Guru Padmasambhava Statue in Lhuntsi

Terton Lerab Lingpa (1856-1926) prophesied, “At one point of time, there will be a war of horses in Kurtoe valley and, to avert this, a statue of Guru Nangsi Zilnoen should be built.” Likewise, Lam Sonam Zangpo, a revered Yogi of Bhutan, emphasized that, to ensure continued prosperity in the world, and Bhutan in particular, a giant statue of Guru Rinpoche should be built in Takila, Lhuentse, in eastern Bhutan.


Ven. Khenpo Karpo Rinpoche

With initiation and funded by Druk Odiyana and conceptually designed by the Ven. Khenpo Karpo Rinpoche the 154ft tall Guru Padmasambhava statue Guru Nangsa Zelnen, was constructed at Takila under Menbi Gewog at lhuentse. The construction was started in March 2008 and was consecrated in 2015.

The Interior

The interior houses a three storey temple, each level from top to the first floor represents ‘Dharmakaya’, ‘Sambhogakaya’ and ‘Nirmanakaya’ of the Buddha respectively. There are statues, wall frescoes and a myriad of icons describing the history, culture, literature, life, and fine arts involving predominantly the teachings and practices of Buddhism. This represents the righteousness and the sanctity of paradise, as well as a means for people to develop a generous, peaceful, and pure heart so that they can accumulate merit, which is believed to be the source of a happy future.

Ground Floor

The Lion Throne measures an area of about 9500 square feet and houses the first floor main temple, Gangza Nyenjud, which can accommodate 650-700 people for religious gatherings and blessings. This main temple of Nirmanakaya Buddha features 7 exquisite major Buddha statues, with the famous Guru Ngadrama (Look Alike) in the middle.

The Guru Ngadrama was built by Padmasambhava himself at the Samye Monastery in Tibet. Unfortunately, the statue was destroyed with merely a single picture preserved. Based on this remaining picture, Ven. Khenpo Karpo Rinpoche built this so far the only duplicate of the famous Guru Ngadrama Statue.

On the right of the Guru Ngadrama are Khenchen Bodhisattva (Shantarakshita), Longchen Rapchampa, and Terton Dudjom Rinpoche. On the left are the Tibetan King Trisong Deutsen, Rigdzin Jigme Lingpa,  and Khenpo Ngakchung.

1st Floor

The Lotus seat houses a smaller temple in the second floor named the Rigzin Dagyud, which represent the Sambhogakaya Buddha featuring Vajrasattva and a mandala of 100 peaceful and wrathful deities, with an area of about 3500 square feet accessible to the terrace.

The terrace serves as a circum-ambulation path (Nang Kor) for devotees and visitors, with a railing on the outer side.

2nd Floor

An internal spiral staircase from within the Lotus Seat on the 1st floor leads upwards to the next floor, Gyalwa Gonju Temple representing Dharmakaya featuring the Five Dhyani Buddhas.

The body of the Guru up to the top will have a series of slabs dividing the giant statue into a series of ascending sanctums which are places of worship or filled with precious Zung, including the relics, sutras, jewels and all kinds of the most precious substances in the world, as well as the hundred thousand four-inch-tall Guru Dewa statues.


The giant statue surrounded by stupas

The giant Guru Statue is surrounded by 8 big Stupas of 43 feet in height marking the four corners of the site and four cardinal directions. Each of the big Stupas’ interior prayer wheel contains billions of mantra of Vajrakilaya, Amitabha, Amitayus, Padmasambhava, Avalokitesvara, Vajrasattva, Dorje Drolod and Sid Dok (the mantra for the prevention of the negative forces) respectively.

In addition to the big 8 Stupas, there are small Stupas built in between forming a circumambience of 108 Stupas. With all these in place the entire complex would symbolically represent the Mandalla (the outer Cosmos) with the Guru in the centre.

The construction of the Stupas evokes the memory of the Buddha and the Dharma activities of Buddha Shakyamuni. It also represents the complete path to enlightenment which results in the enlightened mind of Buddha, the Dharmakaya. The Buddha’s eternal presence is contained in the Stupa.

It is also stated in Ratnakuta Sutra, “The merit generated in paying respect and homage to the stupa is same as worshipping the Buddha himself. The reason for that is because Buddha is the manifestation of the Dharmakaya but Rupakaya.” Therefore, the Stupa is depicted as the Dharmakaya of the Buddha. It represents the Buddha’s mind quality which brings peace, prosperity, good health and long life for all beings in all lifetimes.

Sacred relics

The Vajra of Guru Rinpoche, the most precious relic sealed inside Guru Statue was originally discovered by the great Terton Ratna Lingpa (1403-1479) from Pema Koed (present day Arunachal Pradesh). Statues of Jowo Rig Nga, brought from Lhasa with a 108-eyed dzee, precious relics and treasures were some of the zung installed in the giant statue.

By Tashi P Tsho

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