Tsuglakhang is a three-storied structure that looks as though it is pasted on a vertical rockface. Legend has it that the large boulder split into two, revealing the sacred scripture set, and the giant slab that broke away is visible from the stupa nearby.

The ground floor of the Tsuglakhang is a museum consisting of the personal effects of the three Je Khenpos. The top floor is dedicated to Zhabdrung Phuntshum Tshogpa and to his tutelary deity, Yeshey Gonpo (Mahakala). The main temple is in the middle floor, and has Buddha Shakyamuni, Aum Zinchen Wangmo, and the inner sanctum of the three Je Khenpos plus Shabdrung Jigme Drakpa (1791—1830).

Since the mediaeval era, local traders and merchants leaving for Tibet and India  would pay a visit here to seek the blessings of Aum Zinchen Wangmo for a safe journey and a successful business trip. On their return they would bring a gift for her – usually consisting of corals and turquoise, as she is believed to be fond of them.

Aum Zinchen Wangmo is also known as Dorje Yudronma, who is considered as one of the Twelve Tenmas (Dz. བསྟན་མ་བཅུ་གཉིས་, Skt. sthāvarā) in Vajrayana Buddhism, and who are believed to have been subdued by Guru Padmasambhava and enrolled as worldly dharma protectors.

Dorje Yudronma is also known for providing a perfect divination with her turquoise drum that she holds in her right hand. State oracles of the Tibetan government in the past often consulted her through a medium.

Here, to seek her divination one must roll the dice and hit the perfect 5 (which is statistically quite difficult) or 7 or 15. If you receive one of the numbers you have her total blessings. Your wish will also be fulfilled if you have other numbers associated to other deities and divinities. However, as a worldly dharma protector, once you accomplish your mission you must return there and express your gratitude by bringing a piece of jewellery as a gift.

In some Vajrayana traditions, Aum Zinchen Wangmo is considered as one of the Six Ejajati Sisters. Aum Jomo is believed to be the eldest and Aum Zinchen Wangmo is the youngest and the most beautiful.

Buddha wears a crown

Coincidentally, in the same temple the statue of Buddha Shakyamuni also exhibits wealth by wearing a crown. This is strange, because Buddha is normally represented as wearing only a robe. But there is an interesting story behind the crown.

During the time of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, the King of Ladakh offered four estates around Mt. Kailash to Zhabdrung as a gift (the land was Bhutan’s exclave inside Tibet until the late 20th Century). A lama, who was referred to as Gangri Lam was sent from Bhutan. During the long journey there and back they often met a tragic end at the hands of thieves and bandits.

One particular Lam from Geleykha who was deputed there, prayed to this Buddha Shakyamuni before he left, and promised to offer something valuable if he made it safely back to Bhutan. He did make it back and hence, the crown on the Buddha.

The Weeping Avalokiteshvara

One thing that I never miss is the mind-blowing mural painting of Chenrizig (Avalokiteshvara), which is believed to have shed tears when Kyabje Jamyang Gyaltshen passed away. It is to the immediate left after you enter the inner sanctum of the four lamas. The mural painting in the main temple is attributed as the handwork of Je Jamyang Gyaltsen himself.

The wellbeing temple

Mahayana Buddhism, and also Vajrayana, does not frown upon people seeking wealth or longevity as long as both are employed as means to attain a greater good, such as enlightenment, or to help others to achieve the same. What would be wrong is to practice materialistic tendencies such as hoarding or hedonism.

The third temple is the Kuenra – main prayer hall. And here, where the monks gather every day there are two very sacred statues that flank the main statues of Duesum Sangye (Buddhas of Three Era). They are Jetsun Jamyang (Manjushri) and Lhamo Yangchenma (Saraswati). Both are believed to be sungjoen (statues that have spoken).

These two divinities help the devotees and practitioners not only to acquire knowledge but to also conquer ignorance – which is one of the main causes of suffering. What one should aspire for is to attain wellbeing and equanimity, and work towards enlightenment, and to eventually remove oneself from the cyclic existence of the Samsara. Knowledge and wisdom are thus seen as the best tools to get there. While we may not be able to dedicate our whole life like the monks, time is relative in Buddhism. Even if one can spend a minute or an hour there in silence and in good intention it is a great start of your journey towards realisation.

