Thimphu Tshechu


The Thimphu Tshechu runs for a total of five days in late September or early October depending on the Bhutanese lunar calendar.

Day One Day Two Day Three Day Four


Dance of the four Stags (Shacham)

Guru Rinpoche subdued the God of Wind (also the lord of the North-West Direction) and rode the stag, which was the Mount of the God of Wind.

Costume: The stags are wearing knee length skirts and masks of horned deers. Log ago when Ugyen Rinpoche was in this world, he subdued the king of the Wind who created much unhappiness in this world through his great power by making all sentient beings and the world tremble. Ugen Rinpoche rode the stag when he subdued the earth and he appeased all beings by establishing peace and happiness. As a blessing the first incarnation of Nam Nying (Namkhe Nyingpo) found the effigy of a face of a stag and hence the dance of the white stag came to be. During this dance the gratitude of the pious people is demonstrated to all the beings destined to be converted in the future. After all the agitation of the world have been overcome, happiness and peace will reign supreme.

Dance of the three kinds of Ging with Sticks (Gynging)

This is the visual representation of the Zangtopelri, Paradise of guru Rinpoche as seen by the Terton (Treasure discoverer) Pemalingpa (1450-1521)

Costume: The Ging are wearing knee-length skirts. For the dance with the sticks they are wearing animal masks. For the dance with the swords and with the drums, they are wearing terrifying masks.

The origin of happiness of all beings in the Three Worlds is the religion of Buddha. To propagate this religion in the world, first one must listen to the teachings, then practice thinking and meditating in places of meditation. Any kinds of demons who are creating obstacles to the doctrine, human or non-human, who have no fast powers and bad thoughts, are called Jyungpo Nyulema. There are many means by way of magical formulae to subdue these malevolent spirits. On this subject, the great Treasure Discover Pemalingpa when he went to the Znagtopelri, saw the dance of the Three Kinds of Ging who are emanations of guru Rinpoche. This was the blessing, which explained how to subdue the demons Nyulema by magic. The deep teachings of these dances appeared to Pemalingpa.

Thus, although all the demons Nyulema who are creating obstacles to the religion are fleeing anywhere in the three worlds, the ging with the sticks can find them, thanks to their for-knowledge. They catch them with the hook of compassion, beat them with the stick of wisdom and tie them with the noose of compassion.

The Lords of the cremation grounds bring the box which contains the mind and the body of these demons- Then the Ging with the sword purify the atmosphere from such deeds as robbery, killing or the separation of one’s self from tutelary deity (Yidam), which are caused by the Nyulemas. The ging with the swords send their minds to the paradise of pure consciousness, while they use as sacrificial offerings their body of flesh and blood.

After these demons have been vanquished, the ging with the drums dance with happiness. They beat the drums of religion, which is thus propagated. The dance id performed to bring good luck and wish happiness to all living beings. These dances are considered as blessings and in all the countries they are connected with religious ceremonies. Those who master the practice of the two degrees of meditation must explain the doctrine. Then the visions have been explained, when the merit, which is represented by the devotion for the assembly of the gods, has been attained, and when the Black Demons have been suppressed, the White Gods are victorious and the Doctrine of the Lord Buddha is propagated. So, for all living beings, joy and happiness arise.

Dance of the Heroes (Pacham)

Costume: Knee-length yellow skirt and golden crown (rina). No mask.

They are holding a small bell (Dribu) and a small drum (Damaru)

The great “ Treasure-Discover” Pemalingpa arrived the presence of Ugyen rinpoche, at the summit of the Zangtopelri, in the middle of a marvelous palace of lotus beams, which reflected the wisdom large and deep as the sky, without obstacles. There he was Ugyen Rinpoche, the Lord who leads the beings of the Three Worlds, sitting among his assistants in the center of a limitless mandala, which was made of lines of rainbow beams. In the mandala, the assembly of the sages, of the tutelary deities, of the heroes (Pawos) and the heroines (Khandom Pamo) were dancing in the form of various emanations of the peaceful and terrifying deities. All sorts of dances were performed and all sorts of harmonious melodies which are the sounds of the religion of Great Path (Northern branch of Buddhism) were sung. Among this congregation, the assembly of the peaceful heroes and heroines is the most important. They are as numerous as the moving clouds in order to celebrate the deep and large religion and their function is to lead the beings who died out of the world. This dance of the heroes is to lead the believers of the human world into the presence of Ugyen Rinpoche.

