Tso Pedma Zangdog Palri Temple
Zangdog Palri Pema Odkyi Phodrang, (Lotus Light Palace on Glorious Copper-Colored Mountain) is known as the seat of Guru PadmaSambhava. It can be interpreted in three ways: the outer, the inner and the secret. The first one refers to physically apparent mansion of Nirmanakaya and the second one to the congregation of penta-pure essence located at heart chakra which is primordially perfect in unity with the qualities of Tri-Kaya. The third one is an unchanging and pervasive primordial wisdom that abides effortlessly in the natural state of our mind. Our narration here is the former one and the latter two is omitted since it is ultimately related to secret Tantra.
In many Buddhist texts it is said that ZangdogPalri is located in Ngayabling, (the land of cannibals), which is believed to be in the northwest from Bodhgaya, the holiest seat of Buddhism. If one takes it literally and happens to search it geographically with ordinary vision, then the effort will be vague and tiresome. But if one’s cannibalistic mind is tamed, defilements cleansed and accumulation of merit completed, Zandogpalri can be perceived vividly, thus sublime beings have proclaimed. From it we can conclude that it is nowhere to be found in the external map of the world but in our mind, like the “Praises to the Sphere of Reality” mentions:
The supreme abode of the Great Lord,
And the extremely beautiful Akanistha,
Is the state where tri-wisdom merges as one?
So this is what I declare as a celestial mansion.
In contradiction, we may think, “if this be the case, then the purpose of constructing Zangdog Palri and spending millions of dollars looks futile.” But it is rather more beneficial and encouraging. Buddha said in Sutra of Establishing Mindfulness:
To build a monastery and its objects,
To cherish sangha with lodgings,
Will always increase virtue from virtue,
That even in thousand of eons,
Its virtue won’t vanish in vain.
And Guru Padmasambhava also said in his autobiography as:
All the beings of future who haven’t met me,
My statue will light up the darkness of ignorance,
Building the object of reverence-embodiment of Lotus Born,
Hoists the victory banner of tri-kaya.
Thus, sweating in carrying out such a herculean task is a complete act of virtue which can dispel the curse of degeneration like famine, disaster, war and diseases and restore peace and harmony in general and gradually attain Buddhahood in particular.
Venerable Rigo Trulku Rinpoche constructed quadrilateral-shaped Zangdogpalri Temple standing three-stories high representing the sphere of Tri-Kaya with accurate design and characteristics in TsoPema, (Lotus lake, a place where once Guru Padmasambhava transformed the blazing fire into a pleasant lake), Rewalsar. It is further beautified by victory banners, canopies, tassels and golden pinnacle, with its four faces of east, south, west and north in white, blue, red and green colors depicting crystal, lapis lazuli, ruby and sapphire respectively. Its external periphery is surrounded by sixteen stunning goddesses of offering crafted onto solid marble in splendid poses offering melodious song and mesmerizing dances.
An interior design of magnificent deities is arrayed as said in Secret Path to Glorious Mountain:
At upper delightful celestial sphere of Dharmakaya,
Abides Samantabhadra – the wisdom essence of root manifestation,
Teaching symbolically to the cognitive retinue of Amitabha,
Where Lord and retinue are activators bearing equal realization.
An upper floor represents celestial sphere of Dharmakaya which is equivalent to the abode Akanistha. At its center Dharmakaya Amitabha in Nirmanakaya attire is seated on a peacock throne cushioned with sun and moon disc. Here, peacock, sun and moon represents the meaning of dominating perception by attaining ten empowerments and unity of method and wisdom respectively.
Its walls are painted with Penta-Buddha clan, abode of Amitabha, dharmakaya of dharmakaya-Samantabhadra and Samantabhadri, Sambhogakaya of dharmakaya-Vajradhara, Nirmanakaya of dharmakaya-Vajrasattva along with twelve Teachers of Mahasandhi (dzogchen), which depicts lineage of Intentional Victorious One.
Its second floor is also described as said in the previous text:
At upper beautiful celestial sphere of Sambhogakaya,
Abides lotus in hand – Avalokiteshvara,
Surrounded by infinite mandalas of deities,
Crushing demonic conceptual imprints.
