Thowadra Monastery

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Thowadra Monastery is a cliffside Tibetan Buddhist monastery in the Tang Valley of Bumthang District, Bhutan. Thowadra means "high rock", given its location and altitude of 3,400 metres (11,200 ft).

Gompa Buddhist monastery

Gompas, Gönpas, or Gumbas, also known as ling, are Buddhist ecclesiastical fortifications of learning, lineage and sādhanā that may be understood as a conflation of a fortification, a vihara and a university associated with Tibetan Buddhism and thus common in historical Tibetan regions including parts of China, India, Nepal, Ladakh and Bhutan. Bhutanese dzong architecture is a subset of traditional gompa design. A gompa is a meditation room where practitioners meditate and listen to teachings.

Bumthang District district in Central Bhutan

Bumthang District is one of the 20 dzongkhag (districts) comprising Bhutan. It is the most historic dzongkhag if the number of ancient temples and sacred sites is counted. Bumthang consists of the four mountain valleys of Ura, Chumey, Tang and Choekhor ("Bumthang"), although occasionally the entire district is referred to as Bumthang valley.

Bhutan Landlocked kingdom in Eastern Himalayas

Bhutan, officially the Kingdom of Bhutan, is a landlocked country in South Asia. Located in the Eastern Himalayas, it is bordered by the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China in the north, the Sikkim state of India and the Chumbi Valley of Tibet in the west, the Arunachal Pradesh state of India in the east, and the states of Assam and West Bengal in the south. Bhutan is geopolitically in South Asia and is the region's second least populous nation after the Maldives. Thimphu is its capital and largest city, while Phuntsholing is its financial center.

Contents

History

The site was blessed by Padmasambhava, who came here to meditate during the 8th century. He is said to have left behind a wooden bird which he used to expel an evil king from the beyul "hidden land" of Khenpajong. The monastery itself was founded in 1238 by Lorepa (1187-1250), the lama of the Drukpa Lineage of the Kagyu school who established Choedrak Monastery.

Padmasambhava 8th-century Buddhist Lama

Padmasambhava, also known as Guru Rinpoche, was an 8th-century Buddhist master from the Indian subcontinent. Although there was a historical Padmasambhava, little is known of him apart from helping the construction of the first Buddhist monastery in Tibet at Samye, at the behest of Trisong Detsen, and shortly thereafter leaving Tibet due to court intrigues.

Beyul

According to the beliefs of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism, Beyul are hidden valleys often encompassing hundreds of square kilometers, which Padmasambhava blessed as refuges. Tertöns may reveal them from terma at specific and appropriate times. Their locations were kept on scrolls hidden under rocks and inside caves, monasteries and stupas. They are places where physical and spiritual worlds overlap and Tantric practice effectiveness increases with multiple perception dimensions.

Drukpa Lineage Drukpa Kargyud Rinpoches

The Drukpa Lineage, or simply Drukpa, sometimes called either Dugpa or "Red Hat sect" in older sources, is a branch of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism. The Kagyu school is one of the Sarma or "New Translations" schools of Tibetan Buddhism.

The site was originally a hermitage, once sanctified by the presence of both Longchenpa and Dorje Lingpa. [1] A Nyingma community was established later in the 18th century by Changchub Gyeltsen (Jigme Kundrel), a disciple of Dzogchen master Jigme Lingpa (1730-1798). A noted nun plagued with leprosy, Gelongma Pelmo, also meditated here. [2]

Longchen Rabjampa, Drimé Özer, commonly abbreviated to Longchenpa (1308–1364), was a major teacher in the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism. Along with Sakya Pandita and Je Tsongkhapa, he is commonly recognized as one of the three main manifestations of Manjushri to have taught in Central Tibet. His major work is the Seven Treasuries, which encapsulates the previous 600 years of Buddhist thought in Tibet. Longchenpa was a critical link in the exoteric and esoteric transmission of the Dzogchen teachings. He was abbot of Samye, one of Tibet's most important monasteries and the first Buddhist monastery established in the Himalaya, but spent most of his life travelling or in retreat.

Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism

The Nyingma tradition is the oldest of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism. "Nyingma" literally means "ancient," and is often referred to as Ngangyur because it is founded on the first translations of Buddhist scriptures from Sanskrit into Old Tibetan in the eighth century. The Tibetan alphabet and grammar was created for this endeavour.

Dzogchen System of teachings central to Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism and Bon traditions

Dzogchen or "Great Perfection", Sanskrit: अतियोग, is a tradition of teachings in Tibetan Buddhism aimed at discovering and continuing in the natural primordial state of being. It is a central teaching of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism and of Bon. In these traditions, Dzogchen is the highest and most definitive path of the nine vehicles to liberation.

Since the 18th century it has been occupied by followers of Jigme Lingpa, who was one of the most important tertöns of Tibet, and Jigme Kundrol of the Longchen Nyingthig tradition. Thowadra marks the entrance to Khenpajong east of Lhedam in north Bumthang and Lhuntse Districts. [3]

Tertön is a term within Tibetan Buddhism. It means a person who is a discoverer of ancient hidden texts or terma. Many tertöns are considered to be incarnations of the twenty five main disciples of Padmasambhava. A vast system of transmission lineages developed. Nyingma scriptures were updated by terma discoveries, and terma teachings have guided many Buddhist and Bon practitioners.

Tibet Plateau region in Asia

Tibet is a region covering much of the Tibetan Plateau in modern-day China. It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as some other ethnic groups such as Monpa, Tamang, Qiang, Sherpa, and Lhoba peoples and is now also inhabited by considerable numbers of Han Chinese and Hui people. Tibet is the highest region on Earth, with an average elevation of 5,000 m (16,000 ft). The highest elevation in Tibet is Mount Everest, Earth's highest mountain, rising 8,848 m (29,029 ft) above sea level.

Longchen Nyingthig

Longchen Nyingthig is a terma, revealed scripture, of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism, which gives a systematic explanation of Dzogchen. It was revealed by Jigme Lingpa (1730-1798).

Footnotes

  1. Dorje (1999), p. 861.
  2. Pommaret (2006), p. 252.
  3. Dorje (1999), p. 861.

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References

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Coordinates: 27°38′56″N90°53′44″E / 27.64889°N 90.89556°E / 27.64889; 90.89556

Geographic coordinate system Coordinate system

A geographic coordinate system is a coordinate system that enables every location on Earth to be specified by a set of numbers, letters or symbols. The coordinates are often chosen such that one of the numbers represents a vertical position and two or three of the numbers represent a horizontal position; alternatively, a geographic position may be expressed in a combined three-dimensional Cartesian vector. A common choice of coordinates is latitude, longitude and elevation. To specify a location on a plane requires a map projection.