Dance of the Stag and the hounds (Shawa Shachi)

This represents the conversion to Buddhism of the hunter named Gonpo Dorji by the great saint Jetsun Milarepa (1040-1123)

Long ago, Jetsun Milarepa (1040-1123) was deeply meditating in a hermitage called Nyishangkurta on the border between Nepal and Tibet, when he heard a man shouting and a dog barking. He went out of his cave and saw a red-haired stag who was sweating all over his body and trembling with fear. Because of his great compassion, Milarepa sang a religious song and the stag having forgotten his fear lay down on the right of the Lama. Chasing the stag, a red dog arrived running as fast as lightning, and full of fiery wrath. For the dog also, Milarepa sang a religious song immediately he allayed the temper and the passion of the dog. The dog lay down on the left of the Lama and here were both the stag and the dog lying down like mother and son. Following the dog, a hunter called Gonpo Dorji arrived. He was a frightening fierce and strong man, carrying bow and arrows. When he saw Milarepa, the stag and the dog, he wondered if the lama had cast a spell on the stag and the dog he became enraged. He told Milerapa “You protect the stag and the dog, let us see if you can protect yourself from this arrow” and he shot a poisonous arrow. Gonpo dorji’s bow broke into pieces, the string of the bow was cut and the arrow was turned against himself. Gonpo dorji was full of incredulity and Milerapa told him- “Gonpo Dorji, your arrow is returned, now listen to my song”. As Milerapa was singing, a violent regret for whatever action he had done before was born in Gonpo dorji and he confessed his bad deeds. He promised to take an oath not to sin again. He practiced the religion and attained full realization.

This dance is generally performed like a play in two parts. The first part takes place the first day while the second part is on the second day of the Teschu. Usually there are two dogs and not just one like in the above story. The first part is quite comical: the hunter’s servant appears first and jokes with the clowns. Then comes the hunter crowned with leaves and carrying a bow and arrows. He is accompanied by his two dogs. These dancers are wearing knee length yellow skirt and dog masks. The servant jokes very disrespectfully with his master who, before going hunting, must perform some good luck rituals. The priest performs the rituals in a way contrary to the Buddhist tradition, while the atsaras and the servant go on with their jokes.

The second part has more serious and religious tone. Milerapa appears, wearing a long white dress, white hat and holding a pilgrim’s staff. He sings with a soft voice and has his right hand near his ear. The two dogs, the stag and the hunter, one after the other, arrive in Milerapa’s presence and he converts the with his song. The conversion is symbolized by a rope that the dogs and the hunter have to jump. This part exhibits acrobatics among the dancers.

Dance with guitar (Dranyen Cham)

Performed in a cheerful state of mind in order to celebrate the establishment and diffusion of the Drukpa School in Bhutan.

Costume: Elaborate and heavy woolen cloths, traditional felt boots, long black skirts, yellow shirt, brown coat, sword and a circular headdress. One dancer is holding guiter called Dranyen.

Shabdrung Ngawang namgyel, the reincarnation of Ugyen Rinpoche and thugje Chenpos brought under his control the large Southern Land of Four Approaches (the old name of Bhutan) and he blessed it. He protected his subjects like sons by the heavy golden yoke of law. As is he was crushing them under his feet, he conquered many foreign enemies and he was victorious in all directions.

He built marvelous temples and palaces and made beautiful chortens and religious books, supports of the faith. He imposed veru strict rules upon the newly established Monk-body and also upon the Tantric College. He supported the Three jewels the admirable community of the monks who practice together the moral training: to listen, to think, to explain, to understand and to meditate the basic texts which are contained in the three baskets (the Buddhist Canon), essence of Buddha’s doctrine.

The generous donors who give offerings to the gods and gifts to the people believe in the results of their actions. Because of their power in generosity, monks and laymen will be happy in this life and the life to come. This dance of the guitar is performed in a cheerful mood during the festival.


Dance of the Black Hats (Shanag)

This ground purification rite is also performed on the occasions of construction of Dzongs, Temples, and stupas etc. Its aim is to conciliate the malevolent beings of the ground in order to take possession of the site from them.

Costume: Large black hat, felt boots, colorful brocade long grown, no mask.

