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Tashichhodzong - The 16 arhats

The 16 arhats (those who had extinguished all defilements) originated from India during the time of Buddha Shakyamuni. It is believed that the Buddha entrusted his teachings to the 16 great arhats when he was about to pass away. The Buddha instructed them to remain in this world, dwell in different lands, and disseminate his teachings to benefit all sentient beings.

The 16 arhats can be individually recognised by standard attributes, such as an incense burner, a fly whisk, a miniature stupa, a glowing gem, or a string of jewels.

The sixteen Arhats are:

1. Angaja the Arhat with a sac
2. Ajita the Arhat riding a deer
3. Vanavasin the Arhat under the banana tree
4. Kalika the dust cleaning Arhat
5. Vajriputra the persuading Arhat
6. Sribhadra the Arhat who crossed the river
7. Kanakavatsa the jolly Arhat
8. Kanakabharadvaja the alms holding Arhat
9. Bakula the silently seated Arhat
10. Rahula the Arhat in deep concentration
11. Gudapanthaka the door watching Arhat
12. Pindola Bharadvaja the Arhat with long eyebrows
13. Panthaka the Arhat with stretched arms
14. Nagasena the ear cleaning Arhat
15. Gopaka the scripture holding Arhat
16. Abheda the stupa holding Arhat
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The Neten Chudrug thongdroel unfurled at the outer wall ofthe Guru Lhakhang in Tashichhodzong
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Bhutan's largest thongdroel, depicting the 8th century Nyingma master, Guru Padmasambhava, as Ngangsoed Zilnon at Tashichhodzong

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