Chungpo Donyoe Dhondup


The peaceful Kingdom of Sang Ling is ruled with wisdom, fairness and adherence to the Buddhist doctrine by the respected King Topkyilha. The King marries Princess Kunsangma who is equally just and kind and who is also loved by the people of Sang Ling. They are happy and almost entirely satisfied with their lives, except for the fact that they have no male heir to inherit the Kingdom.

The Plot

On the advice of his ministers, and in order to be blessed with a son, the King sets off to the island of Kosha to offer prayers. Whilst on the island, the patron deity of Kosha presents himself to the King in a dream and tells him of his future. The King is told that he will have two sons, one the reincarnation of Avalokiteshvara, the God of Compassion, and the other the reincarnation of Manjushri, the God ofWisdom. This knowledge pleased the King greatly.

As was prophesised, the Queen soon gave birth to a son who proved to be a very special child. The very moment he was born he recited the mantra, “Om Mani Padme Hum”. He was named Dhondup, which means “Fulfillment of Desire”. Sadly, when Dhondup was only five years old, his mother died suddenly. Deeply saddened by the death of his beloved queen, the King knew it was necessary to find another wife. The King paid no attention to the fact that she was from a poor, common family. He brought her to the palace, married her and showered her with love.

Nine months and ten days after receiving a prophetic dream that the Goddess Manjushri would be reincarnated as her son, the new Queen, Pemachen, gave birth to a baby boy who was named Dhonyo which means “Attaining Enlightenment”. Dhonyo and his elder brother Dhondup loved each other very much and became inseparable.

One day, Queen Pemachen overheard some of the people of the town saying that Dhondup should be the next king because his mother was a real queen, unlike Pemachen who was only from a common family. Pemachen was saddened by this gossip, and her sadness turned into jealousy and anger.

She devised a plan to get rid of Dhondup and, therefore, clear the way for her own son to become King. She stained her mouth and pretended to be very ill. Naturally, her devoted husband, the King, was worried and promised to do anything to cure her. Pemachen invented a story about Dhondup being the reincarnation of a demon who was tormenting her, just as he had done to his own mother. This seemed to convince the King, who had long looked for a reason why his first wife had died. Still, he was unable to consider killing his son, so instead decided to banish him into the wilderness.

Dhondup accepted his father’s decision graciously, but his young brother Dhonyo was distraught at the thought of being separated from him. Such was the bond between the two special brothers that they set off together with some horses, elephants and a little food, into the unknown dangers of the wilderness.

It was a hard, tough journey and they soon sold their animals and equipment to buy more food. This soon ran out too, and young Dhonyo became weaker and weaker, until he simply could not go on. He died of exhaustion, leaving behind a devastated Dhondup. He placed his brother’s body under a sandalwood tree and built a fence around it to keep the wild animals out. With a heavy heart, he continued on his journey.

Observing from above, two Gods took pity and gave Dhonyo some life giving medicine. Dhonyo came back to his body, his only concern being to find his beloved brother.

Dhondup had walked deliriously for many miles. Luckily he found sanctuary with an old, solitary lama. There, he did find some peace, but he was forever yearning to see his brother again. The lama had a vision one day which told him that Dhonyo was alive and that although the brothers would not meet just yet, their meeting was inevitable in thefuture. Dhondup felt no end of joy at this news.

Meanwhile, the King of the land Yu Ling was perplexed with worry. His kingdom had lately been plagued with natural disasters which had no apparent cause or reason. The only method of averting further disasters, according to a sorcerer, was to sacrifice one boy born in the Year of the Dragon to the nagas (water spirits) who live in the lake.

In the village near the lama’s retreat, Dhondup had become quite well known, especially with the children with whom he played games. He was a talented player and would boast that his skill was a result of being born in the Year of Dragon. Thus, the news soon reached the king’s ears that there was a suitable sacrificial candidate nearby. He sent a posse to capture Dhondup, but he hid, and the lama denied any knowledge of the boy in question. The King’s men threatened to kill the lama and to save his life, Dhondup revealed himself and was forcibly taken to the palace.

Dhondup, being the embodiment of compassion, was extremely likeable, and soon the King’s daughter fell in love with him. The King himself also quite liked Dhondup, but his ministers insisted that the sacrifice take place. Dhondup accepted this seeing the good it would do for the King’s country and people. The Princess, not wanting to be separated from him, sailed out onto the lake with Dhondup, but as soon as she fell asleep, he plunged himself into the water. Being an extraordinary person, he arrived at the Naga’s palace without any physical damage. He stayed with the water spirits for some months, teaching them Buddhist philosophy and in return the Naga King magically transported Dhondup back to the lama’s cave. Their reunion was a joyous one.

Since Dhondup’s sacrifice, the land of Yu Ling had remained peaceful and prosperous. To thank the lama, the King invited him to stay at his palace. The lama requested Dhondup to disguise himself and come with him, and he did as he was asked. Despite the precautions, Dhondup was recognized by the King. However, when the King of Yu Ling was told of Dhondup’s true identity, he forgave him and consented for him to marry his daughter. Shortly after the marriage, the King passed his throne to Dhondup and went with the lama into the mountains to practice Buddhism.

One day, when Dhondup was walking through the forest near where he had last seen his brother, he came upon a man picking fruit from the trees. Imagine Dhondup’s surprise when the man called his name! It was his long lost brother, Dhonyo! They hugged each other, and their joy knew no bounds. Then the two returned to the palace and told everyone of their experiences.

The brothers, back together again were no match for anyone, not even the evil minister Tishue who mounted an attack on Dhondup and his army. He was soundly defeated, but Dhondup, feeling compassion for the minister, accepted him back into his government.

Later the two brothers decided to return to their native land. When they arrived, the King and Queen rejoiced that they were alive and begged for their forgiveness. The King, Topkyilha, who was quite old now, passed on his throne to Dhonyo, and Dhondup went back to his kingdom of Yu Ling.

The two brothers ruled their countries with the Buddhist teachings of compassion, wisdom and justice, and did their best to help all sentient beings. Everyone lived happily ever after.