Tamshing Monastery, Bumthang

It is a major Nyingma Lhakhang built-in central Bhutan. It is located at an elevation of approximately 2500m/8200ft above sea level. It is half an hour’s walk from the Kurjey Lhakhang. It was founded at Tamshing village by Terton Pema Lingpa in 1501 and completed in 1505. It was originally known as Tamshing Lhendup Chholing he built the monastery with the help of Dakinis.


The existence of the temple has a very captivating story behind it. Pema Lingpa was looking for a place to build a temple and he reached the current location, where there is Tamshing Lhakhang. He halts night there and he found in the morning that the landmark has been created by wild boar. He took this as a good omen and start building a temple with that landmark. Therefore, one can see the base of Tamshing Lhakhang is out of shape.


Pema Lingpa died at the age of seventy-two in 1521 at Tamshing Lhakhang and the Lhakhang has been taken care of by his descendant. From 1960, some monks from Lhalung in Tibet, who followed the Peling tradition came and established a learning center at Tamshing. It is one of the unique temples constructed by Pema Lingpa in Bhutan.

The entrance to Lhakhang, there is Mani dhungkhor Lhakhang built-in 1914 to hold a huge prayer flag. There are paintings of four cardinal directions king. However, the paintings have faded, one can hardly recognize. The temple is two-storied with a short balcony on the upper floor. It is believed that Pema Lingpa was a short man and that the balcony ceiling was designed at its exact height. The structure inside has been built specially that that one has to enter and make around inside to exit.


The main Lhakhang inside has an unusual design, with the key lord house. There are three thrones for three incarnations of Pema Lingpa. There is another statue in the inner shrine with Guru Rinpoche flanked by Buddha Maitreya and Sakyamuni. It was sculpted by dakinis. The guru statue has its eye slightly looking upward following dakinis in their flight. It was said that dakinis were so lost in the sculpted of the statue and lost the essence of time. As dawn broke they rushed back to heaven and thus, guru looked up.

It also houses the great treasure iron suit or chain in the temple. On the upper floor, a balcony built by Pema Lingpa house the old religious paintings and various masked carved by Pema Lingpa which are restricted to visitors. There is also the statue of Tsepadme. The main highlight of the temple is the foundation of the landmark by wild boar. The second interesting highlight is the guru statue slightly looking upward.


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