Gods and Sacred Mountains | Guru Rinpoche | The Dance in Honor of the Guru | The Origins of the Dance

The Origins of the Dance

The sacred Buddhist dance (cham*) goes back to Heruka, the highest wrathful deity of Tantrism.

In a revelation of Buddha Amithaba*, Guru Rinpoche was granted the knowledge of this dance. At the initial bricklaying of the monastary Samye in Tibet, Guru Rinpoche first performed this dance. Thereby he cleaned and blessed this place. In Bhutan, Guru Rinpoche danced the cham* at the Kurje-Lhakang Temple in order to overthrow the demon Shelging Karpo and to turn him into a protective god of this temple.

The present day form of this dance in Bhutan goes back to Pema Lingpa, the reincarnation of Guru Rinpoche. In a revelation, he saw in the »south-west paradise« of Guru Rinpoche, heavenly beings that were dancing. He then invited these beings to also dance on earth. Since then, for the believers, these dances should open the way for them to paradise.

The dancers wear splendid costumes made out of silk and brocade. Pema Lingpa also saw these costumes in a vision he had of the heavenly palace of Guru Rinpoche.

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These holy dances depict, among other things, historical events from the turbulent history of the Himalayan region in popular, and often also in unfamiliar ways.