Through this write-up, we aim to provide you with the significant facets of the temple:
Positioned at the centre of the temple, the idol of Buddha Sakyamuni represents the sage Gautama Buddha. He is the most important figure in religion and his discourses, principles and life accounts formed the bedrock on which the religion was built and followed by people. Made of gilded bronze, the statue of Buddha is about nine feet high and is seated atop a bronze lotus structure.
Guru Padma Sambhava
The idol of Guru Padma Sambhava is placed to the right of Buddha Sakyamuni. Padma Sambhava, also known popularly as Guru Rinpoche, is a Buddhist guru who is said to have overcome the forces of evil in Tibet and planted the seeds for the growth of Buddhist dharma and philosophies in that region. The idol is placed in such a way that the guru is seen facing Tibet. At twelve feet tall, the structure is even taller than the main Buddha Sakyamuni idol and it is also made of gilded bronze.
Avalokiteshvara is an enlightened being who is a symbol of compassion and love. The facial image of the deity is a picture of calmness and serenity, unlike the courage and vigour exuded by that of Padma Sambhava. The sculptors ensured that this idol reflected the Tibetan image of Avalokiteshvara. The deity has eleven faces, a thousand arms and an equal number of eyes. It is indeed noteworthy that the architects managed to fit in such intricate detail into a thirteen feet tall structure.
The walls of the temple contain metallic prayer wheels and each wheel is inscribed with Buddhist prayer mantras. It is believed that if a person rotates the wheels, then he/she would be bestowed with the power of the mantras carved on the wheels. On a crowded day, one can see the wheels spinning ceaselessly as devotee after devotee awaits his/her turn to spin the wheel.
Devotees usually undertake the customary Kora – a sacred walk in the clockwise around the Tsuglakhang temple complex. The walk begins to the left of the temple entrance and continues along a circuitous path around the temple complex. The narrow path passes through the woods around the temple and it takes usually 20-30 minutes to complete one round. The route is adorned with player flags and prayer wheels that symbolise the beliefs of the Buddhist community. People believe that the Kora provides them with spiritual upliftment and inner peace. It is quite common to see devotees chant mantras during their walks.
A treasure trove of Buddhist teachings
The temple prides itself of a rich collection of Buddhist teachings and commentaries. The collection consists of over 200 volumes of Tengyur – the Tibetan translation of Buddhist Treatises. It also houses about 100 volumes of Kangyur – translated verses of Lord Buddha himself. The Tengyur and Kangyur together form the core of the Tibetan Buddhist philosophies.Tags: India, Buddhism, Tsuglakhang temple, Buddha, Dalai Lama, Dharamshala