The most prominent Buddhist deities in Bhutan

Email

Buddhist statues and religious figures can be seen in most of the landmarks and historical sites in Bhutan.

Bhutan is known as the last Buddhist kingdom in the world. There are many reasons why tourists from around the world travel to Bhutan. One of the primary reasons is to explore the unique and distinctive culture. Aside from the unspoiled natural landscape, the spirituality aspect of Bhutan as a country is also gaining popularity amongst the Buddhists all over the world. 

Below are some of the most prominent most prominent deities and figures that you can find in the dzong (ancient fortress), lhakhang (temple), chortens (stupa), and sacred sites.

THE BUDDHA (Sangay Shacha Muni)
Shakyamuni Buddha is the historical founder of Buddhism. The term Buddha means ‘enlightened ones’ and is attributed to beings that have reached the highest level of enlightenment. There are many different depictions of Buddha including the twelve great acts of Buddha. But the most popular representation is the Buddha sitting in meditation with the right hand resting on the lap with palm facing up, and left fingertips facing downwards "touching the earth". Also known as the 'Earth Witness" position, it symbolises the interdependent of everything that exist on earth.

There are over 100 different poses and representation of Buddha.
The poses and hand-gestures of the Buddha convey different meanings.


Largest Buddha Statue in Bhutan in Buddha Point, Thimphu

GURU RINPOCHE (PADMASAMBHAVA)

Guru Padmasambhava, popularly known as Guru Rinpoche is one of the most revered historical figures in Bhutan. The great saint introduced Buddhism in Bhutan around the 8th century. Guru Rinpoche traveled the length and breadth of the country verifying that Bhutan is indeed the sacred land practicing the teachings of the sacred Mantrayana or Vajrayana traditio

The iconic Paro Taksang (Tiger's Nest monastery) is known to be the home of this great Buddhist saint. Legend has it Guru Rinpoche flew to the site on a tigress' back and that's how the monastery got its name. According to the scriptures, Guru Padmasambhava is believed to have travelled to Bhutan twice via different routes. Most of the sacred sites visited are identified to be in central Bhutan, particularly Bumthang. Today, Guru Padmasambhava's statues are found in almost all temples and homes in Bhutan.

AVALOKITESHVARA (Chengrezig)

A bodhisattva (Jang Chub Sempa) is an enlightened being who chooses to remain within cyclic existence to benefit all beings. Avalokiteshvara or Chenrezig is a bodhisattva of inconceivable compassion. Avalokiteshvara is one of the most popular bodhisattvas in Buddhism. Also known as Guanyin in Chinese and Kannon in Japan.

There are many different ways in which Avalokiteshvara is portrayed. The supreme manifestation of this Bodhisattva of Compassion is the one with eleven heads and one thousand arms (Chak Tong Chen Tong). Each hand has palm with eye on it to 'see' the sufferings of humanity and to illuminate all beings with the light of wisdom.


Chenrigze 

MANJUSHRI (Jampelyang)

Manjushri (Jampelyang) is a Bodhisattva of Wisdom. Students in school across the country start their day by saying prayers dedicating to Jampelyang. Manjushri is also known as the deity of astrology. In Buddhist artwork, Buddha is often depicted together with Manjushri, who represents the transcendental wisdom of Bodhisattva. Be it in statue or paintings, Manjushri is depicted in over a hundred manifestations signifying transcendental wisdom.

TARA (Dolma)

Similarly, there are innumerable manifestations of Tara (Dolma), one of the most beloved deities. Tara is also known as "Mother of liberation" and "goddess of compassion". There are said to be twenty one taras and the two most popular ones are White Tara and Green Tara. It is said that the these goddesses of compassion wept tears for the beings of samsara. One can differentiate between the two Taras by looking at the colour of lotus held on their hand. Many believe that if the male pays homage to Tara and chant prayers, good things will befall the believers.

Under the patronage of Her Majesty the Queen Mother Sangay Choden Wangchuck, a temple dedicated to the Tara (Tara Lhadron Zhingkham Lhakhang) was constructed in Thimphu to generate tremendous positive Karma benefiting all sentient beings and bringing unwavering peace and happiness to Bhutan and the world as a whole.

Tara Lhadron Zhingkham Lhakhang is Pangrizampa 

ZHABDRUNG NGAWANG NAMGYAL

Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal was a great statesman and the architect and founder of the nation-state of Bhutan. He is known in Bhutan as the Father of the Nation. Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal was the person who unified Bhutan and established Drukpa Kagyu as the state religion although other Buddhist institutions were also allowed to flourish. He is also the person credited for the establishment of the beautiful Dzongs (ancient fortresses) that can be found throughout Bhutan. The first dzong that he built was Semtokha Dzong in 1629.