The black hat dancers assume the appearance o yogis who have the power of killing and recreating life. In order to lead to the field of Buddha, beings who cannot be lead by peaceful means, they subdue these enemies of the doctrine through their external compassionate anger but internally they have an accomplished peaceful mind. They have the appearance of Tantrists who are good to beings through terrifying but really accomplished acts such as killing and expelling bad spirits. The five poisonous enemies, which are the sins, disappear in the sphere of emptiness.

This dance can be also be referred to as “Gar” dance. It is derived from the different traditions of the tantras (text of Northern Buddhism). They say that with the help of the Gods who have meditated deeply upon the mantras (sacred formula), the “gar” which are the gestures of the dancers hands are transformed in to mudras (sacred mystic gestures) and their feet which pound the earth are forming a mandala (mystic geometric figure).

The Black Hat Dancers who perform the ritual for the earth firstly build a mandala and then cut the demons into pieces. Thus they take possession of the earth in order to further protect it and they dance the step of the thunderbolt to impress their power on it. (the thunderbolt step is a particular step in the religious dances)

To draw the mandala they use a practice from the “Tantra without Superior” (it is a text call Lamey Gyu), which is not known in the Hinayana (Small Path of Buddhism). Because these practices are so special the very act of seeing them purifies and dissipates the mass of mental obscurity, which has been accumulated during, ages (Kalpa) and the inner and outer obstacles are pacified. Because of its importance the Shabdrung himself used to perform this ritual.

Dance of the 21 Black Hats with Drums (shana Nga Cham)

In honour of the victory of religion over the enemies, the black Hats beat the drums, the sound of which resounds throughout the three worlds.

Then, when the Black hat Dancers have destroyed the malevolent enemies who persecuted the beings and the Buddhists, they beat the great drums of Buddhism. The sound of the drums represents the religion itself, which cannot be represented in any other way because it has no visible form.

Kyecham (accompaniment dance)

Costume: Knee-length yellow skirts, bare-feet, animal masks, sword in the right hand.

When King Norzang left for the North, the protectors of the religion, guardians of the doctrine and the assembly of the King’s tutelary deities become the armed companions thanks to their various magical powers and they openly accompany him to war.

This is the classical explanation of this dance whence its name. However, there is another explanation, which is closely related to the popular explanation of Phole Mole, the following dance. Kyecham and Phole Mole are interrelated.

The son of an old and a pretty girl got married. They seemed to be a compatible, but during a fight he cut off her nose. First their love was so great that they could not be separated but then they got attracted to somebody else because the mind and body are not constant. That is a universal law, which says that there is no real substance in worldly components.

Many people behave like this and bring upon themselves sufferings in this life and the ones to come.

The cause of happiness is faith in the Buddhist creed knowing that the Three Jewels (Buddha, Religion, and Community of believers) are a refuge, which never fails.

Dance of Noblemen and the Ladies (Phole Mole) and Kyecham (Accompaniment dance)

These are taken from the biography of King Norzang who lived in a Kingdom called Naden in the North of India

Once Upon a time, in a Kingdom called Naden, there was a King of Norzang who had five hundred queens. One day, the son of a hunter received a favour for saving the “life force” (‘sog’) of a serpent deity (‘lu’): he could borrow from this deity the noose, which brings anything. With it he caught the very beautiful daughter of King Driza, called Yidrogma, who was so beautiful that no human girl could compare. He offered her to King Norzang who became passionately attached to her. When the King stopped looking at all the other queens, they could not bear it. So they asked Hari, by black magic caused King Norzang’s father to be disturbed by a dream, which was in the form of a prophecy.

This prophecy said that the father and son had enemies, savage men from the North, and that if they did not find a way of subduing these enemies immediately far away from the Kingdom, it will be too late and the Kingdom would be destroyed. Then, following his father’s command, King Norzang was to leave for the North but his wife Yidrogma was not happy and she begged him to take her with him. The King explained toher in detail that he could not take a woman while going to war in a far country but that in this heart which was attached to her was sad. Yidrogama, as a souvenir, gave him her ring, one of her clothes and the white silk, which covered her head. Then he left for the North and conquered the foreign enemies. Afterwards he returned to his country and defeated all his internal enemies all his internal opponents. Yidrogma who had fled, through her magical power, to her father for fear of being killed, was welcomed back and once again she came to the human world where she lived happily with King Norzang.

