The annual Kagongphursum Drupchen that is held at the memorial choeten in Thimphu ends today.

The monks from the central monastic body perform Gondgu Drupchen on top floor of the choeten, retreatnants (tsampas) of Thadra retreat centre perform Kagye Drupchen on second floor, and tsampas of Sangdag Goenpa in Bartsam, Trashigang perform Vajrakilaya Drupchen on the ground floor.

Drupchen is a form of an intensive practice that epitomises depth, power and precision of the Vajrayana Buddhism, drawing together the entire range of skilful methods, mystical, ritual, and artistic including the creation of the mandala of tutelary deities (yidam).

During the two-week drupchen, the performers also do a complete sadhana practice with visualisation, mudra, chant, music, and dances.

Since the main relics of the memorial choeten are Gongdu, Kagye and Vajrakilaya, the drupchen is performed annually to seek blessings from the deities for peace and harmony in the country.


Gongdu is the united intent of Guru Rinpoche’s cycle of practices revealed as a terma (treasure) by Terton Sangay Lingpa (1340-1396), which is one of the important cycles of Dzongchen tradition.

Originally redacted in 13 volumes, the teachings that was published in 1981 in the country has today 18 volumes. Gongdu has thirteen deities.

The Gongdu teaching was popular during the time of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa and Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche.


Kagye refers to set of eight teachings on mahayoga. It is the teachings emphasising on the clarity and precision of visualisation as skilful means in Dzongchen tradition.

Dorji Lopen Sonam Zangpo of Sangdak Goenpa in Bartsam said that the Gongdu cycle has set of eight yidam deities, each possessing unique qualities to remove obstacles on the path of enlightenment.

The eight deities within Kagye mandala are Chemchok at the centre, Yangdak Heruka in east, Yamantaka in south, Hayagriva in west, Vajrakilaya in north, Mamo Botong in south east, lama Rigdzen in south west, Drekpa Kundul in north west, and Topden Nakpo in north east.

Chemchok, the deity embodying enlightened qualities, is an emanation of Samantabhadra or Kutuzangpo, the primordial Buddha, which is the absolute nature of mind.

Each of the eight deities has khor or accompanying deities, making a total of 725 deities. Among the eight principal deities of Kagye, there are five wisdom deities who represent the enlightened body, speech and mind, qualities and activity.

It is believed that Guru Rinpoche gave Kagye teachings to his twenty-five disciples in Samye Chimphu caves in Tibet. Among them, eight disciples showed significant signs of accomplishment in the practice related to one of the kagye deities.

One of them was Yeshe Tsogyal, who showed accomplishment signs of Vajrakililaya deity and later did this practice at Singye Dzong in Lhuntse.

The Kagye Drupchen at the memorial choeten are the teachings that His Holiness Dudjom Jigdral Yeshe Dorje complied.


Vajrakilaya or Phurpa is the wrathful yidam deity who embodies the enlightened activity of all the Buddhas.

The Vajrakilaya practice is considered as the most powerful teachings for removing obstacles, destroying the forces hostile to compassion and purifying the spiritual pollution prevalent in this degenerated times.

Phurpa Drupchen is based on terma revealed by Dudjom Lingpa, which is called Phurpa Namchak Pudri or the Meteoric Iron Razor.

Dudjom Lingpa, the predecessor of His Holiness Dudjom Jigdral Yeshe Dorje, revealed this terma from a cliff at Sermed Ngala Tak-tse village in Kham valley in Tibet in 1982.

Phurpa Namchak Pudri, which was revealed as Sater (earth-terma) in the form of dakini script or khandro Dayig is among the twenty volumes of his termas, including Gongter (mind-terma) and Sater.

The essence of this teachings is the purely aware primordial wisdom phurpa which is particularly developed in the Dzongchen section, the compassion emanation phurpa enlarged upon in the ritual manual and its long commentary, the secret bodhichitta phurpa, which addresses at length the section on the yoga of tsa-lung, the subtle channels and energies, and the symbolic material phurpa that is directed towards the liberation of hostile forces and obstacles.

Vajrakilaya has more than 130 deities, including two consorts, of which one is in union with the main deity and another hidden.

Dorji Lopen Sonam Zangpo said that Drupchen is creation of the transcendent environment of the pure realm of the deities and the pure perception of this world as a scared realm.

It is believed that a several days of Drupchen has equal merit to that of many years in retreat because of its power to transform bad deeds into good this degenerated age. If possible, only yogis and yoginis who have number of experience in meditation take part in Drupchen.

Coinciding with the consecration of the memorial choeten in 1974, the Kagongphursum Drupchen was introduced by His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche, who was also the main architect of the choeten.

The following year, led by lam Longdrel of Jangsar Goenpa, tsampas and gomchens of Jangsar Goenpa performed the Drupchen. Later Yonphula Rinpoche also performed the Drupchen. Since then, it has become the annual programme.

Tenzin Namgyel