In the centre of the second floor which is Sambhogakaya celestial sphere, Dharmakaya Amitabha manifested in semi-Sambhogakaya form, single head four-armed Lord Avalokiteshvara, and ornamented with sambhogakaya attire is seated. Behind him, the Eight Noble Son in standing posture wearing Sambhogakaya attire shares the same seat of the Lord. On its wall, mural paintings of Avalokiteshvara abode, Six compassionate Ones, Eight Noble Sons, Master Garab Dorje and Five Noble Masters are seen, which depicts Symbolic Lineage of Vidyadhara (Awareness Holder).
In the middle of the ground floor of Nirmanakya sphere, glorious octahedral throne lifted by fearless lions is decorated with thousand varieties of lotus petal having cushion of sun and moon on it. Upon it, congregation of every Buddha, sole savior of our time, majestic Guru Nangsid Zilnon with utmost radiance is seated in royal posture. Thus, the previous text describes:
At the centre of enormous celestial sphere,
Upon octahedral throne with lotus, sun and moon,
Self- arisen Lotus Born, the congregation of every Buddha,
Concentration of tri-kaya is seated amidst radiant rainbow.
Behind him, Eight Manifestation of Guru Padmasabhava and lord of lineage, Buddha Amitabha are visible seated on lotus and moon seat. The walls are painted with Eight Manifestations, Eight Herukas, Eight Awareness Holders, twenty-five disciples of Lotus Born, Five Terton (treasure revealer) Kings, Three Supreme Emanations, Eleven Lingpas (treasure revealer who bears Lingpa as surname), Dzongsar Kyentse Choekyi Lodroes’ revelation of Zangdog Palri abode, the Three Omniscient of Nyingmapas, the Three Ancestors and Grandson of Zur, and several other realized adepts which are encircled by the Four Great Kings like a sun encircled by its ray. These depict those enlightened masters of Aural Lineage.
Such an amazing replica of ZangdogPalri temple, which liberates beings upon seeing, came into existence due to the composition of prime causes like Rigo Trulkus’ pure intentional aspiration, financial assistance from devoted patron Mr. Elgie Gho and Mrs.Lyn Gho and brilliant engineering of Lama Ngawang.
Initial construction work of ZangdogPalri Temple started on an auspicious day in the year of 2008 under the supervision of Venerable Rigo Trulku Rinpoche and Lama Ngawang. Because of the great effort of many monks from our monastery, the construction of Zangdog Palri Temple was completed in early 2012.
After the completion of Zangdog Palri Temple, the head of the Nyingma sect of Tibetan Buddhism, H.H. the Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche consecrated Zangdog Palri Temple for two days along with monks from Palyul Choekhorling Monastery.
Then the Nobel Peace Prize winner, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama came to Tso Pema on 2nd of April in 2012 and stayed for one night. H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama had been invited by Rigo Trulku Rinpoche and the Palyul Choekhorling Monastery for the opening ceremony years before. H.H. the Dalai Lama did prayers and consecrations for the opening ceremony of Zangdog Palri Temple and gave a precious speech to all gathered there.
On the same day a second group of Abbots of Palyul Choekhorling Monastic Institute received their Khempo Ph.D degrees (Doctorate in Tantric Philosophy).
There was also a graduation ceremony held for the monks who had completed their monastic philosophy studies from Palyul Choekhorling Monastic Institute.
Head Lamas from different sects of Tibetan Buddhism, high level local officials, thousands of local Tibetans, Indians and people from Himalayan regions and other parts of the world gathered for the ceremony. It was a very joyful moment. A dance and song group from Bhutan performed their unique songs and dances for the celebration. The opening ceremony of Zangdog Palri Temple was a success.
In the Zangdog Palri Temple a number of monks from Palyul Choekhorling reside there. They perform daily morning and evening ritual prayers and do Sadhana of Lama Rigzin Duspa and Khandro Dechen Gyalmo on every10th and 25th day of the Tibetan lunar calendar.
Young monks from Palyul Choekhorling Monastery who complete their lower secondary school come to Zangdog Palri Temple and do preliminary practice under the guidance of Abbots (khenpos) and teachers of Palyul Choekhorling Institute.