Four hundred buddhist novices live in the trashi chhoe dzong, the majestic fortress monastery which is the icon of Bhutan. Their conditions are unhygienic and their cooking arrangements threaten fire in the ancient wood structure of the dzong. The new design for the Dharma Sthal moves the monk's quarters and dining across the wang chhu to its own precinct, connected by an ancient wood bridge.
The circular shape is symbolic of the Buddha himself who was known as a flying wheel, or chakravartin, who could cut through ignorance and spread enlightenment. The parts of the wheel also symbolize the phases of a monk's evolution, with the hub symbolizing ethical principles. The eight spokes reflect the eight fold path, as well as the spreading of the teachings. Finally the rim signifies meditative concentration and discipline. In the design, which has been approved by his majesty and Bhutan's spiritual leader, the je kenpo, there is an opening toward the pointed apex of the main temple of Bhutan, the sacred utse! The dharma sthal sits in a "deer park," reminiscent of the deer forest at sarnath where lord Buddha revealed the four noble truths and the eight fold path in his sermon of the turning of the wheel!