Honorary mentionThe wellbeing waters

At the side of the Tsuglakhang is a small spring that is believed to have been blessed by the mantras of Namgyelma (Unisha Vijjaya) – the Victorious One. Namgyelma is the deity of both health and wealth. Story goes that Je Yonten Thaye on his third visit to the holy Tsari Mountains in Tibet brought a rock which when he placed it over another rock at Dodeydra produced this Namgyelma Drupchu. 

The water is believed to cleanse one’s bad karma that may be standing in our way towards health, prosperity and enlightenment.

My annual offerings to Aum Zinchen Wangmo.

It is not about money

Another talk about salary raise. Another assumption that Bhutanese people are only after money. It is of great wonder that our people just don’t seem to get it.


What is it, then? What is it about? Well, it is more about:

Sense of self-worth. People continuously assess their self-worth. In a society where one is defined more by social identity rather than personhood, people ask questions such as, “Why am I so useless?” Forget about repaying one’s parents and country, one realises that one can’t even pay the house rent. And sees one’s life slipping away. People then decide to make a jump.

Sense of belonging. People want to feel belonged, valued and acknowledged. People seek validation and affirmation, from their superiors and from their peers. When they don’t see them coming, people start wondering, “Does it even make a difference if I am here or not? Who cares? Who really bothers?” In most cases people will move on if they feel that they are not valued.

Sense of purpose. By and large, Bhutanese people are selfless (still!), and are service-bound. However, when Bhutanese cannot fulfil selfless aspirations and projects, in the sense that, when people cannot even repay their parents because of stratospheric living standards, or when people find that they cannot even contribute anything to nation-building, people start reasoning. Where do I stand in this whole gamut of nation-building? What is my role in this country? Where is my place in my society? If they do not see a greater purpose in one’s life, they will go find it somewhere else.

Money is the secondary reason for the exodus, from what I gather, but it is seen as the solution to fix the above existential questions, plus everything else. There is an illusion, both in the government as well as among the population, that money is the answer to all our problems or issues.

This “knowing what the people need” approach to public policy, which is defined as paternalism in sociology and political science, is where, I feel, we are going wrong. Public policies, as the name suggests, is a policy for and by the public. It should be a grassroot thing and not a top-down hit. It should be demand-driven and not decided by the source. Visions can be top-down but public policies should be formulated bottom-up.

Sure, in this hyper capitalistic world, money is required and that money helps. But unless we fix the deeper psycho-social problems – at individual level, and as a nation, we will find ourselves in the same state and situation even after 5 or 10 years. We will find ourselves there with more money, but with an empty heart, or mind – or both.

If the answer to the question, what motivates you to leave, is money, the follow-up question should be, “what do you need the money for?” In most cases, it will be either, “I want to repay my parents” or “have money to do good things, or help others.

And I said it before

In July of 2019 right after the teaching profession became the highest paid civil servants I spoke at the first Biodemocracy conference. There I categorically told those present that the move was not going to reduce teachers’ attrition. The excitement would last for 2 months and teachers would be back to attempting for Australia visa. (See below for more details on this).

Is raising salary meaningless?

No. Again as I said it before, the higher salary will attract the best people into the civil service but it will not do anything to retain them. It might also bring some Bhutanese back into the country from the UN and other international agencies and institutions. But if the objective is to retain the existing corp, it is a mission that is dead on arrival. Few might change their mind but those who have decided are waiting to walk away with higher gratuity and terminal benefits. Yes, the government is caught in a catch-22 game.

So my recommendation is to find the underlying cause, instead of treating the symptoms.


