Tsangpa Gyare, the founder of Drukpa Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism, was born to Gya Zurpo Tsabpey and Marza Darkyi in 1161 near Kule in the Tsang province of southern Tibet. He was considered the manifestation of Avalokiteshvara (a bodhisattva who embodies the compassion of all Buddhas) in human form. Guru Rinpoche foretold his birth thusly:

At the conjoining of three valleys

Which one calls Khule Sarel – the Fissure in the Earth –

An emanation of the Holder of the Jewel will manifest

From the summit of the large rock resembling a cube,

He will embark upon the teaching of the Dharma

Enlightened Buddhist masters leave behind relics when they die. When Buddha Shakyamuni attained parinirvana                            , he left behind many relics which are being worshipped by millions of people today. When Tsangpa Gyare died, 21 self-created image of Avalokiteshvara appeared from his vertebrae. Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal brought one of the relics – Rangjung Kharsapani – to Bhutan when he fled Tibet in 1616. Similarly, when Kuenkhen Pema Karpo, the 4th head of Drukpa Kagyu died, he left behind self-created image of Chakrasamvara.

At the closing of the 6th Annual Drukpa Council in Nepal on December 31, 2014, the bone relic of Khuenkhen Pema Karpo and Marpa Chokyi Lodro’s tooth were displayed for the pilgrims. Chakrasamvara is tutelary deity of Vajrayana Buddhism and it is regarded high among Drukpas.

Kuenkhen Pema Karpo wrote twenty-four volumes of philosophy and Mahamudra or Chagchen of Kagyu lineage. He was one of the highly learned scholars and masters in Drukpa masters.

Khuenkhen Pema Karpo’s bone relic has two arms and two legs without the union of his consort Dorji Phagmo (Vajra yogini).

His Eminence Gyalwa Dokhampa, chairman of ADC, said that such relics are symbols of realisation and accumulation of Buddha’s wisdom mind or englightenment.

The tooth of Marpa Chokyi Lodro is believed to be the self-created image of Thro-Wo Me-tsek, a deity that protects one from diseases caused by defilement.

Thousands of devotees from Bhutan, Nepal, India and Tibet received the blessings from the relics. It is believed that having just a glimpse of these relics will remove all negative karma and liberate people from samsara.

By Tenzin Namgyel, Kathmandu