Terton Pema Lingpa day observed

Nim Dorji | Bumthang

The weather was not kind. However, the rain, which gave way to snow and the cold didn’t deter devotees from coming and paying their tribute and respect to great saint, Terton Pema Lingpa, when an official Pema Lingpa Day was observed yesterday. 

Lead by the Home Minister Sherub Gyeltsen, Tsugla Lopen Samten Dorji of Zhung dratshang, representative of Nyingma institution, officials of Bumthang dzongkhag, Chhoedey Lhentshog, monks of Tamshing and Kuenchosum lhakhang and hundreds of devotees gathered at the courtyard of Tamshing monastery, the main seat of Pema Lingpa, to observe the day, which coincided with the 499th commemoration of his death.

The death anniversary of Terton Pema Lingpa had been observed every year on the third day of the first month of the Bhutanese calendar since he passed away in 1521, this year, for the first time, it is being officially observed as Pema Lingpa day.

A press release from the home ministry stated that the day was an occasion to pay respect to Terton Pema Lingpa, and remember his legacies, which continue to shape the cultural, spiritual and political landscape of Bhutan.

A thongdrol of Pema Lingpa was also unfurled to mark the day. Representatives of Bumthang dezhi (four valleys of Bumthang) offered traditional foods and offerings.

According to the press release, the day will set sail the annual festival dedicated to Terton Pema Lingpa, the foremost native Bhutanese religious figure and the country’s cultural hero. 

“The day will be an occasion to pay respect to Terton Pema Lingpa, and remember his legacies, which continue to shape the cultural, spiritual and political landscape of Bhutan,” it stated.

Lyonpo Sherub Gyeltshen said although everybody is aware of Terton Pema Lingpa as one of the most significant figures in the country, the day was not officially observed. “To pay respect and tribute to the great Terton, the day has been observed officially starting today,” he said.

The event is expected to encourage the people of Bhutan and beyond to acknowledge and appreciate the significance and contribution of Pema Lingpa to Bhutan.

The government initiated to mark the day following requests from a few individuals who had done research on Pema Lingpa.

Terton Pema Lingpa was born in Baribrang in Bumthang on the15th day of Tiger Month, iron horse year in 1450 to father Dhendup Zangpo of Somthrang choje and mother Puma Dolma.

He became a Terton or treasure revealer at the age of 27 in 1476. He discovered many treasures across Bhutan and in many parts of Tibet. Besides being a religious visionary, he was also a prolific writer and artist.

He is said to have kept various legacies such as, body, speech and mind legacies, spiritual and family legacies, leadership and economic legacies, cultural and artistic legacies and institutional legacies.

He is among the five great treasure discoverer. He passed away in his seat of Tamshing on the 3rd day of the first month, iron snake year in 1521.

Pema Lingpa left behind an important family line through his sons. One of his sons, Kuenga Wangpo started the choje family of Khochung, which branched off to Dungkar and Bidung. 

Jigme Namgyal, the father of the first king was a scion of Dungkar choje while his mother was a daughter of Tamshing choje. Thus, Bhutan’s royal family is one of the important legacies of Pema Lingpa. 

The Nyingma representative and Shingkhar lam, Ngodrup Dorji expressed his gratitude to the government for officially celebrating the Pema Lingpa day.

Of the many treasures discovers and saints, Pema Lingpa is the one who was born, got the scroll containing instruction to extract treasure at mani goenpa, discovered a first treasure at naringdra, preached his first teaching at dungmithang and passed away at Tamshing monastery.

A book containing prayers composed by the spiritual master was distributed to the devotees in order to help people chant prayers in memory of Terton Pema Lingpa.