The link to my talk at the Biodemocracy Conference is here

Or go to page 44 of the proceedings

Looking for the drums of Tsamdrak

Tracing the Four Skills of Wang Valley – Part II

In the late 1990s, as a young engineer building radio towers over Paro Jabjikha, I was awed by the views of the Himalayas and the temples and gonpas (retreat centres) I could see from there such as Dongkala, Phurdo Gonpa to the north, Paga Gonpa and Thamdrak Gonpa to the east, and Dobji Dzong and Dawakha to the south. When I was tired of working, I would drive off to the villages nearby, and sit and eat with the locals and elders, and hear stories of the past legends, myths and heroes.

I always dreamt of visiting those places one day, but, to lift from a John Lennon song, life happened although I had other plans.

One fascinating story was about the legendary 108 drums of Tshamdrak Gonpa. And of a certain “Je Ngawang Drub” – the founder. A bit of research now shows that his name is Jetsun Ngawang Drukpa (1682-1748) and he came from the Metakha Choeje in Dungna. He was the nephew of Choeje Ngawang Dorji – another important lama in the history of Drukpa Kagyu school. He is the same lama who was offered the Milarepa statue by the Tibetan Government after he visited Lhasa and impressed both the people and the government. The statue is in Dobji Dzong after it was left there for it refused to move further to Tshamdrak Gonpa.

The founding of Tshamdrak

A visit to Tshamdrak is like walking into a museum. Both in terms of cultural artefacts and stories, Tshamdrak is a treasure house. You remain awed by everything there – least of which is the breath-taking view towards the Dawakha.

The place is associated with all important figures in Bhutanese Vajrayana Buddhism such as Guru Rimpoche, Terton Pema Lingpa, Aap Chundru, Tsang Khenchen, Je Sakya Rinchen among others. It brings together the best of the Kagyu and Nyingma traditions.

Tsham-drak means “meditation cave” and refers to a place that was opened by Drubthob Uthon Sangye, a member of the Kyurura clan in Tibet and a disciple of Drikung Kyobpa Pel (probably referring to Drikung Kagyu lama Jikten Gonpo Rinchen Pel – a 12th Century lama). Uthon Sangye is believed to have married a local woman and started the Metakha Choje in present-day Chukha district.

A more important figure from the Metakha Choje is Ngawang Dorji who appeared five centuries later. It is believed that when he was meditating in Tshamdrak, Guru Rimpoche appeared to him and recognised him as the reincarnation of Humchenkara (སློབ་དཔོན་ཧཱུྃྂ་ཆེན་ཀཱ་ར་ཡིས; Acharya Humkara) – one of the Eight Vidyadharas (རིག་འཛིན་བརྒྱད་, Rigdzin Gyé) of India. Tshamdrak, thus, became a very important site for serious practitioners. Ngawang Dorji was the paternal uncle of Je Ngawang Drukpa and became his first teacher.

The Pema Lingpa connection

While his ancestors identified the place it was Je Ngawang Drukpa who built the three-storied temple as we see today. The consecration was presided over by one of his main teachers, the Second Gangteng Trulku, Tenzin Legpai Dondrub (1645 – 1727) – a Nyingma lama from the Peling tradition, who is considered the greatest Gangtey Trulku among the previous eight reincarnations.

This connection to Peling tradition seems to be strong even today, which is evidenced by the fact that the regular propitiating rituals are conducted to the super powerful Gonpo Maning Nakpo – one of the dharma protectors of Terton Pema Lingpa and his followers and family line. 

The 108 ter-drums 

While there are other important relics and sacred objects in Tshamdrak, the place was known in popular culture for its 108 drums. Legends have it that all the 108 drums were carved by Lam Ngawang Drukpa out of a single tree. Of the 108 only 12 remain, and according to the caretaker, the rest has been distributed to Thimphu Dzong and Punakha Dzong. The 12 drums are put on permanent display in a museum that has been recently opened by Gyalsey Tenzin Rabgye.

Guru Rimpoche’s ceremonial robe

Another priceless treasure relic of Tshamdrak is the Choe-go (ceremonial robe) that is believed to be of Guru Padmasambhava. (This relic is now sealed and available only once a year).