This is the classical explanation of the Dance of Phole Mole taken from the biography of King Norzang.

Here is the explanation of what really happens in the dance, which is more of a comical and very crude play than a dance.

The actors are two princes, two princesses, an old couple and the clowns. The two princes are going to war and are leaving the two princesses in the care of the old couple. As soon as they depart the clowns try to frolic with the princesses and corrupt the old woman who is also behaving quite badly. When they return they return the princes are scandalized by the behaviour of the princesses and cut off their noses as a punishment. The old woman also has her nose cut. Then a doctor is called to put the nose back but the old woman stink so much that the doctor has to use a stick because he does not want to approach her. Finally the prices marry the princesses and everybody is reconciled.

Dance of the Drum from Dramitse (Dramitse Ngacham)

Chorten Zangmo, daughter of pemalingpa, was living in the Monsastery of Dramitse in Eastern Bhutan. Her brother, the well-learned lama Kunga Gyeltshen has a vision of Guru Rinpoche and his Paradise, the Dramitse and established the tradition of the dance which depicts his vision.

Costume: Knee-length yellow skirt, animal’s masks. They hold a big drum and a drumstick.

In the 15th century, the daughter of pemalingpa from Bumthang came into this world. This nun called Chorten Zangmo was living in the monastery of Dramitse in Eastern Bhutan. Her brother, the well learned Lama Kunga Gyeltshen not only saw guru rinpoche many times and heard his teachings but also went through the strength of his magical powers to the Zangtopelri heaven where he met Ugyen rinpoche. At that time, the attendants of Ugyen Rinpoche were transformed into one hundred kinds of peaceful and terrifying deities. They took in their left hand a big drum and in their right hand a drumstick and performed a dance.

Kunga gyeltshen witnessed this dance and when he returned to Dramitse and to the human world, he established the tradition of the dance along with the other drum dances which were composed by the ancient Treasure- Discoverers such as Sangye Lingpa and Ugyen Lingpa Kunga Gyeltshen called the particular dance, which has been executed in Dramitse in Eastern Bhutan the, “ Dance of the Drum from Dramitse”.

In the excellent heaven of Zantopelri where the beings have accumulated merits, the dancers are decorated with splendid jewels. Just in seeing this dance, the Black Demons are vanquished and the white gods reign supreme. Men and Gods are happy and they gain Buddhahood, which is the ultimate objective.


Dance of the Lords of Cremation Grounds (Durdag)

They are the protectors of the religion who live in the large cremation grounds situated on the external edges of the Mount Sumeru.

Costume: White short skirts, white boots, white skull masks.

On the external edges of a symbolic mandala where the assembly of the secret tantric deities are residing, there are eight large cremation grounds. Living in these cremation grounds are numerous protectors of the religion (Chhokyong) who are bound by an oath and among them, are the Lords of the Cremation Grounds who protect these areas.

Because of a promise they had accepted before and from which they cannot be diverted even for one instant, these Lords render powerless the assembly of demonic enemies who have violated their oath of not harming the Doctrine. They offer them to the gods of the mandala and they reduce them to a mere name.

These groups of dance are started by different saints of taken from various sources:

Dance of the Terrifying Deities (Tungam)

This dance is performed with the aim of delivering the beings by showing them the Zangtopelri, the paradise of Guru Rinpoche. Here guru Rinpoche takes the form of Dorji Dragpo “Fierce thunderbolt”

Costume: Beautiful brocade dresses, boots and terrifying masks.

This spectacular and dramatic dance has very deep symbolic meaning, namely that a sacrificial murder is performed. First the dancers representing the gods try to enclose the bad spirits in a circle and in a box. Once this is done, the main gods who holds the phurbu, the ritual dagger, kills them. He thus saves the world from them and he delivers them into salvation at the same time. The men and the asuras (demons) who becomes enemies of Buddhism, the source of happiness and benefit, do not have the chance to be converted by peaceful means. Hence, Ugyen Runpoche, who is the emanation of all the Buddhas, took the form of Dorji Dragpo “ fierce Thunderbolt”. By slaying these enemies he liberated them into the superior sphere of bliss. By performing such an incredible feat which resulted in the happiness of human world, he helped increase faith in non-illusionary acts.

