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Taklung Tshetrul Rinpoche Passed Away

We the devotees from Bhutan express our grief on passing away of His Holiness Taklung Tshetrul Rinpoche. Rinpoche was at Bodhgaya, India, for Moenlam Chenmo (prayers for world peace) when he passed away in the early hours of Wednesday.
The Remains of Rinpoche (Photo courtesy: Yeshe Dorje, FB)
Rinpoche was recognized as an incarnation of Ngog Choku Dorje, the one of the main pillars of Marpa; the other three include Turton Wangi Dorje, Meton Tsonpo and Milarepa. He not only was the throne holder of Dorje Drak monastery but as well the head of Jangter lineage (northern treasure) which originated from the treasures of terton Rigdzin Godem. After par nirvana of His Holiness Trulsik Rinpoche, he was then appointed as a supreme head of Nyingma tradition in the year 2012.
Their Holiness late Trulsik Rinpoche & Taklung Rinpoche (courtesy: Facebook)
Beside his tiring schedules, he traveled in all corners of Bhutan, India and Nepal to bestow instructions, empowerments and transmissions for the benefit of sentient beings. During his last visit in Bhutan, Rinpoche together with Dudjom Yangsi Tenzin Yeshi Dorje consecrated the Guru Ngangsi Zoelni statue at Takila, Lhuentse. Moreover, on request by His eminence the 11th Padma Lingpa aka Sungtrul Rinpoche, he consecrated Kenchosum (Triple Gem) Lhakhang in Bumthang which was renovated after it was damage by the fire.
Taklung Tshetrul Rinpoche (courtesy: Facebook)
So, in recognition to his contribution in spreading dharma in Bhutan, we the devotees would like to express our gratitude to Rinpoche and we join with the rest of Buddhist community in calling the Rinpoche from afar for his swift return. “OM AH HUNG” may the lotus born master take notice of our cry, and our yearning to meet the next Taklung Tshetrul Rinpoche be fulfilled.


Winter & Stray Dog Story

People here in Drametse go in the woods to gather fuel for warming their houses while those with less or no family make use of electric heaters. Some drink tea and some go for locally brewed wines so as to keep themselves warm. Though the community has seen no snow for a decade, the freezing wind blowing from downstream is no less than frostbite. But no matter how harsh the climate is, the people at least have options for survival.

What about the animals? Forget those in the wild and just think of animals around us. Stray dogs may possibly be a good example for they have no owner to lend a hand in their survival fight. Most of us view stray dogs as vermin as they are dirty, and also spread rabies if bitten. Many, including myself get irritated when awaken in the midnight by their howls. But these are not the reason why I support the nationwide dog sterilization campaign; it’s sympathy of mine on having seen their poor livelihood. Stray dogs struggle hard in search of shelter which shields them from the frosty airs of winter. Getting of food during the daytime may mean they could possibly survive the tough hours of dark.
Fig: Two survived out of eight (Photo Courtesy: my little son) 
Maybe old ones are adapted to the environment but the survival is in question when it comes to puppies. In wintertime, the ears and paws of puppies get frostbitten and they freeze to death. A couple of month ago, I’ve seen a dog that gave birth to 10 puppies. But with approaching of winter, many puppies died since the temperature at night was not more than 10 degree Celsius. It was then that my wife decided to rescue them. She brought them home, kept near the fire, and used my water bag to warm them. At night they were kept in small kennel built at the backyard. 
Fig: Temporary kennel built for puppies 
But in every crack of dawn we used to collect a corpse of at least one infant and throw it into the bushes. But one fine day the mother dog picked up the thrown corpse of her puppy, she dumped it in between the piled bricks and then using her mouth she covered it with the soils. It was then we decided not to play with her emotion and then dumped every corpse of the puppy into the pit. Today she is free with no puppies nagging around her. Our rescue mission failed, it seems we were too late. By the time we began to help, the puppies were too weak to be saved. The mother dog has no milk for her weak puppies as she ate no food for days before we brought her home. So the frosty night and lack of milk took the lives of those innocent puppies.

