The Birth Anniversary of Guru Rinpoche is an official public holiday in the Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan. It celebrates the birth of Padmasambhava, who is credited with introducing Buddhism to Bhutan.
|2019||11 Jul||Thu||Birth Anniversary of Guru Rinpoche|
|2020||30 Jun||Tue||Birth Anniversary of Guru Rinpoche|
Padmasambhava is referred to as Guru Rinpoche, meaning “precious master”, in Tibet and Bhutan. He is thought to have been born on day ten of month six of the Buddhist Calendar. On the Western Calendar, that generally works out to some time in June or July.
The legend has it that Padmasambhava turned his wife into a flying tiger and then flew on her back all the way to Bhutan. Once there, he is said to have spent over three years in intense meditation in a cave. Paro Taktsang monastery was later built on the site of that cave, according to tradition. The monastery is often called, “The Tiger’s Nest”.
Padmasambhava is credited with disseminating Buddhism throughout Bhutan and with taming the opposition of demonic forces that disliked his new religion. Tibetan Buddhism is now the state religion of Bhutan, and Padmasambhava is honoured with the title “precious master” or “precious teacher”.
On the Birth Anniversary of Guru Rinpoche, there are special religious rituals performed at temples all across Bhutan. Most people in the country see this holiday as one of the most important on the calendar.