Known as the happiest place on earth the country of Bhutan situated near India and Nepal has approximately 700,000 residents most of whom are practicing Buddhists. When I arrived in the Washington D.C. area to visit my brother I learned they were having a mall exhibit in June and July of 2008.
Upon getting off the metro-subway I walked several hundred feet to discover a Buddhist temple which was given to the United States as a gift from the King of Bhutan. As I went through the temple I was greeted by several monks and could not help but be a bit awestruck by their colorful paintings and elaborate gold altar. It seemed to be a gift from the Gods.
Sitting on the floor were several monks playing a variety of instruments and chanting with a melodious background of drums and long horns. A female monk was handing out wrist bands as you passed in front of the altar. The entire experience was bright, colorful, and magical.
After leaving the Buddhist Temple I proceeded to the large congregation tent which had a brightly decorated Buddhist entrance. Sitting on the front row I watched Buddhist dance troops, from the four distinct areas of Bhutan, dance and act with devilish looking ceremonial masks and the most colorful costumes you could imagine. Just when you thought the dancing would end another Bhutan group of dancers would descend on center stage and begin to whirl to the live drum beats and melodic rhythms from the musicians. I can assure you they have no need to join Gold’s Gym and I only wish I had a way to bottle their endless energy.
From there I went through the Dragon entrance and made my way through their various craft tents. One monk was sand painting one of the most intricate and colorful sand paintings your mind could conceive. He told me had about 30 more hours to complete the work of art. Of course if you really tune into the big picture what they are really representing is the act of impermanence. When the festival is over the sand painting will be dust in the wind.
The next tent had a female yak herder showing how they lived with a simple tent and a cooking pot. I asked if she got cold and she smiled and said no! The Buddhists don’t even have a word for depression. This plays into the fact that they have inherited a very high level of consciousness and maintain a very disciplined work ethic that includes the entire family. You could make the statement that it’s in the air –you can actually feel the good vibes as you speak with them and learn about their culture.
The next tent had a series of Bhutan artists painting intricate and colorful paintings and making pottery by hand without a wheel. From there I witnessed loom making cloth and monks painting gold leaf on a Buddha.
I next witnessed a form of construction where thy use two by six lumber and then attach bamboo inside sideways which they then use pressed mud-clay to strengthen the walls—similar to our Southwest adobe construction. They also have wooden molds to make all of their bricks from the earthen clay. One of the monks volunteered if you wanted to build a house in Bhutan you had to ask permission from the gods—I said under my breath— no different than going through the building department in Florida.
I ended the Bhutan Buddhist festival by attending a panel lecture series on Buddhist life. One person asked how long it took for reincarnation and the monk answered by saying:” it depended on the person, the situation, their state of mind, and many other conditions. Some could become a God immediately, others were in a waiting area and the time varied from immediately to 49 days.” My only hope is that if I have to wait 49 days I get something good because my immediate koan task is to learn patience.
So there you have it —if you can’t actually travel to the country in question and a Buddhist festival comes to your area—by all means go there and enjoy learning about the Buddhist culture and their way of life. Who knows you might learn something that could benefit yourself and mankind.
QUOTE: Zen is simply –that state of centeredness which is here and now.
THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: Reading a daily dose of the I Ching will set you free!
THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Lion Fish! Dive down and capture as many Lion Fish as you can catch in the Atlantic ocean. During one of the hurricanes that recently hit Florida a few Lion Fish escaped from an aquaraium and are gowing wild eating all the fish they can find on our reefs. They also have no known predators in the Atlantic Ocean, but were kept under check in the Pacific Ocean due to the natural laws of nature. Catch em, bag em and turn them into the local Fish and Wildlife officials.
ZENTRAVELER SAYS:You are what you eat and you are what they eat which includes antibiotics, poor grade animal feeds and more. Don’t you think it’s time to start growing your own garden. You can start by growing your own bean sprouts, a cherry tomato plant and expand from there. Soon you will have so many veggies you can start givng them away.
From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone and on and on and on.
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