Fig: Kashamo who lost 10 puppies 
Despite several sterilization campaigns, we still have many stray dogs. Controlling the birth of stray dogs is for the good cause but not rescuing those born ones is inhuman. There are many similar struggling dogs around us, and we could feed and protect them at least in the season of winter. Remember, what you spend shall be returned back to you with interest in this lifetime or if not in the next coming generation of yours, and this is what ‘karma’ means. “WOULD IT HURT YOU TO CARE? IT HURTS THEM WHEN YOU DON’T”~ALISA


Why naked dance if not naked?

In the bygone years, I have seen men performing naked dance in the hours of darkness during the annual festival of Korphu. To bury their identity, the face of naked dancers may possibly be masqueraded with concealing face outfits. The dancers would circumambulate around the bonfire in the rhythm of cymbals and drums. The dance may possibly be an entertainment for youths but a lady with no infant would witness in hope to have loaded with child by its blessing or expectant mother would see the dance for safeguard of her baby to be born, and others by way of trust that their sin of wrongdoings would get cleansed with the glimpse of the dance.

The naked dance was born in 8th century during the era of Guru Padmasambhava. It was first instigated by Lhachig Bumden Tshomo, one of the five major female tantric companions of Guru Padmasambhava to sidetrack the devil’s attention from causing chaos while constructing temples. Later, the folklore of nude dancing continued after having seen it in the crystal vision by the 15th century legendary spiritual treasurer revealer, Terton Padma Lingpa. Thus the term ‘Tercham’ is used for naked dance which means the treasure dances.

The dance though first documented to have been showcased in Nabji and Korphu in the history of man kind; it is at this time found to be well celebrated only in Jambay Lhakhang and Tamzhing festivals of Bumthang valley. In the year 2010, I visited my village (Korphu) only to discover the entire naked dancers modishly dancing with undergarments and the masquerading face outfits which is a shaggy dog story to the tradition of 8th century dakini who initiated the dance. 

Fig: Korphu, a village from where Naked dancing started 
When interviewed one of the dancers, he told that despite the fact they wear concealing face outfits, they are identified by onlookers through their body languages and physique. If under the moonlight the art of naked dancing cannot be performed in naked then what shall Bhutan do if it were to be performed naked under the sunlight like Naga Sadhus during Kumbh Mela in India. I watched the documentary film of the Kumbh Mela where naked Naga Sadhus with pride permit others to take their photography and they don’t even conceal their identity. Today, the Kumbh Mela is celebrated as biggest religious gathering of man kind with not less than seventy millions of devotees recorded this year in Allahabad, India.

When I cautiously studied the case of naked dancing, it is not really about the identity of dancers being known by spectators but festival being neglected at national level. The community of Korphu is helpless since most of the veteran dancers of the festival are retired and substituted by students who come for vacations. The juvenile students believe only to perform the nude dance as a mandatory norm of festival but do not care the quality of delivery. Once on having completed the studies, those students like me join the civil service and it is not easy to go back to village every occasion for dancing. Under such circumstances, every Tom, Dick and Harry joins the naked dancing without being really into naked state. At this verge, Bhutan rather than showcasing already well preserved common mask dances overseas like in Honolulu Museum of Arts or near the statue of Liberty in New York Harbor; it should focus into the corners of its nation to uplift the rare dances which are at the verge of fading or otherwise why naked dance if not naked?

Fig: Naga Sadhus Celebrating Kumbh Mela (Sharell Cook, 2013)



Dussehra is a festival celebrating victory of good over evils. On this day Rama the 7th avatar of lord Vishnu defeated the ten headed king of Lanka who abducted his wife Sita. The Ramayana epic is like Vietnam War; if we look externally, it was a war by America for having attacked their USS Maddox and Turner Joy in the Gulf of Tonkin by North Vietnam but internally it was a fight to stop the spread of communism, and in the same way, Ramayana battle meant to free Sita from Ravana was external drama but internally it was a plot calculated by lord Vishnu to remove Ravana from the power as he was spreading ills over three anthropomorphic races of gods, men and serpents. Thereafter the defeat of Ravana, every year on the day of Dussehra, the effigy of Ravana is burnt in front of large assembly; reminding people of how good overpower evils.

