Monday, 28 December 2015

WINTER

Desolate appear the landscape,
So far as the eyes can see with ease,
Barren fields and dusty roads,
Grey mountains and naked trees.

Wintry breeze seem to have jagged edges,
 Lacerating feel follows numbness on exposed parts,
So people try shielding with armory of garments,
As the grey clouds hang menacingly, like a doomsday art.

So leaden are the skies in winter,
 Clouds look pregnant but find precipitation labourious,
As highlands wait for snow and rain in lower vales,
And pave way for sunshine to make places salubrious.

Frost in the morning carpets the grasslands in white,
Mist envelopes villages like feathery blanket in tons,
Rendering the sun too febrile even when at its zenith,
So people warm around fire, gossip-mongering in marathon.

The rich are in the cozy rooms sipping exotic whiskeys,
Some are in the bars gulping cheap rums and brandies,
Peasants in their homes down homemade barley brews,
And teetotalers drink gallons of teas and coffees with candies.

Only snotty nosed children seem immune to cold,
As they play with icicles oblivious to the wintry chill,
Even the tempers of vociferous strays seem to ebb,
As most remain coiled in the street corners, whimpering and still.

But winter is a season to relax and rejuvenate,
And be a part of the spoils of the festive season,
Tshechus, losars, New Year and the festivals anon
A season of mirth and merry making, life’s very reason.


pic; google 
Gyembo Namgyal
Pemagatsel

December 28, 2015


Monday, 14 December 2015

A WEAVER AND HER WEAVE

An enchantress, that you are- beautiful,
Bestowed with skills that is unrivaled,
An amalgamation of god’s bountiful,
Spellbound are the eyes for your skills unparalleled.

In frills hangs your silken raven hair,
A tuft tucked behind your shapely ear,
Rests are flying delicately on the flow of the air,
As you come walking, the yarns seem they can hear.

The wooden loom is incomplete without you,
The silk threads go around in colourful triangle,
They spread evenly in the mirage of hue,
Resembling like a rainbow from every possible angle.

So keen and fixated are your gaze,
So nimbly your graceful hands work,
Pulling strains of threads, fingers move in maze,
Dhak..Dhak the shinning beater in rhythm works.

Spectacle it is, the half woven loom revealed,
Of intricate patterns and awe inspiring designs,
And artistically you weave on with patience not trivial,
Thread by thread you will entwine them but not resign.

Occasionally, you adjust the shifting back strap,
That snugs your derriere and holds the loom tight,
Listening to melody you make loops and knots on the angled drape,
Tucking back those hairs interfering with her sight.

The patterns are beautiful even for a naïve eyes,
But special they are and hold meanings so clear,
They are the motifs of trees and delicate butterflies,
And woven patiently for days and months so dear.

One day a beautiful maiden will wear this masterpiece,
On the anointed day where thousands gather,
To watch dances and glittering spectacle of fashionable pieces
But none will be as beautiful as this art put together.

Here I am today; I watch the birth of silken butterflies,
And trees in fruition along with symbolic knot of love,
By the fingers that seem to have eyes of their own to rely,
Of a weaver more beautiful than the weave, an enchantress everyone loves.

Gyembo Namgyal
Pemagatshel
December 15, 2015




Thursday, 10 December 2015

FLOWERS--BEAUTIFUL FLOWERS

Ah Flowers! So beautiful are all flowers,
The spectrum of their hues so dazzling.
Beautiful they are on ancient trees,
Or on shrubs by the bank of sparkling rivers.

Flowers bloom all season round,
Most in spring, some in summer, fall and winter.
Some lasts for weeks and months some just for a day,
And some bloom only in the darkness of the night.

Flowers adorn rocky cliffs and deep ravines,
They carpet moors and prairie lands,
And look good even on thorny plants,
And adorn plants growing in hostile arid lands.

Flowers are bewitching to human eyes,
Mesmerized are chirpy birds and humming bees.
Colourful petals leading to reveal exotic aromas,
Ushering to where lay the hidden seductive nectar.

Flowers are the purest offerings man can make,
On the altars of enlightened ones who sits on floral thrones.
Thus even the least bestowed can gain equal merits,
Like those overflowing with material abundance.

So wide are flowers used in human lives,
Their uses transcend all societal and cultural bounds.
And thus there is a flower for any occasion one can fathom,
From mirth and merry making to poignantly somber ones.

Floral garlands signify goodwill,
Bouquets to congratulate,
And  flowers are sent to mend broken hearts,
And wreaths are laid to mourn painful demises.

