Bhutan conducive for Buddhist practice

By Chimi Om & Sonam Lhamo, Kuensel Online, 16 December, 2010

Youth must seize this opportunity that being born in the country gives them, Rinpoche Jamyang Tashi Dorje says

Timphu, Bhutan -- While we always talk of the need for a conducive ambience to pursue happiness, a Buddhist rinpoche from Spain, Jamyang Tashi Dorje, said we were surrounded all over by it.

<< Rinpoche Jamyang Tashi Dorje

Born and raised as a Spanish Catholic, the 60-year old lama, who was attracted to the teachings of the Buddha at the age of 28, said the country was blessed with a conducive ambience to practice the religion.

The rinpoche said it was the logical and philosophical teachings of the Buddha that attracted him to the religion.

“Buddhism, unlike other religions has a complete path leading to enlightenment,” he said.

He seemed particularly surprised that Bhutanese youth failed to use these conducive conditions to their advantage, and urged them to seize the opportunity that was at hand.

“Bhutan has great teachers and Bhutanese are innately Buddhist, therefore the youth must make profitable use of this precious gift,” he said. “Such good conditions may not exist tomorrow, nothing is permanent in this world.”

People from the west, he said, lacked such conducive conditions to practice Buddhism.

“They’re tormented by materialistic desires and deprived of proper teachers to guide them,” he said. “That way we’re unable to practise the religion.”

On his second visit to Bhutan, the rinpoche has a specific purpose of extending his interest to expand the country’s vision of gross national happiness across parts of the western world.

He said the importance of the concept was growing ever more important for the west. “The root of the concept is the dharma teaching, which can divert westerners towards the spiritual development, besides materialism,” he said, adding the philosophical dharma gave people more answers to the sufferings, and helped eliminate the material conditions, thus allowing them to engender happiness.

His visit to the country, he said, was a bridge he hopes will connect the Sakya Tashiling monastery he founded in Spain with Bhutan and its vision of gross national happiness.

Since the concept was born in Bhutan, the rinpoche sought cooperation and collaboration from the country to achieve gross national happiness in the western part of the world.

“For a more stronger community working towards happiness, this collaboration is important,” he said expressing his interest in tying a “pilgrimage relationship” with Bhutan, through which westerners could share and interact with Bhutanese monks.

Rinpoche Jamyang Tashi Dorje wishes to send 15 to 20 of his students to Bhutan every year to share the dharma with Bhutanese, and also to strengthen the existing relationship.

The rinpoche is on a nine-day visit to the country, to learn more about the country’s guiding philosophy, and receive teachings from his root teacher Khenpo Karpo, who lives in Thimphu.