Story has it that Lam Ngawang Drukpa sent his cook to buy tea loaves (ja-pakchu) from Paro Tshongdu. Those days tea loaves came packed in boxes. The cook was given a special instruction: Buy three boxes from the first seller. Don’t open the boxes. Shoot straight for Tshamdrak without taking rest on the way.

Few days later the cook returned with three boxes of tea and did everything as he was told. The lama opened the first box. There was tea inside. The lama opened the second, and there was also just tea. When the lama opened the third box, out came an orange robe. 

This robe is the most precious nang-ten (inner sacred relics) of Tshamdrak Gonpa today. 

Guru Sungjoen and caves, foot prints and stupas

In and and around the Gonpa, there are several caves, and hand and foot prints of Guru Padmasambhava, Lam Ngawang Dorji, Aap Chundu, and Uton Sangye. There is also a kudrung chorten that holds the physical remains of Je Ngawang Drukpa.

One interesting story tells of the Guru statue (located on the top floor) that is believed to have spoken to a thief. The robber had carried off the statue and when he got far off from the temple, he stopped to take a rest. However, he was not able to move after taking the rest. The Guru statue miraculously spoke telling the thief that unless he decides to carry him back, he will be stuck. After struggling for a few minutes and seeing the futility, the thief agreed to take the statue back.

There is also a big stone slab, associated to Aap Chundru (deity of Haa valley). The stone slab is believed to be stitched from two slabs of stones by Lam Ngawang Drukpa – using a thread made out of sand.

Nyingma Gyu-bum

A lesser known fact is that Tshamdrak Gonpa was a thriving library and publication house in the mediaeval period. Besides the Kanjur and Tenjur volumes, one of the only complete set of Nyingma Gyubum ((རྙིང་མ་རྒྱུད་འབུམ) – which literally means Tantric texts of the New Translation lineage, was found here. A copy was made for the National Library in the 1980s. Other Nyingma centres around the world also made copies from Tshamdrak. The Gyubum was compiled by Ratna Lingpa (1403-1478).

The temple also has many Terma scriptures including those revealed by Sangye Lingpa (1340–1398), Ratna Lingpa (1403-1478) and Pema Lingpa (1450-1521). 

Getting there

Tshamdrak (also written Tsamdrag) Gonpa is now connected by road and there is no need to make the steep uphill hike on foot.

You steer off at Damchu on the Thimphu – Phuntsholing highway. The road is bit rough for small cars – especially after one crosses the last village. A four wheel drive is recommended if you are doing in the wet season. The drive is about an hour from the highway.


People from central and eastern Bhutan whose choesung is Gonpo Maning, and who live in western Dzongkhags MUST visit one of the following lhakhangs: Tshamdrak Gonpa, Euthok Gonpa, Jabdo Gonpa or best – Nyechen Dongkala. Those who are ill, must visit Mendrup Gonpa. This is because Gonpo Maning has residence in these places.

Yangka – the artist par excellence

Meet Yangka, from Wangdue Phangyul, a master artist. 

He makes embroidered thangka and thongdrel, which are religious scrolls made out of silk threads with Buddhist deities, divinities and historical figures.

Thangkas are smaller scrolls for private homes and altars, and thongdrel are the large ones that are displayed in and outside the temples.

I order three thangkas from him and I also asked if I could take a look at the large Thogdrel that he had just finished and had packed. He was so humble that he keep saying, “Oh, I am not as good as others. I am happy if people are happy with my work.”

When he reopened the pack I was like, “Damn! You should be blind not to like his work.”

The large 20 feet tall thongdrel depicts Buddha Shakyamuni and the sixteen arhats (direct disciples of Buddha) and has been commissioned for Tsalungna Nye.

He has a team of young artists and tailors who make those thousands of tiny pieces of figurines with silk, and he puts them all together to make the large scroll. He refers to no drawings, paintings, or designs. Everything is in his head 😵‍💫😵‍💫😵‍💫

He says that profit is not his motive. He rather believes he is practicing Dharma through his art. “If I can pay off my people, and cover the rent, I am OK. I don’t need more.”

