Gallery IX – Maitreya Lhakhang

Buddha embodied himself in Guru Rinpoche as a being who could be effective in this world in order to spread the teaching of Buddhism. Like Buddha Shakyamuni, Guru Rinpoche grew up as a prince in a small monarchy in India before he was initiated into the Buddhist teachings. In the eighth century his reputation as a Tantric master with magical powers spreads as far away as the Himalayas. He was duly called upon by a Tibetan King to propagate Buddhism and to pacify the malevolent gods which inhabited the region. A rich body of legends relates how Guru Rinpoche wandered throughout the entire Himalayan region vanquishing many of the local deities whom he then integrated into the Buddhist system of belief, thus amalgamating the wisdom of Buddhism with these pre- Buddhist beliefs. He founded a form of Buddhism that conformed to the spiritual world of that time. This has remained alive and shapes, now as then, the life of the people of the Himalayas.

Guru Rinpoche was also active in the province of Trongsa, subduing the divine proprietor of the province and making him a servant of Buddhism in his wonted manner. Various manifestations of the Guru are representations of his realization of particular aspects of Buddhism depending on specific situations that arose during his spiritual life.