The practice of making dorjé pünsing relationship is believed to have started during the time of Drogön Tsangpa Gyaré (1161-1211), founder of the Drukpa Kagyü Buddhist tradition. It is said that when Tsangpa Gyaré was meditating under a tree in Tibet, seven Buddhas (Sanggyé Rapdün) appeared and revealed to him the sacred Temdrel Rapdün (རྟེན་འབྲེལ་རབ་བདུན་), or the Seven Auspicious Teachings on Dependent Origination. This is when the tradition of concluding every important religious teaching with a dorjé pünsing, or adamantine brother/sisterhood ceremony, is said to have started.
In this kind of ceremony, seven individuals who follow the same guru and are initiated into the same mandala (དཀྱིལ་འཁོར་), are united as spiritual brothers and sisters through the blessings of the guru. In Vajrayāna, the guru represented the father, the mandala, the mother and receiving teachings and empowerment from guru in the presence of the mandala symbolizes one's rebirth as a spiritual practitioner. Keeping one’s samaya (pledge) is a successful spiritual practice, because maintaining one's samaya not only boosts spiritual development but also promotes harmony within the sangha.
The practice of dorjé pünsing could also be seen as a method of promoting harmony and spiritual growth through keeping samaya vows. It is believed that, once people take part the ceremony, it binds the relationship into future incarnations.
During the ceremony, the crowd will form groups of seven with the blessing from the Jé Khenpo and they become dorjé brothers and sisters. Thus, often seven strangers unite in the presence of His Holiness to become spiritual brothers and sisters across lifetimes.
After people become dorjé brothers and sisters, they treat each other as spiritual siblings and often carry social connections even deeper than biological siblings.
Phub Dorji Wang is a freelance writer on Bhutanese religion and culture.