Dance of the Heroes with six kinds of ornaments (Guan Drug Pawo)

They are named the heroes with the sic kinds of ornaments because of the fact they are wearing five kings of bone ornaments and they are holding in their hands a small drum and bell (drum and bell are considered as one).

For the purpose of the spectacle, these Heroes arrive dancing in order to be seen by all. As the assembly of the gods of the tantras awake to the sound of their divine drums the gods from their state of indifference. Thus the heroes by the gestures of their bodies and by the sound of their melodies lead the sentient being who are in the wheel of reincarnation along the path of liberation.

Dance of the Judgement of the Dead (Raksha Mangcham)

This is based on the Bardo thoedrol (book of the Dead), a text hidden by Guru rinpoche and rediscovered later by Karma Lingpa (14th century).

When all beings die, they wander in th eBardo (‘Intermediate State’) waiting to be led by the love of the Buddhas into the pure fields where no suffering exists. However, when the Buddhas who assume bith their peaceful and terrifying forms appear to greet them, the men who during their lifetime had no fervent adoration for the Buddhist Doctrine, do not recognize them as Buddhas and are frightened. As the men do not recognize the Buddhas and think they are enemies, they cannot be conducted into the paradise. The Buddhas, however through their various manifestations do not stay indifferent and perform good deeds unto the beings until the cycle of rebirth is complete.

Shinje Chhogyel, Lord of Death, estimates the value of the white and black deeds during the judgement. Also present are the White god and the Black Demon who live with every being from birth, and all the shinje’s helpers who emanate under numerous forms. These are the ox-headed justice minister, the wild hog-headed helper who takes account of the black and white deeds, the khyung-headed bird (the khyung is a mythical bird) who holds a small sword which cuts the root of the three poisons (ignorance, envy anger) and a big hammer which destroys the rocky mountains of sins, the lion-headed helper who holds a lasso which represents love and an iron chain which represents compassion, the fierce bear-headed helper who holds the magical noose which ties the means and wisdom together and saw which cuts selfishness, the serpent-headed helper whose mirror reflects all actions, the monkey-headed helper who weighs them on a scale.

All these helpers are called Rakshas and they separate with equanimity the black actions from the white actions of all beings, just as in the case of he sinner, Nyelwabum and the virtuous Chimdapelkye. The frightening Court of Justic cannot be avoided by the condemned beings. But after enduring certain suffering, their sins are washed away and they are purified. Progressively they are led to the pure fields and paradise. Unfortunately some beings do not understand that everything is the result of their mind, wheather it is pur of impure. The dance shows everyone that if they devot themselves to virtuous actions, they will be sent immediately to the pure fields and paradise. Regarding the different forms of Shinje’s helpers shown in this dance, the beings who are born into the human world where the doctrine of Buddha has been propagated, know that they are the Gods who have taken refuge in Buddhism.

Then after life, when they have to cross the Bardo and meet Shinje’s helpers and the assembly of peaceful and terrifying deities, they recognize them as incarnations of Buddha, they are deliverd from the frightening Barod and go to the pure fields and paradise. The origin of this dance is to be found not only in the Sutras and Tantras, but alos in the books discovered by Karma Lingpa (14th century).

The dance can be described as more of a play than a dance and lasts approximately two hours. Firstly, there is the long dance of all the Raksha who are the helpers of Shinje, the Lord of Death during the judgement. Then shinje himself appears, symbolized by a huge puppet which holds a mirror. The white god and the Black Demon enter the courtyard with him. Shinje sits and all his helpers follow taking up their places in two rows in front of him. Then the judgement begins. First the Black Demon and the main helpers perform a dance. Then the sinner who is dressed in black and wearing a red hat, arrives. He is very frightened and tries to escape but is recaptured each time by the helpers. From his basket, a freshly severed cow’s head is taken, implying that the sinner was responsible for killing it. The judge then weighs his actions. Afterwards the White God sings of the merits of the man, followed by the Black Demon who expounds the sins of the man. Finally a black strip of cloth symbolising the rod to hell, is spread and then the sinner is sent to hell.

This is followed by a general dance after which everyone assumes their former seating positions. Another man arrives. He is clad in white and holds a prayer flag and a ceremonial scarf, which altogether is implicit of his virtues. The same scene as above is re-enacted and at the conclusion a white strip of cloth symbolizing the road to heaven is deployed. Fairies elaborately dressed in brocade and bone-ornament co

me to fetch him. At the last moment, the Black Demon, furious at having lost a being, tries to grab the virtuous man but the White God protects him.


