The Dance of King Gesar of Ling
Statue of King Gesar in Dzogchen Monastery’s Protector Temple
King Gesar of Ling is considered an emanation of Guru Rinpoche. He is a timeless hero and protector who relieves the sufferings of every living being. The legend of King Gesar dates back over 1,000 years and is claimed to be the longest epic in the world, much longer than Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey and the Indian epic Mahabharata. The legend is preserved in hand printed scriptures, by storytellers and by the lama dancers of Dzogchen Monastery.
The world famous dance of King Gesar originated in Dzogchen Monastery and the tradition subsequently passed on to many of Dzogchen’s branch monasteries throughout Tibet. Since the first re-enactment in Dzogchen, dances have been performed annually at Tibetan New Year.
The dance of King Gesar was revealed in the meditative visions of the Fifth Dzogchen Rinpoche Thupten Choki Dorje in the nineteenth century. According to these visions eighty unique dance masks were made, all with different characteristics and expressions. Since that time the tradition of the dance of King Gesar has spread to over one hundred neighbouring monasteries. The dance of King Gesar is particularly special because it not only re-enacts the legends of the Kingdom of Ling but combines them with the secret and holy dances of the vajra deities. This makes the dance not only spectacular to watch but also a source of great blessing.
Dzogchen monastery has also been the source of many written works upon the subject of King Gesar. Among the most famous are texts those composed by the First Dzogchen Rinpoche Pema Rigzin, Patrul Rinpoche, Great Khenpo Pema Banza, Mipham Rinpoche and the Fifth Dzogchen Rinpoche Tupten Choki Dorje.
Read the biography of the Fifth Dzogchen Rinpoche