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Understanding not Tolerance

When I was studying overseas, I used to dye my hair and shave the sides. As soon as I got back home, however, my parents and relatives started to nag me about my hair. I seriously don’t know what their problem is, but after six months, their comments are beginning …

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What is success?

I’m in my final year of college and I fear that I will not succeed. Actually, my grades are passable, but I feel continuously anxious and am always comparing myself with my classmates. When the anxiety gets really too much, I smoke marijuana to chill out. It is effective, but …

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Heaven and hell in Buddhism

I recently met some tourists at the Paro Tshechu. They asked me about the Wheel of Life painting that we find at the entrance to lhakhangs. I tried my best to explain, but their questions made me realize that I didn’t really understand the meaning of the painting. Are hell …

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Life naturally contains both suffering and joy

Last year I graduated from college in India and returned to Bhutan. I was happy to come home, but I had not realized that in my absence my parents were having major problems and are now planning to get divorced. My dad has a new girlfriend and he and my …

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Jangchubsem Thought of Awakening

Jangchubsem (བྱང་ཆུབ་སེམས་) or Bodhicitta in Sanskrit is the thought of enlightenment or awakening. It is a desire to take all sentient beings, leaving no one behind, to the ultimate state of happiness, which is Buddhahood. Bodhicitta is considered as the essence of Mahāyāna Buddhism. Just as taking refuge is said …

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Genuine wisdom destroys all prejudices

My brother is a transgender, but I am a devoted Buddhist and so I don’t feel comfortable with these things. Is it a sin to act like this? I feel embarrassed to be around him. How should I treat my brother?  Confused, Thimphu Well, first of all we don’t have …

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Lung Authorisation and Transmission

The culture of giving lung (ལུང་) or authorisation and oral transmission is very popular in Bhutan and the Himalayas. A religious teacher would often read out the scriptures for months in order to pass down the transmission of the teachings and give authorisation to study and teach the scriptures. Lung …

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Be aware of the situations that cause mood swings

I am easily affected by others’ words and this makes me very moody.  Even a negative comment about something I posted on Facebook can put me in a bad mood for days. On the other hand, I’m really happy if I am praised. I don’t like being so much at …

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Dadar Arrow Scarf

Bhutanese homes usually have a shrine room in which a common artefact one finds is an arrow with scarves of five colours attached to it called the dadar (མདའ་དར་). The ceremonial arrow is used for the rituals of gathering and enhancing long life and wealth. The officiant of these rituals …

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