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Friday, May 22nd, 2015 - 8:29 PM
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Our New Years and Chunyipai Tshetheg

WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO: Due to its cultural diversity engendered by geographic isolation, Bhutan has many different losar (ལོ་གསར་) or New Year celebrations. The celebrations mostly mark seasonal change and cycle of agricultural life. They consist of festivities to celebrate the autumnal harvest and occur in winter when the farmers have a break from the agricultural work. The western parts of Bhutan including valleys of Haa and Paro celebrate the New [... Read More]

History of currency in Bhutan

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Monetary reform started in 1974, coinciding with the coronation of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck. Finance ministry issued the first Ngultrum notes.

Before the trade was monetised, barter system prevailed in the country. Rice, butter, cheese and wool were exchanged with other local produce.

Almost a decade later, the Royal Monetary Authority (RMA) was established in 1982 to act as a central bank of the country.

In the 18th century, first silver coins were [... Read More]

Pilgrim’s progress

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COVER STORY: Here, at Druk Amitabha Mountain in Nepal, there are thousands of Bhutanese; the place looks like a little Bhutan abroad.  Many are farmers from Trashiyangtse.  They have come here to attend the 6th annual Drukpa council (ADC), and to receive blessings from rinpoches and khenpos of the 800-year-old Drukpa Kagyu lineage.

Druk Amitabha Mountain is located on a hilltop that overlooks the entire Kathmandu valley.  It takes around 20 minutes drive, up [... Read More]

Ways beyond mountains

YOUTH IN FOCUS: I am a college student and have been really fortunate to have read Buddhist books by great beings like Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, among others. I realise that I can’t tame my mind and practice living in this world of distractions. I must do whatever needs to be done before it’s too late. I have enough time now to practice and follow their (above mentioned great teachers’) [... Read More]

Kago or Giving Order

WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO: Buddhism holds that sentient beings are diverse in their aspirations, interests, calibres and temperament. Thus, it proposes a wide range of methods and techniques to tame and enlighten them. There are sentient beings who can be liberated through peaceful methods such as teachings on non-violence and others who can be converted through use of wealth or magnetising powers. There are yet other beings such as malevolent and aggressive [... Read More]

Pilgrims receive blessings from rare relics

unnamedDevotees line up to receive blessings from the relics

Tsangpa Gyare, the founder of Drukpa Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism, was born to Gya Zurpo Tsabpey and Marza Darkyi in 1161 near Kule in the Tsang province of southern Tibet. He was considered the manifestation of Avalokiteshvara (a bodhisattva who embodies the compassion of all Buddhas) in human form. Guru Rinpoche foretold his birth thusly:

At the conjoining of three valleys

Which one calls Khule Sarel – the Fissure in the Earth –

An emanation of the Holder of the Jewel [... Read More]

Sleazy side of this booming town

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COVER STORY: It is 6PM and Phuentsholing town is getting busier. The crowd has increased by thousands. Everywhere you look in this town, you see people rushing past. And the incessant traffic whistles! There is hardly any parking space.

Vishal and Rajiv from across the border have come for a night out in the town but have not found a parking space. They have been driving around for the last 45 minutes.

It is Tuesday, [... Read More]

Along the transit towns

indo_nepal_border_20140407Mechi bridge at the Nepal-India border

It is almost dark and the traffic is heavy. Tashi has already made two rounds trying to find a parking space. Finally he parks his car near the Anaconda hotel in Phuentsholing. He must make a dash across the border to book a ticket to Kakarvitta, Nepal.

The transit town is flooded with people travelling to and from different places. The two-day strike across the border has left the travellers trying to find something useful to [... Read More]

Lui, Dhoe and Sipa Chidhoe

WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO: In the previous essays, we have discussed the topic of giving and also covered the types of recipients. In the Buddhist theory of life, we have lived so many lifetimes in the past and, if we do not reach enlightenment, we will again live many lifetimes in the future. In this process, we accumulate a lot of karmic debt, i.e. we commit actions which will lead to [... Read More]

Of fear, rumours and security

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COVER STORY: From this side of Norbugang (Dholpani) in Sarpang, the whole expanse of Gelephu spreads like a vast green carpet emblazoned with myriad little white dwellings. Far beyond the richly fulvous fields that extend until a long line of thick, tall and dark forest, farmers are winding their farm work. To the west, the aureate sun is turning red and sinking behind the cold dark mountains.

Hari Kumar Karki, 45, is looking down [... Read More]

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