Pray to Conceive at the Chimi Lhakhang

For couples who longed to have children, miracles were said to have happened after they have received fertility blessings at the Chimi Lhakhang. There were even stories of childless women from afar such as the US, Europe and Japan who have had success conceiving after just one visit.

Chimi Lhakhang is also known as the Fertility Temple. (Source: https://www.drukasia.com/)

Origins of Chimi Lhakhang

Located near Lobesa in the Punakha District of Bhutan, Chimi Lhakhang, also known as the Fertility Temple, was constructed in 1499 by the 14th Drukpa, Ngawang Choegyel.

The hilly site was chosen as the grounds was blessed by the ‘Divine Madman’, the maverick Saint Drukpa Kuenley who has also built a chorten (a mound-like structure) and a stupa here.

Who is Drukpa Kuenley?

Widely known as the ‘Divine Madman’ for his unconventional way of imparting the values of Buddhism, Drukpa Kuenley preached by way of singing and acting using mad antics often tinged with bizarre sexual overtones.

Drukpa Kuenley’s bawdy tactics is a clean break away from the rigidity of the prevailing Buddhist priests which he felt was actually distancing people from the true teachings of Buddha.

The Divine Madman’s methods won the hearts of many in Bhutan, so much so that he is regarded as one of the most revered and followed saint.

The phallus – symbol of Drukpa Kuenley

Chimi Lhakhang is the repository of the original wooden phallus which the Divine Madman brought from Tibet. Hence, Drukpa Kuenley is associated with the phallic symbol.

When travelling around Bhutan, it is not unusual to see the paintings of the phallic symbol on the walls of houses and restaurants. If one pays close attention, one can also observe these flying wooden phalluses on the top four corners of houses.

Traditionally, Bhutanese believe that these phallic symbols help to dispel evil and to drive malicious gossip away.

In fact, there are also numerous shops selling the phallic symbol as souvenirs in the form of key chains or wooden sculptures. Indeed, the legacy of the Divine Madman can be felt in almost all corners of Bhutan.

The fascinating story behind Chimi Lhakhang

The Bhutanese name Chimi Lhakhang is literally translated as the ‘No Dog Temple’. With such an interesting name, the legend behind it proved no less intriguing.

According to local myth, a vile demoness by the name of Loro Duem resided in the high pass of Dochu La and she used to terrorise all those who attempted to cross this pass. To compound the matter, there were two more demonesses who lived in two smaller passes. As a result, the folks in the valley lived in constant fear and misery.

When Drukpa Kuenley first stepped foot in Bhutan, he heard about these demonesses and the sufferings they have been causing. Thus, he made his way to Dochu La where upon his arrival, the three demonesses recognised him and his divine power. They tried escaping to the valley but two of the demonesses actually ‘dissolved’ into the body of Loro Duem.

Upon reaching the steppes of Lobesa, Loro Duem morphed herself into a dog to disguise herself. Her attempt failed as Drukpa Kuenley recognised the demoness and subdued her with his ‘magic thunderbolt of wisdom’ which refers to his penis.

The Divine Madman then buried the demoness under a mound of a hill which he claimed resembled the breast of a woman. On the spot, Drukpa Kuenley said ‘Chi-mi’ which means ‘No dog’ and built a chorten on top of the mound.

Drukpa Kuenley also ensured that the demoness pledge her service to Buddha and to be a protector of the Dharma before burying her. Till today, the demoness is known as the local deity - Chhoekim and she is also the guardian of Chimi Lhakhang.

Pray for babies at this Fertility Temple

For couples who longed to have children, miracles were said to have happened after they have received fertility blessings at the Chimi Lhakhang. There were even stories of childless women from afar such as the US, Europe and Japan who have had success conceiving after just one visit.

The procedure is unique and interesting. Women who visit this Buddhist monastery seeking blessings to conceive will first be hit on the head with a 10 inch phallus made of wood and ivory by a presiding Lama. This is followed by being hit by a bow and arrow which was purportedly used by the Divine Madman – Drukpa Kuenley himself hundreds of years ago.  

It is also customary for babies who were born as a result of having received blessings from Chimi Lhakhang to be brought for blessings in the first six years. Moreover, such babies often called ‘Chimi Lhakhang’ babies are sometimes named ‘Kinley’ which means ‘kind-hearted’ and ‘Chimi’ which means ‘No Dog’.

Besides praying for babies, those who already have children can also request for their protection. Women who are keen to adopt Bhutanese names for their child can also do a random pick of bamboo slips inscribed with the names of boys and girls.

While the Chimi Lhakhang is famed for its fertility blessings, it also fulfils other spiritual and religious needs of the Bhutanese as well.

Moreover, the simplicity of the architecture of Chimi Lhakhang radiates a form of beauty which blends nicely with the serene environment.

Getting there

DrukAsia provides reliable guides who can accompany visitors through a 20 minutes hike across the fields of the village of Sopsokha to Chimi Lhakhang situated atop a rotund hill.

The knowledgeable guides will also be able to answer questions regarding the historical background and myths of Chimi Lhakhang.

Prior to the hike, it is possible to drop by the Chimi Lhakhang Teahouse to have a hearty lunch made with fresh local produce and Bhutanese rice.

After the trip to Chimi Lhakhang, a visit to this same teahouse allows one to relax and have a drink while enjoying the scenic view of the Fertility Temple. The entire village exudes much tranquillity which will certainly calm one’s soul.

 

Written by Zann for the New Bhutan Times.


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