Religion: On the hill top of Druk Amitabha in Kathmandu, Nepal sits a giant nunnery spread across more than 50 acres of land.
The Druk Gawa Khilwa nunnery that overlooks the Kathmandu valley is decorated with flags, scarf and banners bearing dragon images, symbolising the Drukpa Kagyu school of Buddhism founded by Tsangpa Garey (1161-1211) in Tibet.
His school came to be known as druk and the followers drukpa after he encountered nine roaring dragons that flew at Nam Phu where he had gone to build a monastery.
The dragon images at the nunnery resemble the nine dragons.
Its in this nunnery where drukpa masters, trulkus and rinpoches from all over the Himalayan belt meet annually to work in the interest of up holding the dragon lineage passed down from maters.
On the evening of January 1, the nunnery glowed with candlelight. The nunnery was surrounded by more than 100,000 candles lit as offering to dedicate the merit of a weeklong Annual Drukpa Council (ADC) programme for the wellbeing of all sentient beings.
Led by His Holiness Gyalwang Drukpa Rinpoche thousands of devotees offered marme moenlam (Butter lamp prayer) for peace and harmony in the world.
Chairman of ADC, His Eminence Gyalwa Dokhampa said the offering of butter lamp in Buddhism is believed to liberate sentient beings from samsara and clears their way to enlightenment.
The butter lamp offering indicates offering of wealth, devotion and faith to the three jewels – Buddha, dharma and sanga with purity.
The council’s main objective is to pass down Buddhist teachings through an unbroken chain of lineage. In Buddhism, teachings are crucial for the continuity and survival of practice and realisation of the nature of mind.
A dialectical debate among khenpos of Tango Buddhist Institute in Bhutan and other Buddhist institutes in India and Nepal was also organised. The dialectical debate enables to understand the essence of spiritual learning and practices.
Lungtenzampa middle secondary students, who performed culture activities, lifted a Jamyang statue as second prize while the first price went to Druk Pema Karpo School in Ladakh. The third prize was awarded to a school in Nepal.
The Bhutanese devotees including members of Tashiyangtse Baza Guru dungdrup committee yesterday offered madala offering to His Holiness Gyalwang Drukpa and contributed Nu 1M as seed money for the ADC.
They also offered traditional wooden dinner set made in Tashiyangtse as an auspicious token to symbolise good relationship between the teacher and his followers.
By Tenzin Namgyel, Kathmandu