Tuesday, 3 February 2015


bird's eye view of Totpalung Gonpa pic. by Gyembo Namgyal
I heard of a local lam from Totpalung village, now transitioning into a beautiful gonpa but, I haven’t met him until last week. Meeting him was truly inspiring. His humility, the gentle manner and soft voice were qualities enough to disarm anyone who comes into contact with him. I wondered then, how he got to be named Lam Singye Dradok (Wrathful manifestation of lion like roar) by His Eminence Garab Rimpoche.

The Lam is one of the foremost disciple of Garab Rimpoche and one of the most important monks of Rangjung monastery.  He is a busy Lam, shuttling between the various Buddhist centres of His Eminence in Taiwan, Hongkong, Singapore, Malaysia and other countries. And he looks after the welfare of many Anims in his own Gonpa at Totpalung village in Pemagatshel.

What makes him truly an exemplary man is his own journey from a village lay monk to an accomplished master. From a lay monk who just spoke Tshangla to mastering English and Chinese languages. People who know him well are in awe of what true Buddhist practitioner he has become. They say the transition is nothing short of legendary.

Well just a few days back, the Lam was on a short visit to take stock of the progress of his pet project. I took an opportunity to go along with some Threma practitioners from Nangkor village to call on the Lam. I felt enchanted by this aging yet energetic Lam. His humility was so profound. For me it was an obvious sign of how accomplished he is.

In our group was a lay monk from the village who had been on pilgrimage to Nepal recently. He had apparently availed the discount of Druk Air flight; because he began the conversation on pilgrimage sites he visited and then meandered to his experience in airports and the facilities in the flight blah….blah. How I wished, he put an end to his bragging. But, on and on he went, depriving others including the Lam to talk of other things.

What I felt witnessing the proceeding was why Buddhist practitioners like this man don’t learn from the conduct of Lam right in front. The Lam is a Buddhist master, yet he was so modest. The Lam travels widely to some of the busiest airports in the world, yet he listened to the aggrandizement of Paro and Kathmandu airports. The lam’s humility and everything   I saw in him was deserving of a Buddhist practitioner and a role model for others. I thought people need not look further to learn about the true conduct of a Buddhist practitioner.

Today, the Lam has embarked on an ambitious project of building a large stupa that will have the precious relics of late Dungse Rimpoche as nangtens. Whatever little donations he gets from his patrons are put into building this Kudung Choeten. In order to make this happen, the Lam had to construct an approach road on his own with some maintenance fund provided by the gewog.

Bhutanese are known for generosity. If there is anyone wishing to donate in whatever little ways possible, you still have an opportunity to sow the seeds of immeasurable merits lasting for eons. It may be a drop in an ocean but, unless the ocean dries, the drop remains. Such will be the magnitude of your contribution. The Lam is not a Tuelku with wealthy patrons. He is an ordinary monk with a mission. If anyone wishes to make donations, this is the most appropriate place.

Gyembo Namgyal

February 3, 2015 10:45 PM