Shingkhar Dechenling Lhakhangs

Build On: 1350 Category: Temple Address Bumthang

According to the prophecy, Omniscint Longchen Rabjam (1308-1363) visited Bhutan in 1350s and, established the eight Lings; 1-Kurtoed Kunzangling 2-Shingkhar Dechenling 3-Tang Ogyen Choeling 4-Bumthang Tharpaling 5-Shar Kunzangling 6-Khothang Rinchenling 7-Ngenlung Drechagling 8-Paro Samtenling. He propagated the sublime teachings of the Heart Essence from the cycle of Dzogpachenpo.

Dechenling lies in the valley of Shingkhar 8km from Bumthang-Monggar old highway. As you drive past Thonglayla the hidden valley of Shingkhar reveals itself in all its beauty.

Longchenpa’s great grandson, Tsezang Thaye Drakpa, came to Shingkhar and built a small temple to enshrine the sacred throne of his grandfather and became the 1st Shingkhar Lama. During the time of 2nd Shingkhar Lama Jaboedma, Terton Leythrolingpa came to Dechenling on his way to visit Pemalingpa. Lama Jaboedma himself was a disciple of Pemalingpa. Trulku Chogden Gonpo, emanation of Terton Dorjilingpa, offered the statue of Buddha hand crafted by himself as recognition of the importance of the place. At present Dechenling Lhakhang has two stories housing a main shrine on each floor and three protector shrines. It also house all the deities of Peling Chador Tumpo made from clay…..only one of its kind in the country. Shingkhar Rabney, the annual festival is celebrated in the winter for six days. Its main attractions besides the display of relics are the dances of protector deities; Rahula, Lhamo, Gonpo and Chochong (Yakcham). Devotees come from around the country to witness the festival and also to seek help in curing themselves of paralysis. The Zaa chu from the temples are said to be very effective. Up till 1600s the village of Shingkhar was further away to the south of the present one then known as Rinchengang. The ruins of the houses with the same names are still visible. (The self-written biography of Terton Lethrolingpa mentions the presence of only a small temple.)

Above the village on a beautiful hillock is Drubri Rinchen Jungney. This is the place where Longchenpa stayed in retreat while he taught in the valley below. It has a magnificent two storied statue of Guru Rinpoche and life size statues of Longchenpa and Jigmlingpa besides others. The newly built Kudung on the top floor is unique. The temple will soon have a thousand vajrasattava statues on its second floor.

The village is well guarded by three local deities; Norlha Wangchuk alis Wazibrag Pholha on the north, Yangmojen Pholha on the east and Ludued Benabadra on the south. Norlha Wangchuk is supposed to have accompanied Longchenpa as his yak-man and later chose to take abode in Wazibrag, a beautiful cliff. As a gratitude for protecting the village, villagers led by the Lama perform prayers in praise of the deity in its abode on the 8th day of the 5th lunar month every year.

-- Longchenpa Centre

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