At Kuenselphodrang in Thimphu today, where His Holiness the Je Khenpo is administering the oral transmission of Kanjyur (Translated words of Buddha), a group of monks and lay monks are editing a set of Kanjyur written in gold.

Sitting on the left side of the tent and facing H H the Je Khenpo, the group of 30 monks and lay monks are writing the missing letters, words and sentences of Shakyamuni Buddha. While working on the project they also listen to the oral transmission.

The one-hundred-volume Kanjyur written in memory of the Third Druk Gyalpo Jigme Dorji Wangchuck is one of the main relics of Tashichhoedzong in Thimphu. The editing work is being undertaken on the royal command and spiritual advice of H H the Je Khenpo, said Letshog Lopen Sangay Dorji.

Using the contemporary writing equipment such as bamboo oen, the team carefully uses their calligraphic skills to write fill the missing letters with pure gold.

Keeping Degye Kanjyur as a reference, the team goes by lines to ensure that not a letter is missed Kanjyur Serdema. The Degye Kanjur, which was printed in Degye in Tibet, has 100 volumes. Each volume contains 400 to 500 pages and each page consists of seven rows of letters.

Depending on the edition, the Kanjyur comprises of no less than 120 volumes. The one that His Holiness is reciting currently was printed in Narthang. It has around 103 volumes. Some were printed in Lhasa.

The Kanjyur, 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 translated since the 7th century during the time of King Songtsen Gampo. Since then, it became the Kanjyur.  “Ka” is word of Buddha and “Jyur” means translation.

As the Kanjyur is considered as the most profound teachings of Buddha, the letters were written using expensive objects like gold, other jewels and sacred leaves.

Since the start of the oral transmission on August 02, H H the Je Khenpo has completed more than 35 volumes of Kanjyur.

The Kanjyur 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 sutra consists 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, analytical part and cosmology, among others.

Dharma patrons and devotees contribute cash and kind for the Kanjyur refining project.

Tenzin Namgyel