Drachi Lhamo: Young Mistress of the Qing Dynasty
During the Qing Dynasty, Emperor Qianlong had multiple concubines, among whom was the youngest, known for her youth, beauty, and kindness. She was highly cherished by Emperor Qianlong and was his constant companion. (This was not the same concubine who stayed by the shore of Daming Lake.)
However, the eldest concubine was jealous and resentful of the young concubine’s favour with the emperor. She falsely accused the young concubine of a crime and had her thrown into prison. She even attempted to poison her, but the poison did not work, causing the young concubine’s tongue to turn black and forcing her to spit it out, which led to her death.
The other concubines feared that the young concubine would reveal their involvement in her death, so they cut off her feet and left her to die alone.
The young concubine’s spirit was unable to find peace due to the injustice done to her. She became a vengeful ghost and appeared near the palace every night, causing fear and panic among the people.
To resolve this issue, Emperor Qianlong called upon Tibetan Buddhist monks to come to Fuyao and conduct a longevity ritual for the emperor. Sera Temple’s Je Dratsang Khenbo Jampa Minlam was invited to attend.
Upon arriving in Beijing, the master offered a prayer and blessing to the female ghost, which forced her to appear and kneel down. The ghost revealed that she was unjustly imprisoned and poisoned to death. Feeling compassion, the master follows the ritual to calm the resentment of the angry spirit. The young concubine requested the master to come together to Tibet.
However, the journey to Tibet is so distant that the young mistress cannot make it on foot. While passing through a vegetable market, the elder monk procured two chicken legs for her and they continued their journey to Tibet together.
Upon arrival in Lhasa, they found that the golden roof of the Sera Temple was not a fitting place for the young mistress’s soul. With the permission of the local master Sajong, they settled in the Drapchi temple and became guardians of the local people, received support from the community.
Presently, Drapchi Lhamo sticks out his tongue and has two chicken feet.
Rituals in Drachi Temple
Drapchi Temple serves as a dependent temple of Sera Monastery, with the appointment of its monks being overseen by Sera Monastery. The central focus of the temple hall is on statues of Guru Rinpoche, Yamantaka, and Other Great Tibetan Buddhist masters. However, unique to Dachi Temple are the statues of Drachi Lhamo and the Guardian kings, located on either side of the entrance, which are worshipped by visitors.
The monks of Drachi Temple recite scriptures that are similar to those of other Geluk sects’ temples, including Sera Monastery. However, the temple is particularly known for Drachi Lhamo’s ability to fulfil worldly desires, making it a popular destination for those seeking blessings. Visitors can provide the names of loved ones to the monks, who will recite scriptures and offer appropriate guidance.
Upon entering the temple, visitors can participate in a standard Buddha ceremony. A wooden box filled with coins is available for donation, one can exchange the 10 yuan note for 100 notes of cents. Visitors can either count the coins themselves or seek assistance from an available attendant.
Following a ritual of paying homage to the Buddha, there is a steep staircase on the left side of the entrance adorned with Tibetan features. Ascend two floors to reach the second level where two Buddhist temples can be consecutively prostrated before. Descend another steep staircase to arrive at the actual main hall of Drachi Temple.
Guru Temple is home to Buddha Shakyamuni statues and bodhisattvas. The chapel also contains a woodcut rendition of Kangyur and Tengyur inscribed in gold ink, among other items. It is suggested to stoop and walk beneath the scriptures while meditating on Buddhisatva Manjushri’s Mantra: Om Ara Baza Nadi.
Prior to the national examination for High School, many students visit Drachi Temple to get help purportedly with exceptional results. After traversing the temple’s circuit and passing through the room with large meridian Prayer wheels, one can turn thrice, seven times, nine times…
Goddess of Fortune
Over 20 years ago, Han people who travel and conducted business in Lhasa learned that the god of the mainland is also revered in Tibet. Feeling intrigued, they visited Zhaji Temple to pay their respects.
Many Chinese believers seek both wealth and fortune, and they frequently visit Taoist temples. Interestingly, businessmen bring liquor offerings to worship at Drachi Lhamo Temple, and they all make a fortune. Word spread quickly, and the temple’s incense offerings became very prosperous.
It’s not just about money, as many students strive for good grades in the middle school entrance exam also visit here every year.
Dachi Lhamo Temple is one of the few temples that doesn’t charge admission, so tourists often visit. Local people line up here every morning, but Wednesday is particularly special because it’s the birthday of His Holiness.
Money isn’t everything, but it’s certainly necessary. Drachi Lhamo Temple will truly fulfil the wishes of contemporary needs.