Book Review Title: The Sacred Jewel of Bhutan
Book Title: Kyichu Lhakhang
Publisher: Gatshel Publishing
A book that starts with a supplication prayer the ending of which says, “What is written here is offered as nectar to the ears of the faithful ones. Having prayed thus, we hereby offer an explanation of this sacred jewel called Paro Kyicu Lhakhang.”
Therefore, the book researched and edited by Dungchen Sangay Dorji, Supawan Pui Lamsam, Kesang Choden Tashi Wangchuck and Pema Wangdi with magnificent photos contributed by Chotiwat Punnopatham, Chongmas Rajabhandarak and Supawan Pui Lamsam actually tells the history behind the construction of Kyichu Lhakhang at Paro in Bhutan.
Many of us who have read the history of Bhutan know that Kyichu Lhakhang was built by the Tibetan Dharma King Songtsen Gampo in the 7th Century and that is it. Now I come to know that Kyichu Lhakhang is one of the 108 monasteries built in order to subjugate the large supine demoness, upon whose heart the Jokhang in Lhasa fell. Out of the 108 monasteries, two were built in Bhutan; one is Kyichu Lhakhang in Paro and the other one is Jampa Lhakhang in Bumthang. It is believed that all the 108 monasteries were miraculously built in a day by artisans who were emanations of the Dharma King Songtsen Gampo himself.
As you flip through the pages, you will discover why the Dharma King Songtsen Gampo conceived the idea of 108 monasteries and who were the principal people involved in identifying the solutions to ensure the propagation of the Buddha Dharma.
One will also find the historical background of how the Monarchs of the Kingdom of Bhutan were spiritually linked to and guided by many eminent Buddhist masters thereby ensuring the peace and prosperity of the Kingdom and its people including the history behind the famous raven crown worn by the Kings of Bhutan.
It is believed that many Treasures were hidden in Paro Kyichu Lhakhang by the famous 8th century Tantric master Guru Padmasambhawa who introduced Vajrayana Buddhism in the Kingdom of Bhutan including other Himalayan regions such as Nepal, Sikkim, Ladakh and Tibet. Many of these treasures were later discovered by the Treasures Revealers who were the emanations of Guru Rinpoche himself or the emanations of his 25 principal disciples. How, by whom and what are some of the treasures revealed at the Kyichu Lhakhang are clearly detailed out in the book.
One will also find the roles played by many great people in protecting and maintaining the sanctity of the Kyichu Lhakhang, the most important being the true patron of the Dharma Her Majesty The Royal Grandmother Ashi Kesang Choeden Wangchuck, the Dharma King of Bhutan His Majesty The Fourth Druk Gyalpo King Jigme Singye Wangchuck and His Holiness Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche . I quote the editors, “Her Majesty the Royal Grandmother Ashi Kesang Choeden Wangchuck is truly the giver of life and the Goddess of Prosperity, Lakshmi Dipam, for the Kingdom of Bhutan and its people. She has given ceaselessly with unprecedented faith to strengthen and sustain the Dharma and welfare of the people through her innumerable activities. She has touched many lives and inspired others with her grace, magnanimity and wisdom.”
Thus, the book is humbly dedicated to the 85th Birth Anniversary of Her Majesty the Royal Grandmother Ashi Kesang Choeden Wangchuck and for her long life and to celebrate her ‘exemplar brilliance and steadfast commitment to the Kingdom of Bhutan.’ The book is also to celebrate ‘the auspicious occasion of the 50th year of Terton Jigme Lingpa’s most sacred Kagye Yongdu Thukdrub Palchen Dupa Drubchen.’ in Kyichu Guru Lhakhang.
The Book is divided into three parts. Part I of the books takes the readers through four chapters starting from the Conception, Sublime Blessings, The Revelation of Profound Treasures to Bodhisattva Luminaries and Emanations. Part II of the book details about the The Wish Fulfilling Jewel-The Sanctum of Jowo Lhakhang and The Sanctum of Old Guru Lhakhang. Part III of the book talks about the The Precious Gem- The formation and the creation of New Guru Lhakhang, The Sanctum of New Guru Lhakhang, and photos that have been captured from the surrounding and preparation towards the Kagye Yongdu Thukdrub Palchen Dupa Drubchen as well as the scenes from the Drubchen itself. The preface by His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Yangsi Rinpoche Ugyen Tenzin Jigme Lhundrup briefs out the significance of Kyichu Lhakhang and the important roles played by the Dharma Patrons.
The detailed history of Kyichu Lhakhang with magnificent pictures is recorded in this book for posterity. Knowing the significance of Kyichu Lhakhang in connection to the Jokhang in Lhasa and knowing that the Jowo statue at the Kyichu Lhakhang having the same sacredness and blessings as that of the Jowo statue at the Jokhang in Lhasa make it even more valuable for the Bhutanese to appreciate and preserve what we have in hand now-The Sacred Jewel of Bhutan.
The book is recommended for every individual as a sacred treasure in your homes to be liberated from the samsara and to be gifted to your children in the same token. It is also highly recommended as reference in all school libraries. The cost of the book is Nu.3500 and all proceeds from the sale of the book will directly go to Her Majesty the Royal Grandmother Ashi Kesang Choeden Wangchuck’s temple restoration project and her various Dharma activities.
“May all auspicious circumstances occur and wishes be fulfilled for those who come into contact with Kyichu Lhakhang, the Saccred Jewel of Bhutan.”- (pg. 128, Editors.)