Fig: Sita under Ravana's captivity (Photo Courtesy: S, Melissa,. A Year In Lanka-An Epic Women)
Some devotees however regard Ravana not an evil being as he was great ruler of Lanka with whose blessing even the poor during his reign had gold in their jars. He was also known to be follower of lord Shiva, and he also invited Lord Buddha in his kingdom to preach Buddhism. His ten head was said to be representation of his knowledge in six Shastras and four Veda. He wrote many books on medicines, Ayurvedi, and Hindu astrology. Thus, during Dussehra, the devotees at Ravana temple in different states of India celebrate Ravana as a renowned scholar and also as heart-son of lord shiva.

Again, Dussehra is also celebrated as victory of goddess Durga over the demon Mahisasur. In order to defeat the demon, the creater Brahman, the maintainer Vishnu and the destroyer Shiva created Durga from the bands of lightening emerging from their mouth. The goddess then fought for nine days and nine nights with Mahisasur and on the tenth day she overpowered him. The festival then became the longest in the datebook of Hindus with fifteen days of celebration; first nine days signifying battle between the two, the tenth day marking the victory over the demon, and five more days of celebration of the victory.
Fig: Battle between Durga & Mahisasur (Photo Courtesy: P, Rajesh, 2012)
Now, let me come to the crux of my writing. Our farmers had finished harvesting their crops, and they deserve a fiesta but not in the manner they had been doing so far. If I’m not in the wrong, I heard that during the festival thousands of buffalos and goats are slaughtered near the temple to quench the thirst of goddess Durga. Is Durga really a blood thirsty goddess? No, I’m not attacking religion but hitting to those who rewrote it. Gods treat all the beings as their offspring, and who on earth a mother will drink blood of their heirs? Where is the victory of good over evils if lives of childlike animals are taken away in the name of religion?

Fig:Devotees sacrifice buffalo during Durga puja (Photo Courtesy: D, Javanta.,2011.IBTs) 
The best way to celebrate victory of good over evil is by remembering the warlord, the great Asoka. He adopted nonviolence and Buddhism on the day of Dussehra and became great dharma king. So, all who have been in the mistaken path are requested to change it like the great Asoka. Stop crime against animals in the name of religion, be sure and be pure in your path. DUSSEHRA MUBARAK KO!  


Facebook Scams & Hoaxes

I was taken aback to see hundreds of our Bhutanese winning iphone in Facebook but I’m clear in my mind that those friends were dejected for having not received the promised prizes so far. Dear, sorry to say that scammers had used iphone as a bait to persuade our Facebook users into liking their pages and sharing their posts. I heard that once they gather a fat number of likes, these scammers put up their pages for sale in black to crooked marketers who might then rebrand the page and promote their products. If I’m not mistaken, the more likes a page has the more money it gets in the black market. If it was not a scam then whose company will go nuts to award eye-catching prizes for nothing more than hundred likes of their pages. On the other hand, authentic promoters will do the math beforehand and they will award economically viable numbers of prize, and shall also provide clear terms and conditions for claiming it.

Again, one more major hoax that hunts our Bhutanese Facebook users is circulation of pornographic videos to their friends and relatives without their knowledge. Our innocent users might have tried to play the footage during which the spambot automatically sends the hoax video link to user’s friends and thereby boosting traffic in its bogus website. Trying to open such attachments shall also harbour malware which affects functioning of your computer. Forget the viruses being downloaded; think about how uncomfortable your relatives would be to receive such pornographic links from you. These scammers in the mean time receive his share of money for having done his work.
Fig: Pornographic link circulated by Facebook Users

I’ve also learned that our Bhutanese friends are easy prey to emotional hoax messages shared in Facebook. May be such attitude defines how religious we are, or may be it points out how innocent we are. You might have partaken in circulating post which claims that Facebook will donate $1 for every like, $3 for every comment, and $10 for every share of a sick baby. Did you? Don't show your teeth, I'm not insulting you but us. The photo might have been shared by scammers for their own coldhearted gains without parent's consensus. So, Mark Zuckerberg will not at all throw a penny for such irrational efforts you make. Remember, the mentioned sick baby will not be treated but you are treated as a baby to fall into scammers trap.

Fig: Hoax Message about Sick baby

There are many hoaxes in Facebook meant for looting you or just posted for pleasure but remember not to agree if bogus pages asked to share your information with third-party marketers which if permitted makes you flooded with unasked marketing emails. It is said that for every time you share your personal details, the scammers earn a commission from such websites. Most Importantly don't share your mobile phone number to fake websites or otherwise you may land up paying huge bills for every SMS the scammers send to you. 

