Tamshing Lhakhang in Bumthang District in central Bhutan is a Nyingma Gompa in Bhutan. Its temple and monastery are remarkable for their direct connection to the Bhutanese terton (treasure revealer) and saint, Pema Lingpa and his tulkus. It is now the seat of Sungtrul Rinpoche, the current speech incarnation of Pema Lingpa.
Tamshing consists of a deteriorating temple and a cramped vihara. It supports a body of over 95 Buddhist monks. It is located opposite Kurjey Lhakhang on the other side of the river was founded in 1501 by Terton Pema Lingpa. The lhakang has ancient religious paintings such as the 1,000 Buddhas and 21 taras (female form of Bodhisattava).
The festival of Tamshing Lhakhang is held for three days. People from different parts of Bumthang and Bhutan gather to witness the dances of terton Pema Lingpa. The dances are performed by the monks of Tamshing Monastery. The chams (dances) include the Phagchham (pig dance), which is performed on the first night and was composed by the great saint Mewang. The festival is concluded by Pholay Molay cham.
The core missions of Tamshing are teaching the Dharma, performing religious services for the community and educating the young monks under its care. Since Tamshing is not government supported it faces increasing challenges posed by supporting 95 monks while maintaining the ancient physical structures. Tamshing has no endowment; no mission to make money, its only mission is to meet the needs of the community. Currently, the monastery runs at a loss.
One should visit Tamshing Lhakhang while in Bumthang, to understand daily life of monks and their culture.
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