Dongkarla Goenpa

Build On: 8th century Category: Temple Address Paro

The monastery is located on top of the mountain where one can see both Paro and Wang valley. To reach there one has to physically walk the steep up hill for almost 4 hours to reach. May be due to this hardship people rarely set foot on.

Today it is accessible by vehicle through a rough feeder road. So visiting this important monastery is now easier and one can plan to visit anytime.

The glorious Dongkarla Goempa was established by Tertoen Tshering Dorji(native from Paro ,Tertoen who is considered as a emanation of Vairotsana according to his biography but most author had mentioned Terton Tshering Dorji as a speech incarnation of Terton Pema Lingpa which is wrong neither Terton Tshering Dorji biography mentioned any about his past incarnation as Terton Pema Lingpa nor there is no name of Terton Tshering Dorji in Successive Speech incarnation of Terton Pema Lingpa list but Terton considered Pema Lingpa as his teacher or root Guru.

From Paro under the direct guidance of tantric master Drubwang Rinchen Chodor who is reincarnation of Trulku Paljor Gyeltshen the heart son of Longchen Rabjam the founder of khewang Lhakhang in Phobjikha and Mendrup Geompa. According to the caretaker of Goempa and written literature, Terteon Tshering Dorji grew up as a bad young man by engaging in mischievous act like killing, fishing, hunting and stealing. On one occassion, Tertoen stole a cow and slaughtered it for meat and had unusual experiences. He found a calf about to be born as he opens the carcass. This sight, moved him to tears and decided to follow the religious path which had changed his mind to be a religious practitioner.
After excelling in meditation and religious practice, he was appointed as the tantric master of Medri Goempa and later moved to his new temple Dongkarla, which became primary seat of Tertoen.

While establishing the temple, three female sisters serpent ༼ཀླུ༽ namely, Thinley Om, Dra- nam and Bi-sha Om promised to render thier services to the Tertoen. The elder sister Thinley Om agreed to act like a security guard and guardian of the Goempa. It was belived that even if you take small thing from there, you will be stricken sick.
The second serpent sister assured to discover water to be offered as Yonchap༼ཡོན་ཆབ༽ and for other uses. The youngest sister Bi-sha Om committed to maintain the cleanliness of Goempa and it was narrated that if you populate the surrounding of temple, you will suffer from wound infections.
Three main relics༼ནང་རྟེན༽ of Dongkarla Goempa
1. The statue of Buddha which is discovered by Tertoen Pema Lingpa from Marbar Tsho in Bumthang. It is said to have flown from there to Dongkar la.
2. The second Nang Ten is a Guru Rinpoche’s statue which is believed to have spoken when some people were trying to take it from there to another place– asking them to keep it right where it was.
3. Another main relic is a big bronze bowl༼གཞོངམ༽ that is kept inside the temple. It is believed that when a man was trying to steal this bronze bowl, his hand got stuck on it and he couldn’t take it off. So he had no choice but to cut his hand off and run away. His hand, covered with a black color glove made from hide is still hanging in Goenkhang.

4. Zhabdrung Rinpoches statue
It say that when temple is full of dirt naturally zhabdrung Rinpoches hat or Auzha will fell down from his head.
The monastery also has Guru Rinpoche’s statue which is believed to have spoken when some people were tried to take it from there to another place – asking them to keep it right where it was. Previously the statue was located at Dekiling monastery which was later taken to Dongkala by Dongkala Trulku.
In addition there is also a big bronze bowl that is kept outside the temple.
Legend has it that one night, a long time ago, a thief tried to steal a bronze vessel from the lhakhang.

The thief has picked the vessel at midnight, but he couldn't carry it very far. It is believed that the thief had been circumambulating a chorten below the lhakhang for the whole night but was under the impression that he had got away with the vessel.
As dawn broke he realised that he was still near the lhakhang and fearing that somebody would notice him he tried to drop the vessel.
But his right hand was stuck on the vessel and when he heard the caretaker wake up, he severed his hand.

The vessel was recovered from below the chorten and the severed hand kept in the lhakhang. Today the hand has become a part of the lhakhang's relics. It is wrapped in leather and kept in the goenkhang (inner chapel) of the lhakhang.

Villagers also say that a Phurb (cup) stolen from the monastery one night had miraculously returned to the lhakhang the next morning.
It is believed that a thief can never be successful in stealing anything from the monastery.
People fear and respect the guardian deity and is believed that even if you take a small piece of something from there, you will be stricken sick.
Bhutanese boedra song was also composed based on the location of the temple.
-History of Bhutan by Dr. Karma Phuntsho
-Oral account and narration by caretaker of Goempa.
-Druk ge Ney , FB

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