The history of Bhutan | Bhutan before unification | Until the establishment of the state | Western Bhutan | The prophecy of the Guru

The prophecy of Guru Rinpoche

Phajo, the Drukpa cleric, had a vision of Guru Rinpoche which revealed that he would find his consort, who would be a reincarnation of the famous Yogini Machig Labdrön, in the province Wang.

Phajo set off to Wang and meditated in a cave with the name of Sengye Gyeltshenphu, where a few girls from the village Wang Chador visited him. One of them, Acho, stayed with him and bore him a son called Dampa. Acho told Phajo that a younger sister of hers lived in the village Wang Sinmo and, since she had been three years old, had been waiting for the arrival of a certain lama. For that reason she had refused every proposal of marriage since she had become off age.

The meeting at the river

Phajo realised that she must be the girl of the prophecy and went to Wang Sinmo. There he saw a few girls who were busily weaving at the other side of the river, and he started singing:

»Girls on the opposite side of the river,

stop chatting and listen attentively to my song.

I, a beggar from the land of Kham,

have arrived at the place prophesied by my lama.

Do you know where she lives,

the girl with whom I am connected by prayers?

The time has come to realise the consequences of earlier action.«

The girl in the middle, Acho's younger sister Sonam Peldön, got up and replied:

»You, ascetic beggar who is passing by,

listen to the song of the girl.

Are you the one prophesied by the lama?

Or are you a demon playing tricks?

You look like an emanation of the lama

prophesied by the Buddha of the past,

I beg you to take me with you.«

There was no bridge over the river, and so Phajo ran along the right and Sonam Peldön the left bank of the river, until they reached the only bridge in the area of Wang. There they met and until today the bridge has been called Lungtenzampa, the »bridge of the prophecy« - today it forms the entry to Thimphu, the Bhutanese capital.


Phajo's descendants

After they continued their journey, they reached Dodena, in the upper Thimphu valley and from there they went to where the Tango monastery is today. One day Phajo heard a horse neighing and had a vision of Hayagriva*, the god with a horse head in his hair. It is for this reason that the location was given the name Tango (horse-head).

Hayagriva* instructed Phajo, to extend his family and have the teachings of the Drukpa school spread by his children. Nine months later a daughter was born to Sonam Peldön. In Dodena Sonam Peldön gave birth to a further seven sons. Phajo realised that three of them had to be demons and so he pushed them all of a bridge into the river. Three drowned, and the remaining four children floated, unharmed, into different directions. In that Phajo saw the confirmation that, through them, the Drukpa teachings would be spread into all four directions of the compass.

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The angry protective deity Hayagriva* is seen in the Vajrayana* Buddhism as one of the wrathful appearances of Bodhisattva* Avalokiteshvara*.