Part 3 in a series of live blogs from Bhutan by Meg Jordan, Professor and Chair of the Integrative Health Studies Department
When we return to Bhutan next year, we must try to come during a festival or two. Otherwise, the endless stream of quiet, solemn, monasteries start to merge in your mind.
I've lost my sense of time, days, and I'm no longer introducing myself through my bio. I'm just wandering now, sitting with children and shopkeepers, trying to understand what I'm witnessing. I pray in clockwise circles around temples, following lay-monks and nuns, in the center of Thimphu, while hundreds of working class Indians build bamboo scaffolding around yet another concrete apartment building.
How does Christianity fare in this all-Buddhist kingdom? As an overlay on a cultural backdrop of belief in demons, hungry ghosts and well...you decide.
This week a 46-year-old mother of five was beaten to death and hanged as a witch by a gang of Christian converts in a village called Dumtoe Gewog, aided by two pastors and her husband. No one has a comment. She must have had some very bad karma, says my interpreter.
Other news: Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche will translate for the first time the entire Buddhist canon, including 108 volumes of Kangyur, Buddha's direct teachings. Widespread celebration greets that announcement, especially in the official newspaper, which reports everything with the words, "graciously applauded" or "generously granted” by the King or the government.
I'm off to breakfast: one brown egg and chilies. Wish you were here more than ever. I need a CIIS colleague to sort this all out.