In PILGRIMAGE by Karma Dendup4 Comments

Covered in mist and walled by snow walls,
Serene, the lion’s fortress stands,
Voice-less, but I guess it calls,
I’ve reached here, but how? I still can’t understand.

Pearly walls, and golden grass,
emerald trees surround,
Crystal streams with jeweled banks,
Perfumed clouds and frozen kisses abound,
Silken prayer flags with golden letters on silver poles,
all in unison, enlightenment pronounce.

Turquoise studded bronze bridges
over the crystal streams,
and over lotus blooming ponds hang;
While angels hum and sing in flowing silky robes,
in a clear blue sky with a thousand rainbows silently shining,
Humble monks in rose red robes on velvet cushioned golden thrones,
all in one deep and solemn voice sit chanting.

This be the view of the Lion’s Fortress,
from the eyes of one who has seen,
Or, for one who doesn’t have to see to believe,
but believes! and is seeing.

But for this fool with gasping breath and aching legs
in muddy shoes and dirty clothes,
I stare in gladness at a wind swept valley
with meandering streams,
where I can my tired feet rest,
and question why I am living.

The Lion Fortress, also known as Mönkha Senge Dzong, is a cave situated to the east of Bumthang in Bhutan. It was used by the Buddhist master Padmasambhava and later by his main female student and successor Yeshe Tsogyal as a sacred place for sadhana. This cave is an important place of pilgrimage for followers of Padmasambhava and is counted as the fifth among the eight sacred places to visit in Tibet and Bhutan.

About the Author
Karma Dendup

Karma Dendup


Karma Dendup serves as a TV host and Producer, for the Bhutan Broadcasting Service, BBS, and holds a bachelor’s degree in Cinema. As he says: “While my work is primarily to produce documentaries, for the past 5 years I have been hosting and producing a monthly program on Buddhism, which has now grown into a weekly show called the Jangchub Shing, The Bodhi Tree. I love and respect all religions, but stand sane and alive because of the Buddha Dharma.” Other LEVEKUNST articles by the same author.

Featured image of Yeshe Tsogyal kept at the Tsikey seat of Chokgyur Lingpa.
Bhutan Handbook by Gyurme Dorje.

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  1. Avatar

    yes the image is worth a thousand words

  2. Avatar

    Would you be so kind as to list the other 7 sacred pilgrimage sites in Tibet & Bhutan? Thanks so much.

  3. Avatar

    where in the thangka from? do you have the whole image?

    1. Erik Pema Kunsang

      It is from a very old painting kept at Tsikey in Nangchen. The Chokling Tulku residing there – he has passed away now – kindly allowed me to photograph it.

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