Sorry, this article of mine is not to undermine the knowledge and intelligence of thousands of Bhutanese Facebook users but to strike a chord for some who are victimized now and then by scams and hoaxes. After reading this article, if you felt that I’m making sense then don’t forget to share to you near and dear ones, and save them from the online hunters.

Note: Being amateur writer, I ask forgiveness for all the grammatical errors made. Your feedbacks shall be taken constructively to improve the page content.


My Days in the Land of Snowman (Yeti)

“If you happen to travel in Kheng, one of the remotest hamlets in the east where the tales of snowman (Yeti) is headline, forget not to be equipped with hammer and crowbar which not necessarily mean to be used as self defense weapon against the mystic beast but to clear the stones obstructing your way to that virgin land. It’s just a travel guide to all those travelling in those lands of snowman.  It took me many days for Facebooking this post not because that I was in queue for my turn to have it be approved by Mark Zuckerberg but it’s because of the fresh art of air networking who has forgotten the soil. In search of it, I had a tough battle waving my cell phone to and fro from the peaks which are far above the ground and roofed by thick clouds alike that realm in Avatar.

Fig: Breaking Boulders To Clear Road 
By now, I’m in no doubt that the person reading this article has got the clear picture of it for I’ve been making an effort in the earlier paragraph to introduce the atmosphere of the place chosen as my subject. So, let me ride you in the land of snowman by the vehicle of my words. The journey began from warm broadleaved woods of Lingmithang, Mongar, in the early noon. I removed my top, opened the glass of a pickup truck, and sipped every fall of water from the bottle to battle against the burning midday sun. Someone familiar to the place would say that my statement of the day as ‘burning’ is an exaggeration but for me it was a day in Sahara desert since for years I’m living in a place with height not less than 2000 meter above the sea level. So, if a yak is brought in lowlands she has no option than to shave her hairs. 

Allow me not sidetrack my topic, and say that before the downpour we arrived at the raised grounds of cool broadleaved jungle. As a technical person, I was not pleased to see the road in some places with alignment more than 8 degree but nevertheless it was not for the first and will not be the last to travel through such roads for there would be state of affairs in many places that force in engineering such alignments. With tons of goods mainly salts and beverage, our pickup truck had a hard-hitting climb through the steep road, and the condition went downhill with the start of drizzle from the blue. All of sudden, he the driver had no picking then to put on the brakes in the middle of climbing only to find that half the road is covered by mud and boulders. Clearing the way did not help as he lost the pickup of the motion, and the more he short of to the clutch, the more smell it gave. Having the clutch pad worn-out, we had to dial for help and then in the hours of darkness shift ourselves to another pickup truck. It was sickly sweet to have ourselves buried from the downpour by blue tarpaulin. I heard the pullets, smelled the drinks and feel the arctic hands of my mates in search of things they dropped in the dark, but didn’t know where I was. At last the long bumpy journey ended when the clock stroke 12:30 AM. It was start of a new date during which we closed our eyes only to wake up late in the morning.

Fig: Beautiful Silambi Hamlet
Daybreak was not good with heavy downpour, so we called off our program. Two of us, me and my host Ranger went to the inn as to have ourselves warmed from the frosty weather. Those goods which I saw on the shelf inside the inn took days to reach their destination in the past years but now with roads being linked, I can free myself from paying extra prices for the beers we had. But every plus has its shortcoming, and the road here could be misused to break the virgin woods of those tall peaks in very illegal style. The snowman which the men of that soil gossip to have cried at nightfall, if are true, may die out if the woods are harvested in titanic amount. Let me not put in writing on about snowman because in upcoming days I’m going to write a detail story on it, and for now I’m just introducing no more than the place.  

The place of my paper is most of the time in cloud and rain. Those days in the cloud gave me a strong push for to tweet the most famed Bhutanese lyrics ‘SAMO GI JABLEY EPP CHE EPP CHE…’ which, if translated means ‘hiding from behind the clouds’ but as I mentioned earlier the problem is with the slow internet service. The more days, the more drinks I may take because of wet and frosty day and therefore tried every best of myself to finish the survey the very next day. In the third day, I packed my gears, waved my hand and rode back in the same pickup truck to Mongar.

Fig: My survey crew members hiding from rain inside the cowshed