Bowled Over by Bhutan - 2007

pretty completely intermixed, but there has been relatively little intermarriage with the

indigenous peoples by the other Bhutanese.


In religion, 75% of the peoples are Buddhists and Buddhism is the state sponsored

religion. The remaining 25% are Hindus. There are elements of animistic practices

among the indigenous peoples as well as their being intermixed with Buddhism and

Hinduism. Only Buddhist temples are permitted in the country, but the Hindus are not

suppressed in their religious practices. The King participates in both Buddhist and

Hindu rituals and holidays.

Many of the Buddhist temples contain statues of Hindu gods and goddesses, like

Ganesha and Lakshmi; therefore, many Hindus feel quite comfortable in those

temples. After all, Buddha reached enlightenment among the Hindus of India and

preached his first sermon in Sarnath, India! Buddhism penetrates every aspect of a

Bhutanese person’s life. They are devout and deeply spiritual. Buddhism determines

names given to children, the dates of acceptable marriage, the chosen partner for

marriage. Houses must be blessed by religious figures on a yearly basis.

Prayer flags are everywhere. No Bhutanese person would pass a prayer wheel without

twirling it. Offerings are made regularly in the temples by the common people. The very

land itself is considered mystical and sacred because lamas and holy men sat under this

tree, or created an impression in stone with their bodies over there, and monasteries

are situated like eagle’s aeries on high mountain shoulders overlooking the valleys

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