|Before, 12 Sci C, 2010|
This gate stood mighty and firm for so many years. It was often the favourite spot for the students to take photographs before it - souvenirs after graduation. The gate proudly posed behind many to grace the people in the photographs. And people knew it was Punakha HSS because of the Gate, it was Phunakha’s face for so many years.
|A Buddhist Gate. Courtesy Google image|
The Gate didn’t have our traditional architectural feature but it had deeper expressions of what is rooted in us as Buddhist, The Wheel of Dharma. The Dharmacakra on three flying banners adorned the Gate and it took the school to many a great heights blessing everyone who passed under it. Doing some reading on the Wheel I found out that the Wheel is also known as The Dharmacakra which is represented as a chariot wheel (Sanskrit cakram) with eight or more spokes. It is one of the oldest known Buddhist symbols found in Indian art, appearing during the time of the Buddhist king Aśoka. The Dharmacakra has been used by all Buddhist nations as a symbol ever since. In its simplest form, the Dharmacakra is recognized globally as a symbol for Buddhism. All Buddhists agree that the original turning of the wheel occurred when the Buddha taught the five ascetics who became his first disciples at the Deer Park in Sarnath. In memory of this, the Dharmacakra is sometimes represented with a deer on each side.
Although the Gate in my school did not have a deer on each side it nonetheless represented the most sacred aspect of Buddhism. It had aged and had grown as familiar as a land mark, that it is difficult not to see it there today. It was the last of its kind; the others that I am aware of were the ones before Yangchenphu Higher Secondary School in Thimphu and Jigmesherubling Higher Secondary School in Khaling, Tashigang.