In a serene and symbolic gathering, the 7th Moenlam Chenmo, also known as the “Great Prayer Festival,” commenced in the enchanting town of Punakha, marking an auspicious occasion in the heart of Bhutan. The festival, a harmonious convergence of spirituality and tradition, is set to unfold over six days at the sacred Thangzona Choekhang.
The announcement of this spiritual extravaganza resonated across social media platforms, with the Punakha Dzongkhag Administration and Bhutan Broadcasting Service (BBS) extending their virtual arms to thousands of devotees associated with Punakha’s monastic authorities, temples, and teaching centers. A staggering 7,000 individuals have flocked to the town, highlighting the profound significance of Moenlam Chenmo in the hearts of the Bhutanese people.
Under the spiritual guidance of His Holiness the 70th Je Khenpo, Tulku Jigme Chhoeda, this ceremony has become a cornerstone in the fabric of Bhutanese culture. Introduced across the country’s 20 districts, it stands as a testament to Je Khenpo’s transformative reforms and commitment to national development.
The Moenlam Chenmo is not merely a religious event; it serves as a bridge between the spiritual and the temporal, embodying the unity of “sangha and state.” With around 700 monks and nuns participating, the festival radiates positive energy to foster national unity, harmony, and extend prayers for world peace.
Sangay Dorji, the Laytshog Lopen of the Central Monastic Body, holds the reins of this annual event. As BBS shared on its Facebook page, “. . . the Monlam Chenmo at Punakha began with His Eminence Rinpoche Sangay Dorji presiding over the opening ceremony. The Monlam Chenmo is a Great Prayer for World Peace that is held annually in Punakha and 20 other districts of Bhutan.”
Rebecca Wong, a devoted student of Sangay Dorji, described her teacher as the most senior master among the top officials of Bhutan’s Central Monastic Body. She highlighted his pivotal role in overseeing all sangha-related activities, including administration and development.
Dara Yangchen, the daughter of local Bhutanese teacher Lama Tshewang Dorji, emphasized the cultural significance of Moenlam Chenmo. “This ceremony plays a very important role in our Bhutanese culture. The intention is to remove all negative energies and bless our people with virtue and merit by coming together,” she shared with Buddhistdoor Global. During this profound ritual, the participants recite and dedicate the King of Aspiration Prayer to the welfare of all beings, bringing joy and peace to both loved ones and strangers alike.
As the 7th Moenlam Chenmo unfolds in the picturesque town of Punakha, it not only reinforces Bhutan’s rich spiritual heritage but also sends forth a powerful message of unity, peace, and goodwill to the world.