He doesn’t remember all the large thongdrels he made but the one he does, and cherishes the most, is Zhabdrung Phunsum Tshogpa, which is supposed to be inside the Sacred Machen temple in Punakha, and the one unfurled annually during Zhabdrung Kuchoe.

Someone who gets to place his work inside the Machen, and outside of it too, got to THE best. 

I bought this Buddha Sakyamuni thangka, and ordered two more with Guru Rimpoche and Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel.

Contact info:

Yangka has his workshop at Hejo in Thimphu. You should visit him and see his work.

The embroidered thangka and the artist who did it for me
The 20 feet tall and 25 feet wide Thongdrel


According to an article on BuddhistDoor, “The use of silk to create sacred art grew out of these fluctuating Mongol-Tibetan-Chinese interconnections.” in the 13th Century. The article further argues that “during this period textile copies of Tibetan paintings began to be produced in China, using Chinese techniques of weaving and embroidery. Reynolds notes that these silken images held “greater cachet than the paintings they were copied from” (Reynolds 1995, 147)”.

In 1468 the First Dalai Lama is believed to have commissioned a very large silken image of the Buddha Sakyamuni to be displayed on the 9-storied wall of Tashilhunpo monastery. This embroudered Buddha could be the first thongdrel in the world.

Furthermore, this embroidery art not only flourished in Tibet but spread to Mongolia, Ladakh and Bhutan by the 18th Century.

From all the embroidered pieces I have seen in Bhutan, by far the most beautiful piece is in Seula Gonpa in Punakha. The 10 feet tall thangka depicts the founder of the Gonpa, Jamgon Ngawang Gyeltshen, and was made and offered by the King of Derge, where he served as an emissary.

One of the most sacred thongdrel is the Paro Thongdrel that is unfurled and displayed to public during Paro Tshechu.

13th century thangka, Tibet Museum, Lhasa (Photo taken from
Vajrapani, China, 14th Century. Rubins Museum, New York

Tracing the Four Skills of Wang Valley – Paga Gonpa

Many years back when I was building the radio repeater stations overlooking Paro, Thimphu and Chukha one thing that I enjoyed was visiting local temples and listening to local folk tales. There was one popular saying in that area, which remained ingrained in my head, and that went something like: Do not compete in making drums with Tshamdrak Gonpa. Do not compete in reading scriptures with Paga Gonpa. Do not compete in blowing horns with Chizhing Gonpa.  Do not compete in mask dance with Datong Gonpa. 

Popular sayings and proverbs convey timeless wisdom. In Bhutan they are more powerful and important for intergenerational transmission of values and belief systems because of the lack of writing culture. For a researcher, or a journalist, these sayings are clues, or keys, to greater hidden meanings, and vital information to spiritual treasures.

Coming back to the saying, it is because Tshamdrak Gonpa is supposed to have, as treasure-relics, a set of 108 drums; Paga Gonpa has a set of Kanjur made out of a single daphne tree (འདལ་ཤིང༌།); Chizhing gonpa has a pair of Tibetan horns (དུང༌།); and Datong Gonpa has the religious dance – ter-chham. Or so I was told. The other thing is these four temples were under Thimphu Dratshang before district remapping two the first two under Chukkha – and hence, the popular title, The Four Skills of Wang Valley.

On a side note, I just wish that our political-administrative undertakings respect the social and cultural backgrounds and contexts, because they could erase timeless wisdoms, or hurt local sentiments – or both. This is another issue for another time.

Anyway, last weekend I set out to discover these four places. 

Pagar Gonpa

Pagar Sangachholing Gonpa, or simply Paga Gonpa, sits on the left ridge above the highway after one crosses Chuzom Bridge on the Thimphu – Phuntsholing route. It takes little over an hour to drive from the capital. It has a commanding view of Dawakha village, Dobji Dzong, and Nyechen Dongkala, Phurdo Gonpa and Mendrup Gonpa.

