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Coinciding with the conclusion of Kangyur oral transmission at Kuenselphodrang in Thimphu yesterday, His Holiness the Je Khenpo consecrated Kangyur Serdrema or words of Buddha written in gold.

Rewriting of the 109-volume Kangyur Serdrema began on August 2.

Of the 109 volumes, 58 are what had remained from the project initiated by the 6th Druk Desi Ngawang Tshering (1701 to 1704).

Rewriting of the 109-volume Kangyur Serdrema began on August 2

Rewriting of the 109-volume Kangyur Serdrema began on August 2

Lam Kuenley of Dewathang, who coordinated the project, said that a complete set of Kangyur written in gold during the time of the 6th Druk Desi was burnt when a fire destroyed Dechenphodrang monastery in Thimphu. ‘Only 58 volumes could be retrieved.’

Then, Dechenphodrang monastery was the main seat of the central monastic body.

Fifty-one volumes of Kangyur were written in gold under the command of His Majesty the third Druk Gyalpo Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. Along with the Kangyur, 229 volumes of Tenjur (commentaries of Buddha) were also written in gold.

Lam Kuenley said that His Majesty the third Druk Gyalpo initiated the project for the well-being and prosperity of the country and the people.

Degye, Nangthang and Jang Kangyur where referred to ensure the every word and sentence was correct.

The Degye, Nangthang and Jang are places in Tibet where Kangyur was printed. The Degye Kangyur has 100 volumes. Each volume contains about 500 pages and each page consists of seven rows of letters.

Depending on the edition, the Kangyur comprises of no less than 120 volumes. The one that was rewritten in Kuenselphodrang was printed in Narthang. It has around 103 volumes.

Led by Tsugla Lopon Samten Dorji and Letshok Lopon Sangay Dorji of Zhungdratsang, more than 30 monks, including lam netens, khenpos, lopons from retreat centres and monasteries, students from Tango University and Kanglung Shedra, and experienced lopen from Gomdeys and Goendeys undertook the editing work.

Using the contemporary writing equipment such as bamboo pen, the team employed their calligraphic skills to fill the missing letters, words and sentences with pure gold.

The editing work was undertaken upon royal command and spiritual advice of HH the Je Khenpo.

Many people contributed gold, cash, and clothes (namza) for the project. Lam Kuenley said whatever has remained would be used to refine Tenjur.

The Kangyur, considered the most precious and profound teachings, is the translated words of Shakyamuni Buddha. It includes the entire 84,000 different teachings that Shakyamuni Buddha gave to his disciples, including those in the naga (Lu) and god realms.

In Tibet, Gyalwai Ka (words of Buddha) was first translated in the 7th century during the time of King Songtsen Gampo. Since then, it became the Kanjyur.  “Ka” is word of Buddha. “Gyur” means translation.

The Kangyur consists of three major sections of which one is vinaya, a set of disciplines that monks ought to follow. According to vinaya, a fully-ordained monk should practise 250 disciplines.

The sutras consist of transcendent perfection wisdom. One of the sutras of perfection wisdom is Prajnaparamita, which deals with emptiness.

The third major component is Abhidharma, which deals with reasoning, analysis and cosmology, among others.

Tenzin Namgyel

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