Varieties hold symbolism like Calla Lily for wedding,
Poppies for bereavement, chrysanthemum for fidelity,
Daisies for pure innocence, orchids for exotic beauty,
And tulip is to express declaration of love.

Hues and numbers have their meanings too,
Red rose is for love and passion, yellow rose for friendship,
Pink for admiration and blue rose to someone who cannot be yours,
And one rose to say I love you, 50 roses to say your love is limitless.

But flower, although enchanting is also ephemeral,
For no matter on what plant they bloom,
Or in which season, they display extravagant colours,
They also leave a poignant message of the truth of impermanence.

Gyembo Namgyal
Pemagatshel
December 11, 2015





Tuesday, 10 November 2015

LET’S MARK DRUKGYAL ZHIPA’S BIRTHDAY WITH A PLEDGE TO FULFILL HIS VISION


Today, we are in the midst of nationwide celebration to mark the auspicious birthday of our beloved and great king Jigme Singye Wangchuck. This year’s celebration is different from those of the past years as His Majesty completes a 60 year cycle in the Bhutanese calendar called Rabjung. The celebrations have begun in earnest across the country and it is heartening to see whole-hearted dedications being exhibited by people including those in the villages led by gewog officials.

Despite various programme currently underway including those that concluded days prior to November 11 to commemorate and pay our respect to His Majesty, nothing would suffice in our expression of gratitude to our beloved Drukgyal Zhipa.

Even as we celebrate his birthday with so much fervor recollecting all the great and extraordinary deeds in the past 30 years of his reign everything we do today in the name of expressing our gratitude, will fall short of how indebted we all are to everything he has done for nation’s well being. In fact, at times we Bhutanese have failed miserably to live up to the expectations of His Majesty. We must feel so lucky to have had been ruled by a selfless king like him but hang our head in shame for failing him when he needed our support the most.

It is heartbreaking today to watch clips of his speech on how when as a last resort, he had to mobilize military options to flush out foreign militants, just a handful of people, that too mostly farmers came forward to serve the country. The footage that we get to watch today makes us realize how he had to shoulder the most difficult task forsaking his own safety along with few hundred regular servicemen and he is right when he said, “If you don’t come forward and serve your nation when in need, when are you going to do that. It is a matter of utmost shame for all able bodied citizens of the country who spoke loudly of patriotism but failed when it is most needed.”

He rightly said that those few volunteers who came forward to the call of the nation are the true sons of Palden Drukpa. I can only agree that these volunteers, where they may be living today, are the true sons of Bhutan. Let’s not forget them too.

Another profound legacy of Drukgyal Zhipa is conservation of our environment. It is amazing on how he became the architect of putting environment at the centre of our development. He is truly a champion of the earth and it was befitting that he was the recipient of numerous prestigious international awards for his lifelong service to environment conservation. Today, despite our claims of enormous success in environmental conservation, it is alarming to see proliferation of mines and quarries which benefit just a few at the larger cost of the nation. We need to re-evaluate our actions and follow the lead of His Majesty in this front if we really care of His Majesty’s vision and aspirations.

I think we all need to reevaluate our priorities and actions, come to our senses and live and work to fulfill the aspirations and lead provided by His Majesty Drukgyal Zhipa for over three decades. We failed him in 2003, let’s not fail him in this more subtle but profound and enlightened vision of a happy country. Let’s celebrate his birthday the way we always do but, more than the celebration with various programme, I am sure His Majesty would be more pleased if we all work together to fulfill his aspirations and dreams for the well being of our country.

May His Majesty live forever and be a continuous source of inspiration for us all and radiate his wisdom like the rays of the sun that leaves no place in darkness.

Tashi Delek and Happy Reading.

Gyembo Namgyal
November 10, 2015







Friday, 9 October 2015

FLOWERING SPECTACLE


In whatever hues they blossom,
Flowers are beautiful universally,
Some lasts for months, some just for a day,
This one lasts for a day and completes a cycle,
Of a miraculous transformation for eyes to behold.
From lily-white in the morn, pink-white combo by noon,
And before the night falls, it transforms to pink in toto,
Providing ample introspective fodder to discern,
In the silence of night; on a miracle that just unfolded.

Gyembo Namgyal
Pemagatshel

October 9, 2015


Sunday, 30 August 2015

BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS AND SHORT TERM RETREATS

source: google
While western people look for meaning and essence of life to the wisdom of eastern culture particularly Buddhism, we are increasingly trying to copy western culture. Look at the food our people eat, the clothes we wear and our desperation to look different with makeup and weird hairdos and with all these we also see violence, drugs, smugglings, thefts, robberies, frauds, corruptions and many other evil offshoots of those cultures taking roots in our society.