There are varying stories of its origin. One is associated with Kunga Gyatsho (1702 -1776) – one of the four principal students of Tshang Khenchen Palden Gyatsho – the biographer of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel (1594 – 1651). The other tells the story of it being established in 1707 by Geshe Kunga Gyeltshen who, when he was meditating above in a place called Jangkhochen, saw a crow fly towards him, pick his small cymbal and then fly away and drop it at the present site where Paga Gonpa now stands.

Whichever of the two stories is true is secondary. They both add to the folklore. What is important is that Paga Gonpa became the most important and famed library in mediaeval Bhutan for Buddhist scriptures and scholarship. Among them the sacred Kanjur volume is believed to be the ter (sacred relic) and was written by Kunga Gyatsho himself from the papers made out of a single daphne tree (འདལ་ཤིང༌། dey-shing in Dzongkha).

The temple is being rebuilt after a devastating fire destroyed its structures in 2012. The Kanjur was saved, fortunately. Owing to the rennovation, all the scriptures and books are locked away, except for one volume, for public viewing, that is placed in front of the main statue of Shakyamuni Buddha.

The kudrung chorten

An equally mind-blowing relic is the kudrung chorten (stupa) in the small temple located in front of the main Paga Gonpa. The chorten is believed to be one of the three stupas of its style and spiritual value that are still standing in the world. It is very powerful and any wish made here is believed to be fulfilled.

This small chapel also has mural painting in fresco style, which is now extinct, as all murals paintings are done on canvas and then pasted on the temple walls. This temple was not destroyed by the big fire of 2012.

Chhu Yenla Gyedhen

About 30 minutes walk from the temple there is the famous Chhu Yenlha Gyedhen, which means “Water of Eight Qualities”, which not only is believed to cure illnesses but also cleanse your bad Karma.

Many monks and masters in the past would come from Punakha and Thimphu dratshang to take the holy bath and stay in Paga for a week.

Getting there

From Chuzom Check post drive towards Phuntsholing and look out for the red signboard on the left. You have to drive past the Paga village and community temple. It is not visible from the highway, or from any point of the feeder road.

A trip to Paga Gonpa would be a perfect Sunday afternoon drive from Thimphu, Paro or Chukha. There are few places for picnic and a wonderful sunset spot.

NB – I plan to return after the reconstruction is over and all relics are put out on public display

(Picture coutesy: BBS)
Paga Village was once along the ancient “highway” to Pasakha from Thimphu.
View towards Dobji Dzong
View towards Dongkala

The Talking Tara of Paro

I don’t know how many times I must have been to Drukgyel Dzong. Countless, I am sure.

Now there is this very unassuming house below the Dzong, pasted on the cliff, and right at the base. An old man could be seen sitting outside this house with a prayer wheel and a rosary, and sometimes he would invite the people to visit the house. He used to say that it was a Drolma Lhakhang (Tara Temple).

I was never impressed by it and I used to give it a pass. Once I even told the man that I was in a hurry and joked that I had no time for his Tara.

Recently, a friend of mine was told by a visiting Tibetan Rimpoche that there is a very sacred Drolma Sung-joen (literally meaning “Tara that spoke”) in Paro – and that too a wish-granting Tara. My friend, a devout practioner, looked for the holy statue high and low, and finally asked our our root lama, Khandro Dorje Phagmo, who directed her to that house.

Story goes that this Tara statue was kept in this house for safekeeping from a temple, which was undergoing some major repairs. When the works were done and the statue was to be taken back and reinstated, the statue is believed to have spoken – saying that it did not intend to leave. The Tara statue thus remained in that farmhouse ever since.

According to our lama, the statue is of White Tara – which is considered to be the epitome of maternal compassion and healing. Many thus refer to her as Ama Jetsun Drolma (Mother Tara). The caretaker says that this Tara also confers wealth and prosperity. And that many merchants in Thimphu and Paro have been secretly worshipping her.

I visited this Talking Tara a few days back. The house has now been upgraded to a nice and cozy temple. Maybe the merchant-devotees sponsored the works. The main altar holds this magnificent Talking Tara. A very beautiful clay image – more beautiful than the one I saw in Singye Dzong. She is flanked by 21 Taras – the different manifestations.

