The Thikshay monastery rises from the vast brown plains and embraces the open blue skies giving the approaching visitor a feeling of peace and calm.
The Thikshay Monastery belongs to the Gelukpa order of Buddhism and was founded in 1430AD by Spon Palden Zangpo, nephew of Sherab Zangpo. The monastery was first built by Sherab Zangpo of Stod at Stakmo. Spon Palden Zangpo reconstructed the monastery on a hilltop North of the Indus river.
The monastery houses a temple Lakhang Nyerma, dedicated to goddess Dorje Chenmo, which was built by Rinchen Zangpo the translator. Thikshay Monastery is the residence of about 80 monks and is served by successive re-incarnations of Skyabsje Khanpo Rinpoche.
On the day of our visit, a new set of memorial chortens was beingÃ‚Â inauguratedÃ‚Â at the Thikshay Monastery. After a bit of confusion, translation, mis-communication and language barriers, here is what I was able to gather about the new memorial chortens and why they have been built.
The Chortens known as Darsagyat Chortens signify different aspects of Buddha’s life…
Padum Chorten – Birth of Lord Buddha
Chanchuk Chorten – Buddhas prayers and enlightenment
Tashi Gumang – Dedicated to Lord Buddha’s first sermon at Varanasi
Chutul Chorten – for destruction of evil spirits
Lawab Chorten – Signifying stairs and the descend of Buddha from the heavens to the Earth
Endung Chorten – To finish the confrontations amongst theÃ‚Â disciplesÃ‚Â of Buddha
Namgyal Chorten – For the long life of Buddha and the long life of all beings
Nyangden Chorten – Nirvana
After taking a parikrama of the chortens, we headed to the main monastery. The place was abuzz with activity for theÃ‚Â inaugurationÃ‚Â ceremony of the chortens. We kept wandering around the monastery and headed to the terrace. The terrace has an old library which is locked, but you can see a whole bunch of old manuscripts and writings from the window. The terrace also offers an astounding view of the vast plains and the mountains.
The wind running through the plains, the warm sunshine, and perfectly blue skies dotted with white clouds makes the experience surreal.
Pictures from Thikshay…