Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Gasa Zabsel Gonpa


Drukpa Kaygu was founded by Tsangpa Gyaray Yeshi Dorji. He was ordained as monk by Geshe Paldan Sherab or Geshe Tathangpa (Geshe from Plain of Horses) in Tsang region.  Geshe Paldan  Sherab’s son named Norbu Paldan became student of Tshangpa Gyarey. He mediated probably in Gasa at a place called Gomo Terkhung. He was also said to have subdued deity of Gasa Ap Gomo. Thus he was called Druthob Terkhungpa. After achieving certain level of sidhi, he went back to Ralung to his master. Latter sent Drubthob Terkhungpa to propagate Drukpa Kagyu in Southern Land of Mon or Bhutan. He was said to have lived mostly in Gon and Laya. He was also one who founded Gon Optsho and later Obtsho family was founded through his cousin/nephew (??).
Zabsel Gonpa Lhakhang. The smaller Lhakhang houses the Kudung of Jamyang Lodeo Singye
Lake created by Jamyang Lodeo Singye
Cliff where Jamyang Lodeo Singye mediated and also left foot prints
Few years later, based on prophesy of Tsangpa Gyaray, his nephew Dhama Singye also sent Phajo Drugom Zhigpo (1179-1245 A.D) to Bhutan via Laya. Phajo based his seat mainly in Thimphu. As the time passed, his power extended to Punkha, Paro, Thimphu and Gasa. One of Phajo’s five sons, Wangchuk was sent to be Lapon of Thed (Punakha) and Gasa which brought him in contact with Obtsho family. Both family of Obtsho and descendent of Wangchuk kept in close relation with Druk Ralung either through Guru –Patron relationship or through marriages.
One of the products of such relation was birth of hierarch of Ralung Jamyang Lodeo Singye (1345-1390). His father was Ralung hierarch Jamyang Kinga Singye (1314-47) and mother was a nun called Loponma Semo Tashiden, a descendent of Phajo Drugom Zhigpo through his son Wangchuk. Jamyang Lodeo Singye too married to Bhutanese and 10th hierarch Sherab Singye was born. Brother of Sherab Singye,  Yeshi Rinchen studied under Obtsho family before going to Ralung. That was how family of Druk Ralung, Obtsho and Phajo Drugom Zhigpa maintained their relationship.
One of the Gonpa founded by Jamyang Lodeo Singye was Zhab-Sey Gonpa or Zhab-Sey Kuenga Rawa.  The name got changed into Zabsel Gonpa due to corruption of words.  Zabsel Gonpa is about two hours’ walk uphill from Gasa Dzong. It is just opposite Wang-ri-kha where his mother was said to have practiced in hermitage before becoming pregnant. The legend said that nun or Loponma was practicing in hermitage in Wang-ri-kha. One day, she ate some fruits probably wild persimmon due to which she became pregnant (fruit was Jamyang Kinga Singye though). She was ostracized from the hermitage. She went to present Zabsel Gonpa place and gave birth to a son. At around five years of age, Jamyang Lodeo Singye flew to Ralung using his spiritual power to study. The cliff behind lhakhang has footprints believed to be left by Jamyang Lodeo Singye. The cliff was also used as his mediation place. After study, he returned to Zabsel Gonpa to practice with his mother. Due to scarcity of water, he created a lake located few hundred meters away from the temple. The lake is known as Lodeo Singye Drubchu. When his mother passed away, he built Kudung Chorten right next to the temple. During his time, people believed that few Drubkhang (retreat places) were there.
During tenure of Dzongdag Sonam Jigme and Lam Neten Kingzang Namgyal in 2015, the lhakhang was renovated. Along with Lhakhang, a small temple was also built to house Kudung Chorten of Lodeo Singye’s mother. To celebrate 60th Birth Anniversary of His Majesty, the 4th Druk Gyalpo and His Holiness the 70th Je Khenpo, retreat centre was re-instituted. Today, few monks from Garsa Dratshang go into retreat there.
It is said that if one visit thrice to that place, all our sins will be cleansed. Whether it does cleanse or not, visiting that place gives you sense of calmness and accomplishment.

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