Just the other day, I was watching a BBS programme. It was a discussion programme with two monks, one was a Khenpo and another was a doctor-turned monk. Both were insisting on the need for lay people to take a break from their works and take vows of the sangha for a short period to get better perspectives of life. I did not realize such a provision exists and it is indeed a wonderful opportunity for lay people to take monastic vows for any period of time they wish and partake in the daily routines of a monastery or a nunnery like regular monks and nuns.

I couldn’t agree more with the doctor that this could in fact be a potent antidote for the insatiable desires of our mind that leads people to take evil paths ultimately bringing them more sufferings. I think this is a wonderful opportunity for people to get their perspectives on the right track and will contribute tremendously to the ideals of a compassionate and caring society. I don’t see why government and corporations should not allow their workers short leave from their jobs for this kind of retreat. I am sure when they rejoin their work they will become more productive and also become positive influence on their peers.

I was also struck by the truth of their assessment of how our society is increasingly transiting from traditional value based and caring society to a more self centric and artificial one trying to copy alien cultures. One basic example is the way we celebrate our children’s birthday today. It is not just in towns and cities that families  celebrate their children’s birthdays the western way, this culture is even making inroads in rural countryside where people with little education and understandings are trying to imitate birthday celebrations with cakes, candles and balloons like their cousins do in the towns, setting a less then desirable trend in the villages. If we really observe deeply, we are making the auspicious birthday of our children with everything inauspicious. We have birthday cakes with names of our children on them. When we cut the cake, we cut the name of the child which is quite inauspicious in our culture. We blow out candle and that is extremely inauspicious representing something like blowing out life and then poke balloons with needle while others clap.

I share the panelists’ view that we can celebrate birthdays in our own auspicious ways. We can have cakes adorned with Tashi Delek written on them and placing it on the altar as offerings first. It would be a good idea to invite a monk and perform a short cleansing ceremony (Lhabsang Thruesoel) and recite long life prayer (Tshedrup) for the child and do something good and wholesome in your  child’s name  like saving a life of an animal or donating something to a more needy ones around us. This way we instill values in our children right from the young age and they will grow up to be a more compassionate human being.

Like what the monks said we must encourage our children to say Apa to father and Ama or Aie to mother rather than Daddy or Mommy which are not our language in the first place and phonetically inauspicious. Daddy sounds like (Dredre) which means separation and Mommy sounds like (Ma Mey) no mother. These may sound trivial but, for Bhutanese there is nothing as important as Tendrel which is the custom of believing in the importance of auspiciousness in everything we do and it would certainly make sense to care about small things closer at home than trying to emulate things we hardly understand from far away.

Happy  reading.

Gyembo Namgyal
Pemagatshel
August 30, 2015








Wednesday, 24 June 2015

THE QUIXOTIC RAIN

There is incessant rain falling,
From pregnant dark clouds blanketing.
From puddles to rivulets they become brooks,
And gushes of white-water from collection of creeks,
Back to where it began the water keeps journeying.

There are flashes of lightening outside,
It’s the architect of darkness inside.
When the light goes out in sudden,
Darkness returns to incandescent and tungsten,
Halogen, fluorescent and iridescent on all sides.

There are people groping in the darkness,
A faint blue light from a gadget comes in fastness.
A flickering light on the matchstick follows,
And just when a candle is lit to light, though shallow,
Electricity returns all bright and glowing in vastness.

Sooner the candle is put out by someone blowing,
The wig begins emitting faint smoke flowing.
Then a flash outside brings about darkness yet again inside,
Darkness mocks at inhabitants quixotically from all sides,
And this time all stay still except for the sounds of rain on the roof; beating.



Gyembo Namgyal
Pemagatshel

June 24, 2015 02:30 PM


Friday, 12 June 2015

OF FOOTBALL AND FOOTBALLERS

(A light hearted post on football constructed with footballers’ names as building blocks)
picture source; google


 No one can deny the fact that football is a universally loved sport. The silky skills and visionary passing of midfielders, the lightening speed of wingers on the flanks, the wall like stubbornness of defense, the magnetic hands of goalkeepers and clinical finishes of strikers makes this game something that will always be watched day in and day out across the globe.

“Bend it like Beckham,” is a famous quote in foot-balling world. I would add; “Watch it until you are Bent (Darren Bent-Aston Villa) and your Back Harmed (Beckham).

