The 12m by 16m brocade painting is uncovered once a year on the occasion of the festival. People believe that it contains the power of liberation.
The Thongdrol was created by 60 Indian artisans and is recognised as the largest of its kind by Vietkings, Việt Nam’s record organisation.
On the occasion, the Great Avalokitesvara Gemstone Mandala, which is 9m in length is also displayed for public viewing.
“This year is a very special year. The pig (of the lunar calendar) represents wisdom and prosperity, so this year is a very special year for all of us to generate wisdom and prosperity,” said Gyalwang Drukpa.
“I hope all of Việt Nam will take the opportunity to come and participate.”
According to Buddhist astrology, this year is the year of the female pig, which brings an abundance of female energy, which represents wisdom, according to Thích Nữ Bảo Tâm, representative of Tây Thiên Grand Mandala Stupa.
“It is said to be a year of development and accomplishment. Thus this is a very favourable time for us to practice wisdom in action, in spreading love and compassion, in bringing peace and happiness to all people and beings.”
“With the presence of Gyalwang Drukpa and Sangha members at the holy Stupa, the expansion of the site with the opening ceremony of the Great Bliss bridge, the consecration of the Guru Palace… all of these together will bring unparalleled blessings, turning the Stupa into a gathering point of ultimate wisdom and compassion, radiating the blessings to liberate from sufferings and fulfill all wishes.”
The Avalokiteshvara Festival will last for three days. On the first day of the event, nearly 10,000 Buddhists and visitors were in attendance. It is estimated that 15,000-20,000 people will flock to the festival during the weekend.
Art performances dedicated to the Buddha and Avalokiteshvara will take place during the festival, performed by the monks, nuns and singers Quang Thọ and Phương Nga.
The Gyalwang Drukpa will be taking part in extensive peace prayers, public talks, and teachings throughout Việt Nam during his current visit, spanning from February 20 to March 13.
Accordingly, he will host talkshows about happiness, the environment and wildlife protection.
The 12th Gyalwang Drukpa, Jigme Pema Wangchen, is the current lineage holder. He was born in India in 1963.
Big picture: The Thongdrol is uncovered to bring the power of "liberation through seeing" and blessing. — Photo courtesy of the organizer