Druk Nangpei Zhoennu celebrate's Buddhism the "young" way

By Tenzin Namgyel, Kuensel Online, Jan 8, 2009

Timphu, Bhutan -- A group of young Bhutanese will celebrate important Buddhist events to promote and propagate Buddhism in a “modern way”.

Formed by a group of trainees of royal Bhutan polytechnic in 2008, under the guidance of Garab Rinpoche, the Druk Nangpei Zhoennu will first celebrate Lord Buddha’s birthday in a modern way for the first time on May 19 this year.

They will decorate shops, towns and houses with Buddha and His Majesty’s portraits. They will sing songs dedicated to Buddha, bodhisattvas and the monarchy in front of a huge crowd. While some will dress up like the first five disciples of Lord Buddha and sing the four noble truths (the reality of suffering, cause of suffering, cessation of suffering and the path to the cessation of suffering). Members will also distribute sweets to the people of 20 dzongkhags or at least in the most populated ones.

Members said that they are aiming to prevent youth from getting involved in substance and alcohol abuse, and divert their interest towards religion. “Young age is the symbol of modernity, where one does not take interest in dharma and instead gets lost in the world of drugs and substance abuse,” said his eminence Garab Rinpoche. “Forget about practising Buddhism, Bhutanese youth today don’t know when Lord Buddha was born.”

Rinpoche said that Bhutanese, especially young people, must be made aware of auspicious days. He cited the example of how Christians remembered and celebrated Christmas. “Once we start celebrating the important days, it would become a part of our culture and then future generations will follow,” he said. “If you share information on dharma, it is as good as conducting 100,000 offerings and meditations.”

Home and cultural affairs minister, Lyonpo Minjur Dorji, said that the group came up with one of the best ideas to promote Buddhism among young people and the ministry would give full support to promote it.

Druk Nangpei Zhoennu today has about 800 members, who are trainees, students and some civil servants.