Football is lucrative sport that is worth billions of Dollars, Pounds and Sterling (Raheem Sterling-Liverpool). It is a physically demanding sport that requires expending lot of energy leaving you dehydrated, so you have to Drink Water (Danny Drinkwater-Licester) a lot, during the game.

 Often players have to bear the Brunt (Chris Brunt-West Brom) of its physicality. If you are hit in the eyes, you have a likely chance of becoming Blind (Daley blind- Manchester United), because the Hunt (Jack Hunt-Crystal Palace) is on for trophies.

Many  footballers begin their career when they are Young (Ashley Young-Man U) and some are not only small but, Smalling (Chris Smalling-man U) that we can call them Nani (Manchester United) and before you graduate to become a Walker (Kyle Walker-Tottenham) you also have to Crouch (Peter Crouch-Stoke).

The walk can trigger the Heat On (Tom Heaton-Burnley) and the journey can be Long (Kevin Long-Burnley), it can take you as far as Kabul (Younas Kaboul-Tottenham) where women play football covered under burkha.

 Most players play Cleverly (Tom Clervely-Everton) in the Kompany (Vincent Kompany-Man City) where a non-Bhutanse has a Bhutanese- like name of Zeko (Eden  Dzeko-Man City). Some footballers are Bony (Wiflred Bony-Man City) and Contact with bony footballers is health Hazard (Eden Hazard-Chelsea). Few are so robust that they have earned the tag of being Villain (Willian-Chelsea). But, some footballers have cult like followers like Hindu Mata (Juan Mata-Man U).

If football stadium is a Palace (Crystal Palace FC), there would be Gunners (Arsenal) as sentries. The Kings (Ledley King, Andy King) will be in one of the Chambers (Calum Chambers-Arsenal) watching match live on television and you will be ushered in by Chamberlain (Oxlade Chamberlain-Arsenal). In the Queen’s Park, Rangers (QPR) keep their vigil from Myhill (Boaz Myhill-West Brom) huddled between stones (Huddlestone-Hull City) as the Queen (Stephen Quinn-Hull City) opens the Cork (Jack Cork-Swansea) of Champaign bottle in the palace to celebrate their team’s win.

And out in the field a Gardener (Craig Gardener-West Brom) is busy moving a Bale (Gareth Bale-Real Madrid) of grass to the Barnes (Ashley Barnes-Burnley) nearby, covered in Grimes (Matt Grimes-Swansea) before heading home to watch a cup final.

Sometimes when you are in the losing side 90 minute is too Long (Kevin Long-Burnley) especially when your strikers fail to hit Target (Matt Target). And the players asks themselves if they are playing Wright (Wright-Man City)but, deep inside they keep telling themselves; “yes we Can” (Emre Can-Liverpool) and certainly this is Wisdom (Wisdom-Liverpool).

Goal post is not mere Woodgate(Jonathan Woodgate-fmr Real Madrid) with timbers from Westwood (Westwood-Aston Villa) or constructed by Mason (Ryan Mason-Tottenham) with bricks and mortars. Nor are the posts baked from flour by Baker (Nathan Baker-Aston Villa) but, they are steel posts made by Smith (Willson Smith). Collision with the posts can break you Cheek (Cheek-Chelsea) and you not only become Brown (Wes Brown-Sunderland) but can completely turn you into a Blackman (Blackman-Chelsea). Such an injury can land you in a hospital Ward (Ward-Liverpool) for a long time.

Given (Shay Given-Aston Villa) that footballers work in teams, managers have to Herd (Chris Herd-Aston Villa) players together like a Shepherd (Liam Shepphard-Swansea).

Some footballers are loved like Rose (Danny Rose-Tottenham) flowers and others are Noble (Mark Noble-West Ham United) in their hearts. Some life stories are like a Page (Lewis Page-WHU) out of a fairy tale that you remember from Oxford (Rea Oxford-WHU) press that you read when walking along the Downing (Stuart Downing- WHU) street to meet prime minister, not in Ireland (Stephen Ireland-Stoke) but in England.

Football is loved universally and many trace the origin of the game to time of Adam (Charlie Adam-Stoke) while others believe the game started from the time of Moses (Victor Moses-Stoke). Whatever may be the truth, football is the world’s most beautiful game that even the names of players have a story to tell.

Happy Funny Reading!!!

Gyembo Namgyal
June 12, 2015

Disclaimer: This article is about the game of football written in light-hearted manner using professional footballers’ names in literal sense. This article in no way is intended to malign anyone either intentionally or otherwise. It is a creative work using names of footballers in building up sentences to tell a comical story on football.


