Location and environments

Dolung Goemba Lhakhang, preched on the lush blue pine highland of khothang Delay Sum popularly known as sha Khotokha, is the summber home of the people of Bjena and Rubesa gewogs and winter habitat of the Black necked cranes. Sounds so far away but this sacred seat, located at an altitude of 2770 meters and under the jurisdiction of Bjena gewog, Wangduephodrang Dzongkhag, is only four hours drive from Thimphu.

Dolung Goemba with its regal pose surrounded by religious sites offer fascinating view of the villages of Khoda Delay sum in the plains below and the abode of sha Radrap, the guardian deity of the people of sha. High obove, in the vicinity are many other places of pilgrimage such as the Rinchenling Shedra(Buddhist institute) which was built on the sacrosanct site of one of the eight vast lands where the great master Longche Rabjam established religious centers in the 14th century. Drubchhu of Yen Lag Geden, Drubchhu of sa Karpo established by kuenkhen Sonam Yoedzer, Drubchhu of Dakini and the religious site of Dechen Draphu are other power places of Pilgrimage.

Significance of the name Dolung

The name Dolung comprise two words which are “Do” which means stone and “Lung” which means handle. It therefore means stone with a handle, which is one of the relics of Dolung Goemba. The Goeba was named Dolung after Khuenkhen Sonam yoedser found a stone with handle during the foundation laying ceremony.

A glimpse into the antiquity

Blessed by Yongzin Ngag Gi Wangchuk, son of Pel Ngawang Chhogyal in the 16th century and established by his Holiness Kuenkhen Sonam Yoedzer,the  2nd  Je khenpo  in the  17th  century , the Goemba was the meditation hub of the monastic body and many spiritual leaders. The sacredness of the Goemba  was further elevated when Kuenkhen Sonam Yoedzer, who also served as the chila, Aboot of the meditation seat, revealed numerous miracles.

Dolung Goemba was one of the four most important lhakhangs of Bhutan which was headed by prominent abbots. In the past, there was a tradition where the chila of Dolung Goemba was appointed as the Dorji Lopen of the central monastic Body (Zhung Drathang) and eventually enthroned as Je Khenpo. For instance, HH Ngawang thinly,the 7th Je Khenpo was the 4th abbot  and HH Gawa Shacha Rinchen, the 9th  Je Khenpo was the 5th abbot of Dolung Goemba.

Dolung Mani, the emblements ritual

Blessed by many successive great spiritual masters, Dolung Goemba has been the nucleus of the religious activities and source of religious inspiration for the monks and lay people alike.

The two day annual Dolung Mani which is held in July in the main religious festivals that brings the people of Bjena and Rubesa gewog together. One of the attractions of the festival is the dance of Dolung Raksha( the Ox Head Mask Dance of Dolung). This dance is also perform every year during the tshechu of wangduephdrang Dzong. The Ox head Mask Dance which was discovered as “Ter”(treasure)  by jamyang Ngawang Gyeltshen in  the 18th century is one of the main relics of Dolung Goemba.

Relics

Of the many relics, the popular ones are status of the past present and future Buddha, Deshed Choeten Gyed ( the Eight types of stupas that marks the eight deeds of the Buddha), statues of theEight manifestation of guru Rinpochhe,statues of the  thousand arms and thousands eyes Buddha of compassion(Chenrizig Chag Tong Chen Tong), the Ox head  mask (Raksha), the Stone with Handle(Dolung), Kanjur and Tenjur( commentaries on the teachings of the Buddha).

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