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Showing posts from August, 2009

THE GIFT OF DEVOTION

(Until the establishment of formal education system in Bhutan in later half of the twentieth century, education in Bhutan was limited to few privileged ones in the monasteries which was run by monks and few learned scholars. Since the disciples mostly lived with the master, they often had to work in their master’s field as they studied. ) …the spring had finally arrived and amidst the splendour of fragrance and colours, the lives began to renew itself. There was a hope clothed in dream and the dream bathed in unknown measure of life. …leaving behind the uncertainties, life still had to be led even if it meant in odd measures of time for everyone. So it says that in a place called Ritsang Dung, some three hours journey from Tashigang Dzong, people were getting ready to live with the times. The plantation of the paddies had already started in the village. The farm hands arrived from neighbors and relatives. They sang in tune with the rhythmic splashes of the mud under their feet and

THE FACE OF FREEDOM

(For centuries, many nobles in Bhutan owned serfs who worked for them. In 1958, the third king, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, in one of the many major social reforms drive, declared freedom to the serfs and also distributed lands to them. This story draws an atmosphere of celebration in the name of the freedom by many serfs who worked in Trashigang Dzong then and became free from the bondage of the lifetime but also paints an image of lives of few who could not adopt to the freedom….) Amidst the splendour of the night, the moon harpooned itself amongst the host of dark clouds. The gentle breeze from Dangmechu below echoed the very silence of souls taking rest after hard work in the fields. This was the night repeated all through life till now from the time unknown, punctuated by bangchen garpas coming from the Punakha. This was one night in early Spring. Every soul was sleeping then when a long note of kangdung could be heard from below the Tashigang Dzong. Immediately there

CALL OF THE SILENCE

(Continued from the book "Shadow Around the Lamp" The night came home again, but this time it was not alone. The anxiety began to dig itself and each drop of rain brought fear. Yangtsho’s father had gone to attend the funeral rites of one of the relatives in the village and he had failed to return even after three days. “Must be gambling somewhere again,” grumbled Yangtsho but there was a hope that he would be here any moment. The fire in the mud stove blazed unwillingly, while kharang, the maize powder turned from gold to coal. Yangtsho sat near the stove warming herself without dinner in an expectation that her father would return home any moment now. She went to sleep waiting for him. Yangtsho have learnt to live life as it came. Her parents had divorced when she was less than five months old and she lived with her mother until she was eleven years of age. Her mother had married again to a village priest who would come home drunk from the houses he would go to perfo

Pilgrimage

(From the book "Shadow Around the Lamp") Many centuries ago, until the invasion of Tibet in the nineteen fifties, the Bhutanese went on pilgrimage to Tsari Rongkor in Tibet. Unlike the annual ritual held in Bodh Gaya these days, the Tsari Rongkor pilgrimage was hosted one time every twelve years in the year of the monkey. Tsari Rongkor, which lies to the south of Tibet, is a pilgrimage site dedicated to Vajra Warahi, a Dakini popularly known as Dorji Phagmo . This is a place of three-layered cliffs. Women and children can only go as far as the middle layer since the third layer is open only to men. Bhutanese from all over the country traveled to Tsari Rongkor on foot carrying their own provisions of food which lasted for two to three months. All the pilgrims, coming from various parts of the country, met at a particular place on the appointed day before they finally began their pilgrimage. When all the people had finally gathered, they made an agreement with the l

timeless diary

(This is a story of a teacher who struggled to keep balance in her life. The names of the people have been changed upon request and the narration kept in first person to make it easier to read) Finally, the long wait was over. We had waited for three days to get our appointment and placement letter and here it was. The Dzongkhag Education Officer gave us a letter each and wished us luck. As immediately as I received the letter, I felt different. We were four of us; two women and two men. I was posted at Trashigang Jr. High School while the rest were posted at Jigme Sherubling High School. All of us were excited. We were teachers now but more than my friends, I had many reasons to be happy. That night after the dinner, I left my friends at hotel room and took a long walk alone along the road towards Trashigang- Samdrup Jongkha highways. For one brief moment, I wanted to feel the cold wind touch my shoulder and take me wherever it went. I had neve

Lotus Garden Story

(This story is a summarised version of the story called “Dramatic Performance in the Lotus Garden’’ being written by Patrul Rinpoche after being requested by a boy called Tashi Gelek.) ...dangpo dingpoooooo, there was a very beautiful forest at the foot of a very tall snow-clad mountain. In that forest lived a very young boy called Gakey Thaye Gyamtsho. He spent his days meditating in peace. When he did not meditate, he loved travelling and meeting people. He was a very intelligent and a friendly boy. Everyone who came across Gakey liked him. Some distance from his hermitage, there was a very beautiful garden where many kinds of flowers grew in abundance. In the garden was a beautiful pond filled with many beautiful lotus growing. Then one day, there came many swarms of honey bees zooming and playing in the forest and garden. Amongst these bees, two honeybees called Peta and Petu lived together as friends. Both the bees were young, full of energy, cleve

Cost of Fine Grains……

This story is set amidst the backdrop of Bhutan some thirty years ago. Those days, it was like dawn for Bhutan. Some of the students whom Lopen Nado , Father Mackey and many Canadian Jesuit Evangelists had forcefully enrolled in the school had just completed some schooling. Now they were getting employed. All of those people who quit school got job easily because the government was short of manpower then. Life was hard though because the salary was minimum but the needs were also basic then. During those days, there were few BGTS ( Bhutan Government Transport Service) bus and trucks. There was no scent of any cars. Phuntsho was a driver of one of the trucks which belonged to PWD. Truck driving was like being a pilot of a plane then. He had opportunities to travel all across the country and make some money ferrying people. Those who could afford paid him some money while he never took money from students and poor villagers. Instead he gave some pocket mone

Wasted

Name : Dhendup... Age: Twenty Three... Qualification: Class XI appeared....appeared occasionally.... Meet Dhendup. No one knew his real name in school. They knew him very well though. He was “Centre Shock” in school. With one full container of Gel gone into maintaining his spike like hairs, his name did send some message. As a local guardian, I was called by the school Principal to discuss him. There was nothing to discuss. Dhendup had made up his mind to do something else than going to school. I called his family and let them know that the Principal had called me to discuss him. Dhendup’s family were my family friends and we were quite close. I had known Dhendup from the day he was born. On the way to school I met my subject of discussion. He was with a group of friends drinking some coke in one of the shops near the school. Well, coke don’t make one squint. But his eyes were squint and talked no sense. There was no point talking to him.

Waking Up in the Realm of the Gods- Contributed by Tashi Pem

Death…Buddhists believe, is not the end of life. It is the beginning of another journey whose path is designated by the way you have led your past life. I shelved the message somewhere at the back of my mind. When the face of death is lined with years of life, people say, “it was time”. When the face of death has no trace of time, people say, “it was fate”. At such time, I came empty handed wherever I looked for a recess because somewhere along the way, I had lost the precious gift of faith. There were always plenty of excuses in mundane significances. No efforts made at taking pause. The temples on the top of the hills were retreating. Personal connections made in a moment of prayer were lost. Values starting to get over-ridden with borrowed opinions. I started to look for refuge in the shelved message for something to desperately believe in. Anything that would give a semblance of reason to why a handsome young man…full of dreams, loving and loved…should stop living. Anything that