Friday, August 18, 2006

Mongolia | Ulaan Baatar | Dhanyakataka Stupa

Tashchoimphel Temple at Gandan
While at Gandan you might also want to visit Tashchoimphel Temple to see another Kalachakra-connected thangka. Although Taranatha, Zanabazar’s previous Incarnation (See Incarnations of Javzandamba), wrote extensively about the Kalachakra and translated one of the most famous guidebooks to Shambhala from Sanskrit into Tibetan, Zanabazar Himself, the First Bogd Gegen, apparently showed little if any interest in the teachings. It was the Fourth Bogd Gegeen who first introduced the Duinkhor, or Kalachakra Teachings, into Mongolia in 1801. In 1803 he made a trip to Lhasa and brought back with him a large collection statues and books, including material connected with the Kalachakra. According to ethnologist A. M. Pozdneev, “In 1806 he set up a special datsang for the school of Duinkor [Kalachakra]” and services were performed here in 1807. "In the same year 1807, the Gegen ordered a yum written in gold from Tibet . . . Moreover, being devoted to the task of developing Duinkor, the Gegen decorated the temple of Dachin-kalbain-Sume, gilding its roof, and in its courtyard he established his personal residence.”

He also reportedly commissioned a thangka showing the Dhanyakataka Stupa in southern India where by tradition Shakyamuni Buddha first taught the Kalachakra Tantra to the first King of Shambhala. This thangka can now be seen in the Tashchoimphel Temple.
Thangka of the Dhanyakataka Stupa
Close-up of the thangka showing Buddha emanating as the Kalachakra Deity inside the stupa. It was in this form that he taught the Kalachakra Tantra to Suchandra, the First King of Shambhala.

By tradition the Dhanyakataka Stupa is located at Amaravati, in south India, where the Dalai Lama gave a Kalachakra Initiation in January of 2006.
Ninety-two year-old Lama Gombo (left) was kind enough to point out the Dhanyakataka Thangka to me.