BHUTANESE, GURU RINPOCHE, MONKEY YEAR 2016 AND BEYOND – a very inspirational teaching by His Holiness Dzongsar Jamyang Khentse Rinpoche – is something that is so close to every audience. It was such a blessings to be one of them. In this post, I am not taking down the minutes or report of the teaching or whatsoever, rather I try to reflect one critical aspect of what Rinpoche said, leaving aside Lung and Thri that we received from Rinpoche for the entire sessions. Perhaps, this will help us think where we are going and what happens if Magical Effect is lost in Bhutan.
Rinpoche stressed on the importance of possessing magical effects for Bhutan. Bali and Huawei are both beautiful places to spend your vacation. Hundreds of tourist visit these places every year. Despite having big shopping malls, technological advancement, and other attractive places, the magical effect is missing in Huawei. However things are completely different in Bali. There will be some sort of religious activities, spiritual events, and cultural ceremonies taking place, and that is the magical effect. We have that magical effect in Bhutan. We hear, see and feel spiritual and religious events every now and then. This magical effect is very important for Bhutan. There are so many beautiful trees in Canada than Bhutan but spiritual values is lacking in the former. If we want to build a nation based on technology, economic, balance of trade, political system, and etc. there will be no magical effect. China for instance is a very fast growing country (economically), and people trade kidney for iPad. But magical effect is absent there.
To treasure and maintain this spiritual values we have to be really brave, farsighted and careful from any kind of distraction. There is already an early sign of materialism in Bhutan, and we will miss our magical quality soon. We have nothing actually. We are not good at weaving a basket. Not good at making things we can sell it to tourists. Everything we make in Bhutan is really expensive and they are not really good. Kishuthara for example, however good it looks for foreigners, not many of them will buy, except ourselves few. In this way, we are not special. Only special values that we have is spiritual thinking and approach to life. This is really important for Bhutan.
Spiritual thinking is very important to uphold this magical effect. In a mundane life, how many of us are conscious of our body? That we have ten figures? Conscious of feeling that we are created of body? How many of us are aware that we have mind body and speech? Most of us think of next agenda, meeting, schedule, program, etc. and we are constantly distracted to past and future events. Awareness and mindfulness is crucial in Buddhism.
Culture is getting redefined. As we wonder and move everywhere, things get changed. Many of us change husband and wife for several times, our identity change due to circumstances and conditions. The perception of beauty has changed. Diet system has changed except for struggling Ema Datshi, and in fact we spend our time dieting while millions of people die of starvation. In a wondering world, when culture and things are changing, magical effect will gradually vanish.
This talk was in line with the auspiciousness – TENDREL – that we Bhutanese mostly believe in. When we have this spiritual values in our thinking system the ground of auspiciousness is already laid. Tendrel, the auspiciousness comes from interdependent. But at times we also need to be reminded of that too much of culture hijack the actual purpose of events.
One of the biggest weaknesses is our inhibition. We pretend everything and that gives birth to hypocrisy, and then we lose our genuineness. Spraying perfume for example – it gives us good smell which is not within us. This is how we tamper and loose our genuineness. When we pretend, we don’t even have satisfying crying session, because people will say “he cries like women”, and that way women are lucky actually. And Rinpoche also said that we are beginning to settle for Mediocre. We don’t thrive for excellent, and how we lose the big vision and think only about this generation.
Rinpoche also talked about how important it is to receive Blessings, the so called Jinlab in Bhutanese terminology. While talking of blessing, there are much more important than touching your head by Lama. In volatile time, Jinlab is very important. It has connotation of strength, both emotional and psychological strength. Even attitude needs to have Jinlab that our attitude change for better. We also need Jinlab to being able to take self-criticism. We are not so good at taking criticism. Time is changing so fast and in a very important junction we need to take criticism as a Jinlab. We Bhutanese get fooled by Tourist, and we need to have Jinlab in this regard as well.
We also need to have Jinlab of heaving wise sound healthy greed. Rich and poor gap is going to grow bigger. We need Jinlab of being this awareness. Worst things that British left in India – and we are busy collecting and saving it. That is not Jinlab. It should be understood vastly. If forest is being caught by fire, it is not right to protect and save just one tree.
Having said that, it becomes our fundamental duty and responsibility to act courageously and save this special magical effect. Although freedom of right to religion and spiritual belief is one’s fundamental right, however, a true Bhutanese would definitely think from the perspective of why we are special and what happens if spiritual values are conversed or denounced. We also need to think from the perspectives of peace, harmony and national sovereignty. I believe we can remain as special if this magical effect is uphold throughout.
Disclaimer: As I have said in the beginning, this writing is focused only on one issue pertaining to the magical effect that Rinpoche was talking about. Therefore, this writing is not to be construed or interpreted as a dictum of what Rinpoche said. The purpose of my focused on this issue was for the reader to understand how special Bhutan is with the presence of spiritual values that Rinpoche termed it as Magical Effect, and analyse how important it is to persevered for a long period of time. It is also like a piece meal without which the consequences of hunger is so huge.