Thursday, 14 August 2014



One issue that always troubles my limited understanding of life and spirituality is how we Bhutanese live our everyday life. Having been born in the sacred Baeyul blessed by Guru Rimpoche, I find Bhutanese pious and religious minded and generously charitable. But, the question that troubles me is; are we living ethical and honourable life on day to day basis which to me looks more important that being charitable and spiritually inclined only during certain occasions?

I must confess from the onset that, I lack even basic understanding of such a large issue but, my perceptions are solely from a lay man’s point of view. And this is in no way meant to offend anyone.

Let me come straight to the point. From the time we lose our innocence we develop possessiveness. It is a part of growing up and there is nothing wrong in it. And then comes a time we all develop and nurture long term goals and wish lists. All of us want to succeed in life, but unfortunately we measure success in terms of material wealth, bank balances and positions. We aspire to achieve these things for our ultimate and universal goal, and that goal is HAPPINESS.

With happiness as the ultimate goal and successful life perceived as means to achieving that goal and our perception of success often associated with materialism; the manner and extent we go on to achieve material success is often where we all lose sight of our ultimate goal. To me this is often the case with most of us.  In a bid to achieve the ultimate goal, we defeat all the aggregates essential for achieving that goal.

We all have the tendency to keep on aspiring more than we always have at our disposal. This is because our priorities shifts from want to greed and greed has no limit. We just keep thinking that if we achieve some more, we would be happier not realizing that there still are so much more we still want. We are drawn in the vicious cycle of wanting more and more all the time. We may one day have a chain of palace like buildings, fleets of gas guzzling luxury SUVs, acres and acres of land in prime locations and so on and so forth. But, you will always feel poorer by something and that feeling deprives us the peace of mind essential for happiness. And then we realize we are nowhere near the ultimate goal.

There is nothing wrong if we achieved whatever we have through legitimate and ethical means. However, people driven by ambitious goals achieve them often through means that are dubious, dishonest and unethical not realizing the graveness of implications it can have later on our conscience.

So what happens after this is, seeking salvation to cleanse those wrong doings. That is when some of us become generous, sponsoring religious activities and donating to charitable causes realizing the futility of our past actions. We all realize there is no escape from the law of cause and effect (Jumdre).

To most of us these realizations come bit too late and by then the damage would have already been done trapping us to live the rest of our lives with some stigmas. By then, no amount of redemption would be good enough to expunge the stigmas we carry in us. It goes with us haunting us even in death and it does not end there, we have to repay for our actions in the lives after death for whatever wrong we did in this life.  

So what is important but don’t realize is the essence of living an honourable and ethical life at all times. At the end we may have nothing, but at least we may have nothing to regret about and no stigmas attached.

Go anywhere in the country, and we are never short of generous people especially if it is for the cause of religion and dharma activities. We also embark on pilgrimage, attend religious discourses with closed eyes and receive innumerable blessings and empowerment in life. These pursuits are special but we need to ask ourselves on why we fail to live honourably on daily basis. We also go to extreme extent to derive personal benefits bending laws, forsaking ethical means and deliberately abandoning dignity, honour and moral standards. I find this tragic.

I also appreciate charitable activities of Bhutanese people, I consider such generosity as purely motivational and without any strings attached to it. It would be unfortunate if such charitable activities are funded by robbing the country and its people through systemic loopholes and other unethical and unfair means. This would be futile and tragic then because; the money in the first place would have never belonged to those who robbed the state. And no amount of such donations and generosity should suffice enough to absolve those people of their wrong doings.

If we really want a peace of mind at the end of the day, it would be important for us to ask ourselves if what we achieved are earned fairly and ethically. And we must also be constantly reminded of our responsibilities bestowed upon us and to discharge them accordingly. Being ethical and morally upright may not necessarily bring us success but whatever it brings will be valueless. Above all, this will guarantee us the ultimate peace of mind and what more can we ask for. Nothing can buy us peace of mind, clear conscience and innate happiness except by being true to ourselves and our ethics. That must be our ultimate goal. Isn't it?

I may be wrong, but I wanted to share this personal perception with my readers. This is not an attempt to dissuade people from pursuing their dreams of materialism. There is nothing wrong in that but, there are pitfalls of bringing unhappiness and pains if we don’t ask ourselves the question of whether our pursuits are in tandem with our ultimate aspirations of achieving peace and happiness personally and to those around us.

Wishing all happy reading.

Gyembo Namgyal

August 14, 2014


  1. Indeed, everyone's steps begin with same pursuits for life...Nicely written la...keep going and sharing

    1. Thank you Sancha sir, for finding time to read my posts and make valuable comments too. Have a good day la.

  2. true indeed!...maybe we Bhutanese are Buddhist by chance not by choice...
    visit me here:

  3. thanks Tshewang la. read your new post and i liked it. the story was poignant. best wishes and please do what you can to help those underprivileged people in whatever ways you can.