Stok gompa is a subsidiary of Spituk
and both were founded by the same lama, Nawang Lotus, during the
reign of King Takpa Bumbde. The oldest parts of the gompa are some
550 years old though the main Dukhang is only about fifty years
old. Stok belongs to the yellow-hat sect of Buddhism and has about
20 lamas living there.Entering the central courtyard with its tall
prayer flag pole, the main Dukhang is up a short flight of steps.
The entrance verandah has new and colorful mural paintings of the
Guardians of the Four Directions. Inside, the Dukhang has been recently
repainted and the room is decorated with numerous banners and thankas.
The entrance wall on either side of the door depicts various guardian
dividities. On the left side wall the central image is of Vajrapani
(Vajra-in-Hand), while the image on the left is that of Avalokitesvara
(also known as the "Lord of All He Surveys", believed
to be reincarnated in the Dalai Lama and the throneto the right
is for the head lama of Stok.
On the right is an impressive image
of Yamadhaka, a guardian divinity. There is a small chapel behind
the Dukhang, entered through doors by the side of the throne seats.
This chapel is the oldest part of the gompa. Its central image is
of Tsong-kha-pa, the founder of the yellow-hat sect of Tibetan Buddhism.
To the right of this two-storey high image are three small statues:
a yellow-hat lama and two of Sakyamuni. To the left of the central
image is another yellow-hat lama, Avalokitesvara in his four-armed
manifestation and Maityreya, the Future Buddha or Buddha of Compassion.
By the wall on the right is an image of the founder, Nawang Lotus.
Leave the Dukhang and go immediately to the right through a low
door. On the right is a small chapel with a row of Buddha images
that depict the eight hand gestures of Buddha. Unfortunately, the
Buddhas are covered with cloth so most of the gestures are not visible.
Masks used during Stok's January festival are seen hanging from
the pillars in this room. Leaving this chapel, go up the stairs
in front of it for two flight of steps, emerging on a small upper
courtyard. Straight across the courtyard area is a door leading
to the head lama's apartment. This room is decorated with several
thankas but is mostly notable for the intricate woodcarving on the
two low tables in front of the seat. A door on the left side of
the courtyard opens onto the gompa's library. This room has a complete
set of the Kandshur, the 108 volumes of the Buddha's teachings.
The central image in this library is of Sakyamuni (the Historical
Buddha). Return to the main courtyard and to the left of the Dukhang
is a new temple dedicated to Avalokitesvara. This temple has a new
and large image of Avalokitesvara with his 1,000 arms (to demonstrate
his enormous strength) and 11 heads. On either side of this image
are numerous small stucco images of lamas and Buddas.