Dance of the Tamshing in Bumthang (Bumthang Tercham)

On the occasion of the consecration of the Tamshing monastery in Bumthang, Pemalingpa built the temple of Lungrub Chholing at Tamshing in Bumthang Valley, and was about to consecrate it; he had a dream one night. Five Tantrist brothers appeared and told him: “We have come from the Land of Sufferings of the 3000 worlds and for the consecration of your temple, Pemalingpa, you must do a dance like this”. After they had performed this dance. Pemalingpa woke up. Because he remembered the dance clearly, he composed it using the work of the text “Phurpa sogi Prtri”. He called this new dance “ The Dance of the Ging of the Tamshing Monastery” and miraculously discovered dance is performed, all the earth demons in the whole country are appeased and the Gods are rejoicing.

Dance of the Ging and Tsholing (Ging Dang Tsholing)

On the occasion of the consecration of the Samye Monastery in Tibet, Guru Rinpoche initiated this dance to show to the people of Tibet the Zangtopelri, his paradise.

Costume: The Tsholing have long colourful dresses and wear terrifying masks. The Ging wear orange skirts, which hang like a skin, terrifying black and orange masks with a flag on top, and are holding a big drum and a drumstick.

The dance depicts the paradise of Ugyen Rinpoche that is the Zangtopelri from where all the incarnations of Ugyen Rinpoche, essence of all the Buddhas, are sent into the Three Worlds. In the middle of a great Palace, which appears by itself, Ugyen rinpoche is seated. On his right the holy men from Tibet and India are seated in a row, and on his left the learned men (pandits) from Tibet and India. In all the intermediate zones are the 108 “ Tresure-Discoverers” (terton) who are his incarnations, and also his twenty-five disciples, including the King of Tibet, Trisongdetsen, who are receiving teaching and instructions. In the center of a rainbow, the assembly of tutelary deities (Yidam), heroes (pawos), and fairies (Khandoms), peaceful and terrifying, as if by magic, sings, dances and spreads from the clouds three kinds of offerings. It is these that grant the realization, ordinary and extra ordinary.

All the protectors of the religion, male and female in their fierce forms are guarding the four outer doors while the four Guardian Kings of the Directions command an army of the eight classes of spirits. These subdue all the demons, enemies such as devilish heretics who are creating obstacles to the doctrine of Buddha. All these wonders have been personally observed by the “Treasure Discoverer”, Pema Lingpa. Besides, long ago in Tibet in order to introduce Buddhism King Trisongdetsen built a large monastery in samye. Ugyen Rinpoche, by showing his magical powers through incarnations, subdued all the demons who were preventing its constructions. Thus he fulfilled the religious commitment of the king.

Theseincarnations are manifested in the ging and Tsholing dance: The inner dance called the Ging is performed by the assembly of heroes (Pawos), tutelary deities and fairies as well as the various terrifying deities, male and female. The outer dance called Tsholing dance is performed by the protectors of the religion, male and female with their retinue of eight classes of spirit.

These dance which brings blessings is performed in order to remove obstacles to the doctrine as well as to bring happiness the sentient beings. When the ging and Tsholing are perfoming this miraculous and agitated dance, they discourage the external demons and they demonstrate clearly their magical powers so as to overcome them.

This dance is clearly a dance of purification before the arrival of Guru Rinpoche. People whistle to chase away the bad spirits and the ging hits everybody on the head with their drumsticks to chase impurity out of the body.

The Tsholing after having destroyed the evil spirits symbolished by an effigy in a black box are chase away by the ging who stays alone and performs a dance of victory by beating their drums.

Dance of the Eight Manifestations of guru Rinpoche (Guru Tshen Gye)

The eight different forms of Guru rinpoche which he had assumed in order to convert different kinds of beings into Buddhism are represented here.

Ugyen Rinpoche is the second Buddha and the incarnation of Avalokiteshvara (Thugje Chenpo), Lord of Compassion. When he was born as the son of a guardian of poultry, he made a vow to guide the beings of the world in general and particularly the people of Sikkim, Bhutan and Tibet. That was why he came to these regions. When Buddha was about to enter Nirvana, he told his disciples a prophecy: “don’t be sad, I will be coming from the West”

Thus he appeared as Ugyen Rinpoche, Master without any attachment of the great teachings.