There are also two large statues of Chukchi-Zay (The Eleven Faces Thousand Arms Avalokiteshvara) and tens of other smaller statues of Vajrayana deities and divinities. The altar itself is very beautiful.

It is privately-owned and a young woman is the caretaker, who is seen cleaning and washing the offering bowls, butter lamps and milk cups. “This Drolma is believed to love cow milk,” my friend whispers to me. There is silence and peace. We sat and chanted our prayers. I felt as if I was transported into another realm.

To the right of the main altar, there is a separate chamber of the wrathful Dharma protector, Mahakala (Yeshey Gonpo), where you can get your divinations done by rolling the dice. You must hit 14 for the Mahakala, and 10 for Tara, and 11 for the local king-spirit (Gyelpo). I decided to roll the dice to see if Mother Tara was upset that I walked past her temple all my life.

I took the dice in my right hand, put them on my forehead, closed my eyes, made my mantra, and apologised for ignoring the temple for so long, and promised to visit regularly hereafter. “I didn’t know you were here. My apologies.”

I also wished for something (I cannot disclose it here. It is not Australia visa 😁). Looks like Tara not only accepted my apology but also granted my wish. I threw the perfect number.

I left after making an offering with a request to make prayers for my younger daughter and grandson who have Tara as their birth deity.

Background – The legends of Tara

Tara, which means “star” in Sanskrit, is undisputedly the most popular female divinity in Vajrayana Buddhism. Among my female friends, she is the deity.

There are many legends and myths and stories of the origins of Tara. My favorite is the one that goes something like: Avalokiteshvara, the buddha of compassion, was looking down on the human world and saw the endless and immense sufferings despite his efforts to deliver the salvation. Saddened to the core, two tear drops feel from his two eyes. One tear drop turn to White Tara (Drol-kar) – the Peaceful One, and the other Green Tara (Drol-jang) – the Semi-wrathful.

Other legends tell the story of a devout Buddhist princess that lived aeons ago and who became a Bodhisattva and vowed to be reborn as a female deity and continue to help others. Another myth tells about a bodhisattva-princess who rescues tens of millions lives from suffering for which her name means drolma (One Who Saves).

To get there

Drukgyel Dzong is 15 km from Paro town. After you reach the Dzong parking, leave your car there. The temple is just 50 meters away on the right side of the hill. You can see it from the parking.

Prayer to Mother Tara 

There are few prayers to invoke Mother Tara.

This is my favourite and it is a Prayer to Tara to seek help from the Eight Great Fears. It was composed by my Buddhist master Atiśa Dipankara when he found himself in a sea storm. It is believed that the deity Tara appeared to him and saved him and the ship from sinking.

ཨོཾ། འཇིགས་པ་བརྒྱད་སྐྱོབ་མ་ལ་ཕྱག་འཚལ་ལོ། །

om, jikpa gyékyob ma la chaktsal lo

Oṃ! Homage to you, lady who protects us from the eight fears!

བཀྲ་ཤིས་དཔལ་འབར་མ་ལ་ཕྱག་འཚལ་ལོ། །

tashi palbar ma la chaktsal lo

Homage to you, lady who blazes with the splendour of auspiciousness!

ངན་སོང་སྒོ་འགེགས་མ་ལ་ཕྱག་འཚལ་ལོ། །

ngensong go-gek ma la chaktsal lo

Homage to you, lady who closes the door to lower rebirth!

མཐོ་རིས་ལམ་འདྲེན་མ་ལ་ཕྱག་འཚལ་ལོ། །

tori lamdren ma la chaktsal lo

Homage to you, lady who leads us on the path to higher realms!

རྟག་ཏུ་ཁྱེད་ཀྱིས་སྡོང་གྲོགས་མཛད། །

taktu khyé kyi dongdrok dzé

You are the one who holds us always in your care—our guide, support and friend;

ད་དུང་ཐུགས་རྗེས་བསྐྱབ་ཏུ་གསོལ། །

dadung tukjé kyab tu sol

So protect us still, we pray, with all of your vast compassion!