Gyaltshab graces unfurling of World’s First Dudgom Thongdrel

Tashi Wangmo

Coinciding with the Zhabdrung Kuchoe on May 5, 2017, the world’s first Dudjom Thongdrel was unfurled at Ugyen Dongag Chokhorling, known as Yongphula Lhakhang, in Trashigang. It was graced by His Majesty’s representative in the East, Gyaltshab Jigme Dorji Wangchuck and Her Royal Highness, Yeatso Lhamo.
Thousands of people from in and around Yongphula had come for the occasion. Lama Jigme Tenzin, from the Lhakhang said that the construction and unfurling of the Thongdrel is fulfillment of one of his core wishes. “I had thought about it for a very long time. But I could not do anything,” Lama said, adding that the presence of Gyaltshab and Her Royal Highness, has further blessed the Thongdrel. “We are all blessed. Several people, starting from villagers to the rich contributed for the Thongdrel. I thank them in making me achieve one of my unfinished works,” Lama said, adding that the Thongdrel is for the peace and prosperity of the nation.
Kanglung Gup Kinzang Dorji, who is also the Thrizin of Trashigang, told The Journalist that the Thongdrel is a very sacred asset of the nation. “It contains prayers for the nation’s peace and prosperity and on behalf of the people of Kanglung and Yongphula, I express my gratitude to all who contributed in different ways to make the Thongdrel realty,” he said.
Initiated by Lama Jigme Tenzin, the son of Lama Karpo and support from the Minister of Education (MoE), Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk, the making of the Thongdrel took about six months. The total cost was Nu 3.3 million. The 33/53 foot silk Thongdrel consists of 20 reincarnations of His Holiness (H.H) Dudjom Rinpoche from Nuden Dorje Chang until H.H Dudjom Jigdrel Yeshe Dorje (1904-1917). During the time of Buddha Pranidhanaraja, H.H Dudjom Rinpoche was the Nuden Dorje Chang, the treasure reveler of the 20th century.
Meanwhile, Education Minister Norbu Wangchuck, who was at the event wrote on the social media that it was a historic day at Younphula Lhakhang, as the world’s largest Duejum Thongdrel was unfurled on May 4, 2017 coinciding with Zhabdrung Kuchoe. “The Theongdrel is dedicated with prayers for wisdom, power and compassion for our beloved Gyalsey. The Throngdrel was the most cherished dream of Youngphula Lam Jigme Tenzin. Every year during the annual Tendra Tshechu, the Thongdrel will be unveiled once for general public. Feel honoured and blessed to be at the historic maiden unfurling of the scared Thongdrel. HRH the Gyaltshab graced the historic event,” the Minister wrote.
On April 6, 2017, the Thongdrel was taken from Thimphu to the Ugyen Dongag Chokhorling Monastery in Yongphula, Trashigang. Apart from being the first and biggest Thongdrel (Thongdrel Chen mo), it is the first of its kind in the entire Himalayan region where Vajranaya Buddhism has taken a root since the 8th century.
Younphula Lhakhang was chosen because Ugyen Dongag Chokhorling is the first monastic institution in the country to have established the Dudjom tradition in the late 1950s by late Lam Karpo (Tshewang Penjor), also called as Dudjom Tersar (the new treasure). It is said that late Lama Karpo was instructed by his root guru, Dudjom Rinpoche to build a Thongdrel of the type.
In an earlier interview, Tenzin, a laymonk from the monastery, who had come to take the Thongdrel said that the Thongdrel will lead to peace and prosperity in the country.
“The prayers for His Majesty the King, His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gylapo, His Royal Highness the Gyalsey, Her Majesty the Gyaltsuen, and members of the royal family are embedded in the Thongdrel,” he had said.
“For several years, Lama has been talking about this and concerned that he may not be able to do it. Now it is completed,” he said.

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