Semtokha Dzong 

Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal is a highly respected historical figure in Bhutan. Bhutanese commemorates ‘Zhabdrung Khuchoe’ day on the 10th day of the third Bhutanese month every year. The occasion marks the day when Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal passed away at the Punakha Dzong in 1651. On this particular auspicious day, the Royal families of Bhutan visit Punakha Dzong to pay homage to Zhabdrung.


His Majesty Paying Homage to Zhandrung Ngawang Namgyal in 2020


Related Posts

True Purpose of Rituals And Their Importance In Buddhism

Rituals are an indispensable way of life for a Bhutanese household and families are known to spend a fortune on them.

Sep 13, 2019 12:11

Applying Buddhist Values in Life: Discover Happiness In Bhutan...

His Eminence Khedrupchen Rinpoche speaks about a workshop that tourists can partake in to apply Buddhist concepts into...

Jun 21, 2019 12:35

The history and evolution of money in Bhutan

The legal currency of Bhutan, Ngultrum (symbol: Nu., code: BTN) was launched in 1974.

Apr 13, 2021 11:11

9 important life lessons from Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom

Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom tells the story of the journey of an unmotivated teacher, Ugyen Dorji, hailing from the...

Apr 12, 2021 10:38

COVID-19 has dealt a huge blow for the cordyceps collectors in...

Prior to 2004, harvesting of cordyceps was considered illegal in Bhutan. Only in 2004, harvesting of cordyceps was...

Mar 05, 2021 09:35

Launch of the Textile Museum Website and the Virtual Exhibitions

Her Majesty the Queen Mother Gyalyum Sangay Choden Wangchuck, Royal Patron of the Textile Museum, Department of Culture,...

Feb 21, 2021 16:53

Latest

News

Queen Mother Gyalyum Sangay Choden Wangchuck delivered keynote address at 54th session of the Commission on Population and Development

Queen Mother Gyalyum Sangay Choden delivered a keynote address at the 54th session of the Commission on Population and Development at the UN...

Apr 21, 2021 14:53

Bhutan Prime Minister, Dr Lotay Tshering attended Bangladesh's Golden Jubilee celebrations

Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering was in Bangladesh from 23 March to 25 March 2021 on official visit as the Special Representative of His...

Apr 14, 2021 16:30

Features

The history and evolution of money in Bhutan

The legal currency of Bhutan, Ngultrum (symbol: Nu., code: BTN) was launched in 1974.

Apr 13, 2021 11:11

9 important life lessons from Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom

Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom tells the story of the journey of an unmotivated teacher, Ugyen Dorji, hailing from the capital city of...

Apr 12, 2021 10:38

Sports

What's with the unique archery culture in Bhutan?

In Bhutan, archery is more than just a sport. It is a way of life. The dancing, the singing, the drinking—it is a manifestation of the...

Apr 19, 2021 10:40

Contributing to the country through the love for football

It's been a month since the conclusion of Bhutan Premier League 2020. Daily Bhutan interviews Paro FC to find out more about the club. Below...

Dec 21, 2020 17:05

Business

Support authentic Bhutanese handicrafts by local artisans

Whether you are interested in artisanal Bhutanese handicrafts or boutique sourced products with contemporary touch, the incredible...

Mar 25, 2021 12:09

Authentic Bhutanese Souvenirs from Eastern Bhutan

Every district and village produce distinct products in Bhutan. To encourage rural communities to produce more authentic souvenirs and...

Dec 25, 2020 22:13

Travel

Bhutan champions Waddling Tour, an activity that's completely new in tourism

Bhutan is in the midst of developing new tourism products. The country is gearing up to make the tourism industry in the Kingdom to be more...

Mar 29, 2021 10:06

One of the fun things you can do in Bhutan is whitewater rafting

Whitewater rafting is one of the most popular outdoor activities for travellers to Bhutan as it's a family-friendly activity suitable for...

Mar 24, 2021 13:20

Lifestyle

Traditional costumes of Bhutan and the evolution of kira

The Kingdom of Bhutan is unique for many reasons, but one peculiarity that sets them apart is their dress code.

Apr 21, 2021 11:25

In the Buddhist Kingdom of Bhutan, are Bhutanese mostly vegetarians?

Many foreigners perceive Bhutanese to be mostly vegetarians owing to its status as a Buddhist kingdom.

Apr 14, 2021 14:30

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!