Pangzampa –the deity of Kangpara

Pangzampa is the local deity of Kangpara areas. He was believed to be a skilled blacksmith. It is being said that people could borrow pots and pans from Pangzampa. They only had to go near his citadel and ask for it and wait with their back towards the citadel. The things they asked would be there when they were about to return. People believe that the deities no longer provide such facilities now because people didn’t return the things that they took.

Similarly, Sakharpa, who lives at the foot of hills facing Udzorong in Trashigang also used to provide utensils and things to the people. He also stopped providing help obviously for the same reason that Pangzampa stopped providing help to the people of Kangpara.

Pangzampa used to have his abode in Wakhar under Nanong Gewog in Pema Gatshel. He afflicted people with diseases if people did not make offerings. He could only be appeased if live cattle and paddy was provided. This became too much for poor local people to bear. So they decided to chase him away by stopping offerings. Instead, they stationed the blacksmiths near his abode so that the sound of the hammer hitting the iron would disturb him. Locals also built their pig sty near the lake to pollute the lake and asked the women to wash the clothes, especially those worn during the menstruations time. It was too much for Pangzampa to bear. So he decided to relocate himself.

He first sent out his retinues-the giant toads, snakes and other reptiles and then he followed them. When the people saw him coming out in the form of a man, the people chased him- the blacksmiths with hammers, the women with hot waters and the children with hot ashes. One blacksmith hurled a hammer at him and it is said that it hit Pangzampa’s leg which made him limp with pain. Today, when Pangzampa afflicts people, they usually have leg pain. People know that it is Pangzampa that is affecting him or her and they make appeasements.

Pangzampa is said to have escaped to Bamshing, previously under Wamrong Dungkhag. There also he got the same treatment and was chased away. Finally he settled down in Kangpara.

It is here that he was subdued by Lama Dongrechen, who was the emanation of Guru Rinpoche.

The legend of Lama Dongrechen is equally appealing as the legend of Pangzampa himself. Lama Dongrechen was born to a widow in Chenla. Chenla is a high mountain pass and also was an ancient trade route from where the traders frequently traveled to India and brought back many things like betel leaves, areca nuts, dried fishes, cotton yarns and rice. Lama Dongrechen’s mother one day envied her neighbours who ate fishes and lamented that she could not even catch a fish from the river let alone buying a imported dried fish for her son.

The son told her mother that he would go to India and get everything she wanted. The very next day he left carrying some stale food for lunch. It usually took travelers about a week to go and come back but when her son returned on the same evening with all the things, which could last them for months, she grew suspicious. However, when he started showing miraculous powers, his mother and the people started having faith in him and believed that he must be the incarnation of some lamas.

The child grew up to be a very handsome young man. Those days Kangpara suffered from lack of water. They teased the young boy saying that a lama of his stature was useless if he could not take out water miraculously and benefit people. The young lama promised to help people. In presence of all the people, he plucked out a huge boulder shouting “ Shor…shor” and there rushed a huge volume of water, bigger than the river. The people were terrified. They begged the lama to return the water to its sources. It is being said that if the people had not begged the lama to return the water, Kangpara would have had abundant water which would have helped people in farming. They only have small source of water now.

Then one day, the people of Kangpara came to lama and appealed him to subdue the deity Pangzampa who was causing them much suffering. Lama Dongrechen agreed. When lama arrived at the abode of the Pangzampa, he was told that Pangzampa had gone out to hunt and would return very soon. So the lama waited near the abode.

Pangzampa arrived in the evening. He had a retinue of followers. Pangzampa himself rode a black steed. As soon as the steed arrived near the abode, it neighed twice. During the first neigh, the deity dismounted from the horse. When he dismounted, the whole earth trembled. During the second neigh, he turned into a giant serpent and disappeared into the cave, his abode.

The lama meditated at the head of the giant cave and forced the deity to come out. When he did, he had come out as human being and challenged the lama. Two of them fought until all the vegetations nearby were destroyed.

The deity took several forms of the animals but everytime he did that, lama changed himself into superior animal and finally he was subdued.

After he was subdued, he was made to take oath. Lama Dongrechen promised to give him the symbolic representations of the live animals and other offerings instead of the actual paddy field and animals. It is being said that the ritual cake for Pangzampa would consists of land like features with some twigs planted to represent the orchards and some dough kneaded to represent the cattle. Since then, Pangzampa also became the propitiator of the Buddha dharma.

Lama Dongrechen is also known to have met Guru Rinpoche in person and talked with him one day in Chenla. After they had talked, Lama Dongrechen appealed for some kind of proof to show the common people so that they could believe that he had met him. It is being said that Guru Rinpoche granted his wish by leaving a foot print on a stone slab to mark the meeting of Lama Dongrechen and Guru Rinpoche as a proof.


Popular Posts