About 390 monks, gomchens and nuns from dratshangs and shedras in Trashigang recited Jigten Wangchuk prayers, which ended yesterday coinciding with the birth anniversary of Zhabdrung.

While the tenth day of the third month of the Bhutanese calendar is observed as Zhabdrung Kuchoe, the death anniversary of Zhabdrung Rinpoche, the birth anniversary falls on the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

An offering of Zhabdrung Dag-nang Kawang (blessing for longevity) was performed along with the recitation to mark the day this year.

Tsugla Lopen Samten Dorji of the Zhung Dratsang presided over the recitation along with the lam neten of Trashigang.

Under the patronage of Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen, Jigten Wangchuk tshogpa, a non-profit organisation first observed the day at Simtokha dzong in 2015.

DHI Chair and tshogpa chairman, Dasho Sangay Khandu, said that Zhabdrung Kuchoe is an annual event across the country but the tshogpa, since its inception in 2011, started observing it on a larger scale.

He said the tshogpa also started to celebrate the birth anniversary of Zhabdrung two years ago given that the day was not popularly observed.

The tshogpa also made proposals to take one of the events, the birth or the death anniversary across the country during the oral transmission of Kanjur at Kuenselphodrang earlier this year.

Trashigang’s lam neten volunteered to host the event first.

The vice president of the tshogpa, Nima Tshering, said that the birth anniversary of Zhabdrung was not celebrated on a large scale before. “We believe the birth anniversary is equally important as the death anniversary which is why we have started to mark the day on a larger scale.”

He said the tshogpa was formed mainly to educate people on the achievements and contributions of Zhabdrung. “Not many of our generation know the important role Zhabdrung played in the unification of the country,” he said. “The reason we want to organise the event all across the country is to make people realise the significance of Zhabdrung.”

Currently, there are about 2,000 general and 33 executive members with the tshogpa. The tshogpa organises four events annually.

Younten Tshedup |  Trashigang