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Gyalse Tenzin Rabgye and the Founding of Taktshang Lhakhang

Keywords: Bhutan , Taktshang Lhakhang , Gyalse Tenzin Rabgye

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Abstract:

It is an honour to have been invited to submit an article for the inaugural issue of the Journal of Bhutan Studies. I am certain that the Centre for Bhutan Studies will take its place next to the National Library and the National Museum, as an institution with a distinctive and important role to play in the exploration and documentation of Bhutanese history and culture.As a small contribution for this occasion, I would like to offer a translation of that portion of the biography of the 4th Druk Desi Tenzin Rabgye (1638 - 96) which describes his visit to the sacred cave of Taktsang Pelphug during the Tshechu season of 1692, and his founding there of the temple devoted to Padma Sambhava known as Gu-ru mTshan-brgyad Lhakhang – ‘The Temple of the Guru with Eight Names.’ It is this elegant structure, situated high on the cliffs above the upper Paro valley, that has become the most universally recognized cultural icon of Bhutan. May its restoration be swift andsuccessful!I hope that those readers able to consult the original text will indulge any errors in the translation1. There are still uncertainties in identifying place names, and several ambiguities in the text itself. However, in order not to overly disturb the story’s flow, I have limited footnotes to the necessary minimum, and have adopted the modern spelling of familiar names. As this is only part of a larger project to translate the entire biography, suggestions or criticisms will be most welcome.

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