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Paro: Phudru Pema Yoeling Lhakhang
The home and cultural affairs minister, Lyonpo Minjur Dorji, joined the people of the four villages of Dogar gewog in Paro 14 May 2010 to consecrate Phudru Pema Yoeling shedra's renovated lhakhang in Dawakha.

The Nayphu truelku, his eminence Chabje Ngawang Sherab Chokyi Nima, the main sentinel and guardian of the goempa during the previous incarnation, presided over the consecration ceremony.

Phudru shedra, which is of the Peling sect of Buddhism, has about 30 monks, including two lopens, and is managed under the espousal of Her Majesty the royal grandmother Kezang Choeden Wangchuck.

"We are grateful to Gyalyum for sponsoring not only food and clothing for the students of the shedra (college), but also for initiating the renovation of the lhakhang," said khenpo Sonam Zangpo, the shedra principal and one of the two lopens of the shedra. "This lhakhang houses invaluable nangtens (inner relics), some of which belonged to Guru Rinpoche himself," he said.

The renovation was initiated in 2007, with a seed capital of about Nu 1 million contributed by Gyalyum. It was topped up by contributions from the people, according to the shedra principal.

About 60 households of Dogar gewog contributed 40 days paid labour.

"Today is certainly a moment to celebrate," said Changlo, Mangiap of Dogar gewog, as a jubilant group of villagers dressed in their best danced and sang their favourite songs, which drowned the sounds of drums, cymbals and horns coming through a loudspeaker from inside the lhakhang.

According to the Mangiap, the people of Dogar bring their newborns to the goenpa for names, and their sick to be cured. Every year on the 15th day of the 10th month of the Bhutanese calendar, a soelkha is performed, when it is mandatory for all people, including civil servants, corporate or private employees from the villages, but residing at different locations of their employment, to attend.

"According to Lhoyee Choyjung, a book on the history of genesis and evolution of Buddhism in Bhutan, the goenpa was first found and established by a lama known as Tshang Khenchen Jamyang Palden Jamtsho," said the shedra principal. "However, elderly people trace and attribute the foundation of the goenpa to a lama called Lam Thinley Jamtsho, who is supposed to have built the present lhakhang in 1638," he said. The name of the goenpa is derived from the location of the lhakhang, which, in accordance with Guru Rinpoche's prophesy, is said to have been erected on top of a landscape that looked like and resembled a 'phurpa'.

The principal disciple of the Thinley Jamtsho, Lam Phama Dorji is believed to have later taken over the lhakhang, and personally painted the frescos, which are still found on the walls of the lhakhang. The statues of Goempo Tshepamay and Guru Pema Jungney are also believed to have been constructed by the lam himself. Besides these, Guru Rimpoche's uzham (ceremonial cap), a pair of zhablham (shoes) and chagyen (drilbu and dorji) are relics of the lhakhang, which, however, are restricted from open public display.
The monks, on completion of the five-year course at the shedra, go to Gangtey goenpa in Phobjikha for further learning.

The two-day consecration ceremony ended yesterday, with mang-wang (blessing for public) for devotees.

Contributed by Karma Nima and Tshering Chophel, Kuensel 2010
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