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The 15-day ceremony "Thrin Chel" in Gelephu January 2003
Je Khenpo
Je Khenpo in Gelephu

Led by His Holiness the Je Khenpo, Trulku Jigme Choedra with 500 monks of Zhemgang, Tsirang, Gelephu, Tali and Nimalung dratshangs, performed a Thrin Chel ceremony for the devotees in Sarpang, Tsirang, Zhemgang and Trongsa.

The Thrin Chel ceremony is a special rites, seeking refuge to the protecting deity Mahakala.

The sacred 15-day Thri (admonition) ceremony, which many Bhutanese aspire to receive once in a lifetime, is organized on the request of the rabdeys of Gelephu, Tsirang and Zhemgang by the three dratshangs of Zhemgang, Tsirang and Gelephu and the Gyeltshen Furniture House for the spiritual well being of the people, the country, and all sentient beings.

The calm environment of Gelephu town breaks into a sound of spiritual rhythm at about 4.00 am every morning as 2,500 practitioners from all walks of life start their prayers.

The monks and devotees perform the Ngendro (preliminary performance) and Ngag (mantra recitation) from dawn until their Tsowai lam (root guru) arrives at 7.30 am to the religious stadium. His Holiness the Je Khenpo is escorted in a traditional chipdrel ceremony to the Thrikhang (religious podium) where he is offered Kusung Thukten Mendrel by members of the three rabdeys, dzongkhag officials, and representatives of the people.

His Holiness elucidated the moral precepts and the teaching of the Buddha for the benefit of all devotees. After receiving the Thri the devotees are expected to abide by the fundamental ethical injunctions taught to them to enable them to lead pure lives and to carry out the preliminary practices for higher spiritual attainments.

On the end of the seventh day of the Thri ceremony His Holiness unites devotees from all walks of life into one family as the seven Dorji Puen (spiritual brothers and sisters). The Thri was an effective strengthening of the dharma by His Holiness not only in the Sarpang dzongkhag but all the 20 dzongkhags.


Meaning of Thri

According to His Holiness the Je Khenpo, the meaning of Thri was to lead all sentient beings on the path of enlightenment or ultimate liberation from the cyclic existence and suffering in the samsara (khorwa) through spiritual means. "The empowerment of the Thri is of paramount importance to those who wish to enter into the sacred path of Tantra. The transmission of the Thri can be traced back to His Holiness Choejay Dagpo Rinpoche, who is also known as gampopa, from whom originated several Kagyue lineages. Choejay Dagpo Rinpoche had upheld the two aspects of Mahamudra (Chagja Chhenpo): Mahamudra of Sutra (Do) and the Mahamudra of Mantra (Ngag). This lineage was transmitted in the Drukpa Kagyue tradition. The main text of the Thri was Dagpa Thargen, a text containing the essence of all Drukpa Kague teachings," His Holiness said.

Contributed by KUENSEL, Bhutan's National Newspaper
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