Footsteps of the Buddha: Monks from Bhutan on trip to India

A delegation of main Buddhist monks from Bhutan upon arrival in Kolkata on November 22, 2022, en route for a visit to holy Buddhist websites within the nation.
| Picture Credit score: PTI

The Kolkata airport was awash with red-ochre robes as high-ranking monks from the ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon’ arrived in Kolkata on November 22 on a non secular and educational tour of India, from the place Guru Padmasambhava travelled to show Buddhism to Bhutan.

The 24-member delegation will go to Buddhist holy websites, the Infosys campus at Hyderabad in addition to meet prime Indian officers in Delhi.

“It’s the responsibility of each member of the Sangha [Buddhist monastic order] to attempt to observe within the footsteps of the Buddha,” Venerable Ugen Namgyal, the secretary of the Central Monastic Physique of Bhutan, instructed PTI, explaining why the highly effective delegation is on a go to to the nation.

The Worldwide Buddhist Confederation (IBC) in coordination with the Central Monastic Physique of Bhutan has organised the eight-day lengthy journey for the monks who head the Buddhist Sangha in every of the districts within the picturesque Himalayan kingdom, which lies sandwiched between India’s West Bengal and China’s Tibetan autonomous area.

Bhutan is understood for its Buddhist tradition, the place individuals’s lives nonetheless revolve across the traditions related to the faith.

Prayer flags fluttering within the wind and chortens (Buddist shrines) in each village are a standard sight. The idea of ‘Gross Nationwide Happiness’ as a growth mannequin for the dominion nestled within the excessive Himalayas too depends largely on this distinctive tradition.

“We’ve two large neighbours on two sides, however with India, now we have an exquisite relationship. Buddhism got here from this nation. Bengal, our instant neighbour, has sturdy linkages with us and has contributed to Buddhism in our Kingdom,” mentioned Ven. Namgyal.

Guru Tilopa is believed to have travelled to Bhutan from Bengal preaching the Vajrayana college of Buddhism. Most Bhutanese observe the Drukpa subsect of the Kargyupa sect of Vajrayana Buddhism.

The monks, led by IBC’s deputy secretary-general Venerable Jang Chup Choden and Ven Namgyal, will go to numerous Buddhist websites in India, together with the Nagarjuna Konda in Andhra Pradesh, Buddhavanam in Telangana and Sankissa in Uttar Pradesh.

‘Zhung Dratshang’ or the Central Monastic Physique of Bhutan was established in 1620. The unification of the nation, codification of the legal guidelines, and organisational growth of the twin system of governance passed off solely after the institution of this important establishment.

In response to Bhutan’s Structure, the ‘Zhung Dratshang’ is an autonomous establishment, financed by an annual grant from the royal authorities.

“For us, Buddhism is a lifestyle. Even our arts and structure replicate our non secular traditions,” he mentioned.

“Whereas China too is a neighbour, now we have little interplay with that nation. Being Buddhist, Bhutanese have a larger affinity to Indian values,” the monk mentioned.

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