Gyalwa Gotsangpa (1189-1258) was one of the most accomplished disciples of
Tsangpa Gyare who charted the route for circumambulation of the Mountain and the
Lakes and started the tradition of circumambulation. The total distance, covered
in a complete circumambulation of Mount Kailash according to the route charted
by Gotsangpa, is 52km and takes about 13 to 15 hours.Gotsangpa also discovered
many holy sites and caves in the Himalayas, which later became a source of
support for spiritual practitioners to progress towards Complete
Enlightenment.Below is a brief account of how he developed the circumambulation
route in Kailash
Chag Tshel Gang - Starting the circumambulation of the Mountain from Darchen,
one reaches Lhalung-do. While proceeding to circumambulate Mount Kailash,
Gotsangpa stopped on the banks of Lake Manasarovar, near Lhalung-do, to drink
tea. He went to look for stones with which to make a fire. But in his pure
vision he saw all the rocks as images of Buddha and mantras. So instead, he
prostrated and prayed. This place came to be known as Chag Tshel Gang, meaning
the 'Point of Prostration'.
Dri-ra Phug - When Gotsangpa came to open the route to Mount Kailash, he reached
Drong Lung. He saw the peaks behind as the palace of 1,000 Buddhas and wanted to
check if the circumambulation path covered the peaks. He went northward and
suddenly a Drong Dri (a female wild yak) appeared in front of him. Thus the
place came to be called Drong Lung. Gotsangpa realised that the Drong Dri was
the emanation of the Lion-Faced Dakini and had been sent by his guru to show him
the path. The Dri went eastward and he followed her and the Dri disappeared
below the present day cave. He looked around and saw footprints of the Dri on
the rock and prints of her horn on a rock in the cave to indicate that she had
disappeared into the rock of the cave. He understood that it was a message for
him to meditate in this cave. Hence the cave came to be called Dri Thim Dri-ra
Phug, meaning, 'the cave where the Drong disappeared and left the print of her
After meditating at this cave for a long time, Gotsangpa thought it was time for
him to leave, since the climate was cold and food was scarce. So he touched the
rock of the cave with his head and prayed that whatever creature (whether human,
animal or insect) came to his cave would be reborn in the higher realm. He left
the impression of his hat on the rock. On the stone in front of the cave he left
his footprint. Practitioners continued to meditate at this cave till 1965. A
monastery was built at the cave, but was completely destroyed during the
Cultural Revolution. However, the monastery was rebuilt in 1986. Dri-ra Phug
monastery is managed by Dra Dingpo Che Dhondup Thongmon Gompa of the Drukpa
Lineage. Dri-ra Phug is the main holy place of Sengye Dongma or the Lion-Faced
Jarog Dron-khang - A little further up from Dri-ra Phug is Jarog Dron-khang.
During his meditation the Land Spirit of Lhalung Phu rendered great service to
Gotsangpa and as an expression of gratitude Gotsangpa made an offering of Torma.
A raven carried away the Torma and he followed the raven and saw it sit on a
rock. When he went closer, the raven merged into the rock, leaving its imprint
on the rock. He realized that the raven was an emanation of Mahakala.
Drolma La or Tara Pass - After the raven disappeared Gotsangpa didn't know where
to go and wondered which way he should follow. Suddenly 21 wolves appeared. He
realised that they were emanations of the 21 Taras that had come to show him the
road and followed them. Reaching the top of the pass, the 21 wolves merged into
one and that too merged into a rock on the pass. Since then, the pass came to be
called Drolma La or Tara Pass. Impressions of a wolf and a self-born image of
Avalokitesvara can be seen on the rock near the pass. There is also a footprint
of Milarepa on the pass. Before reaching the Palace of Tara, there is a
footprint of Yonge Rigdzin, a yogi of Khampagar of the Drukpa lineage.
A footprint of Thrinley Shinta, the seventh Gyalwang Drukpa, is also clearly
visible on the right side of the road, below the lake known as the 'Bathing Pool
of Dakinis' behind Drolma La.
Vajra Varahi Cave - On the river bank, near the ridge opposite the yellow and
blue coloured rock known as the palace of the yellow and black Jambhala, is the
meditation cave of Gotsangpa and the shrine of Mahakala. A little further down
is the Vajra Varahi cave. Dordrak Lama Chonyi Sangpo of the Nyingma School built
this cave. He didn't have disciples who could look after it; Druk Sangag
Choeling Monastery then managed it. Later it was offered to Taktsang Repa of
Ladakh and some of the reincarnations of Taktsang Repa visited the monastery
housing the cave. Lang-na Tulku was given charge of the monastery. In 1941, when
the Hasaks invaded Ngari, the monastery was destroyed and Lang-na Tulku passed
away. The Tibetan Government of the time decided to rebuild it. Spiti Lama Yeshi
Palden financed the reconstruction and the management of the monastery was
handed over to Purang Shephel Ling Monastery of the Gelugpa tradition. However,
the lineage of the monastery remained Drukpa
2 posts • Page 1 of 1
I just love stories like that. Wish we had more of them.
Thank you for sharing.
Thank you for sharing.
Dualism is the real root of our suffering and all of our conflicts.
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