When the 100,000 fairies of wisdom were begging the Buddhas of the 10 directions to send somebody to guide all beings, this was discussed at length and then all the virtues of their body, speed and mind were summed up in Ugyen Rinpoche. He came in order to guide the beings who live in the age of impurities.

His activities were beyond description. However, here is how he helped the beings of the continent through his eight manifestations:

  • He was born from a blue lotus on the lake of Danakosha in Oddhyana and he was invited to become the son of King Indrabhuti. Then he was called guru Tshokye Dorji “Diamond thunderbolt born from the lake”.
  • He renounced his kingdom and wnet to receive teachings from the master Prabhati in th Maratika cave (Nepal). Then he was called guru Shakya Senge “The Lion of the Shakya clan”
  • After having listened to all the teachings of the Vajrayuana “The diamond Path” and after having fully mastered the sciences of all Indian Pandits, he obtained full realization and was able to see all the gods and tutelary deities (‘Yidam’). Then he was called guru Loden Chogsey “guru who wants to acquire the supreme knowledge”.
  • After his marriage to the daughter to the King of Zahor, he was condemned to be burnt by the king. Through his magical Powers, he turned the pyre into a lake and he converted this particular kingdom to Buddhism. Then he was called guru Padmasambhave “ born from a lotus”
  • When he returned to Oddhyana, the evil chiefs of this country wanted to burn him. But the fire could not burn his body and this was the sign of his realization. So the chiefs offered him the kingdom and its subjects. Then he was called Guru Pema Gyalpo “lotus-King”.
  • When he was preaching in the eight cremation grounds to the fairies (Khandoms), he caught the “life force” of the evil deities and he turned them into protectors of the doctrine. Then he was called Nyma Yeoser “sunbeam”.
  • As five hundred heretic masters were trying to destroy the Doctrine of Buddha, he vanquished them all through the power of his words. He brought down the thunderbolt by his terrific magic formula and they were burnt. He was then called Senge Dradok “ the one who speaks with a lion voice”.
  • When he was Senge Dzong in Kurtoe and at Taktsang in Paro, he was in the form of Dorje Dragpo “Terrigying Thunderbolt”. He subdued all the evil spirits who hindered Buddhism. He blessed them as the guardians of the Doctrine and was then called Guru Dorje Drolo “thunderbolt”.

The fairy who is standing on the right of Guru Rinpoche is Mandarava, the lady of wisdom. Ugyen rinpoche made her his own emanation for the benefit of the beings to be converted in the Kingdom of Zahor.

The fairy who is standing at his left is yeshey Tshogyel. She is a representation  of the goddess of knowledge, mother of all the Buddhas. She helped to establish Buddhism in Tibet for the benefit of all beings.

The SIXTEEN FAIRIES (Rigma chudrug) are sixteen emanations of the same person. They are goddesses of Offerings who are divided into four categories. Each category is again divided into four, which make 16.

This dance brings total happiness. People believe in the manifestations of Ugyen Rinpoche during the dance. A changeless faith in the glorious deeds of Ugyen Rinpoche’s mind, speech and body is born to them.

Religious Song (choeshey)

Performed to commemorate the opening of Tsangpa Jarey (1161-1211), (founder of the Drukpa School) of the gateway for pilgrimages to Tsari Mountain (eastern Tibet_

Costume: Very similar to the Guitar Dance. Elaborate and heavy woolen clothes: long black skirt, yellow shirt, folded brown coat, felt boots, a circular headdress and a sword.

When Tsangpa jarey arrived in Tsari, a frog, which was the guardian deity of the lake of Turquoises, turned itself into a yak and prevented him from going further. When his three religious friends arrived at this place, they asked the best way to remove this obstacle. Tsangpa jarey jumped on the frog, performed a dance and said “if anybody wants to compare himself to me, the son of the glorious Drukpa lineage, let him come”. Then the frog changed itself into a rock but in spite of this, the saint impressed his foot on the rock as if it were mud. Thus the frog was subdued. It offered him his life force and he accepted. Then after establishing the frog as guardian deity of the place, he opened the gateway to pilgrimages. All the believers undertake a pilgrimage to Tsari even now, and just by reaching this place, they obtain perfect happiness.

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