Tuesday, 19 May 2015

BREAKING CLUMPS OF SOIL UNDER MOON-LIT NIGHTS

It was a full moon night. Houses in the village nearby can be seen silhouetted against the moon lit background. The village looks to have slept long time back, soon after the night has fallen. There were no electricity and people hardly stayed awake for few hours after the darkness.

But, out in the barren field someway away from the village, a group of young men and women, and few boys and girls are in the middle of a work amidst laughter, whispers and occasional bouts of singing. Bizarre it may sound but, sometimes, some households in my village hired helping hands of young men and women during the full moon nights to break clumps of dry soil in preparation for the oncoming wheat sowing.

I didn’t understand then on why people hired helping hands during nights. Now I understand how people must have had their hands full during the day, so that something less serious like breaking down clumps of soil can be done in the low visibility of the moon-lit nights. However, young men and women and even small boys and girls always looked forward excitedly to be working in barren fields during night time. In fact, all the young people (single) in the village will turn up for the task, each holding a long handled wooden mallet. The reason for excitement is all too obvious.

Winter is cold in place like Bumthang even during the day. Night is even colder with temperatures plummeting below freezing point and the gutsy wind that blows in the valley adds to the misery but, when you are young, you always have the gut to ignore the inclement weather. And the prospect of being able to flirt with the beautiful girls of the village under the cover of hazy moonlight with the opportunity provided by the night errand always makes it exciting for young men and women. It can be possible, that some of the matches must have taken shape while attending such errands.

Younger boys and girls who are too naïve to understand true romance are consigned to one side while more matured engineered their plans to be closer to each other where they can share their feelings and hatch naughty plans under whispers and flirt with each other.

Often, the talks in the night are between a pair in hushed tone and the sounds of bursting clumps under the force of mallets are all that can be heard loud and clear. But sometimes someone in the group starts talking loud so that rests of the members hears him. Even though, someone demands attention from the rest, there would be nothing serious to talk about but, share some raunchy jokes, that triggers bouts of laughter in the group. Sometimes, the young people sing in unison and sometimes, young men and women contest in the rendition of ballad (Tzangmo).

Tzangmo is sung in such a way that, after the first group or individual rendered four lines, the other group responses with another four lines that is basically a reply to what the first group implied through their rendition. On occasion like this, young men on one side will face off with women on the other. These kinds of rendition contest are known to go on till the wee hours of mornings. If the first one sings something sweet, the respondent tries to make it even sweeter and likewise, if one group sings something with unsavory connotation, the other will try to make it even nastier but, this normally ends with reconciliatory note. I admired at the reputation of some people who are known to be a great repository of Tzangmos.

It was funny too that, although blisters may begin forming in their palms, there is no lacking in will to go on hammering the last sizeable clumps.  Perhaps, the excitement of working side by side with the girls and boys of one’s liking may have enabled their hearts to pump lot of adrenalin into their muscles that, holding high, long handled wooden mallet and bringing them strongly on clumps of soil with thuds just comes spontaneously and effortlessly. As nights wear on,excitement among the young ones fade. Their eyes become bleary and they wish to run back home and snuggle under blankets but, the older ones remain oblivious to their plight blinded by their adrenalin rush.

This often goes on into the wee hours of the morning depending on the sizes of fields. In the end, all walk back to the house which hired those hands. The relative darkness offers privacy from prying eyes and most would be walking either hand in hand or side by side nudging each other’s shoulders flirtatiously. But, that is it. After a mug of steaming buttered tea and some snacks, boys will leave for their homes and girls will sleep in the host’s home until the next morning. 

That was how it used to be then. Now, wheat and potato fields are giving way to mushrooming of hotels, resorts and other commercial ventures. I am sure people no longer need to hire helping hands and young men and women also no longer need to go to break clumps for a chance to flirt any more.

Gyembo Namgyal

 May 19, 2015 11:55 PM


Wednesday, 13 May 2015

SLAUGHTERING THE IDEA OF SLAUGHTER HOUSES

source: google
In the last few days, there was lot of discussion in social media about the government’s decision to open slaughter houses in the country. Notwithstanding the small benefits of having slaughter houses in the country, I thought, this is a grave decision lacking wisdom and coming with utter disregard given to the concerns and sentiments of the larger population.

Arguments are being put forward justifying slaughter houses in financial and economic context. Well, how much are we really spending on import of meat that justifies setting up of slaughter houses in the country that is deeply religious? Can slaughter houses contribute to reversing the economic situation?  I have a serious doubt.

Well some argue that, since we eat lot of meat, setting up large scale meat farms and slaughter houses must be allowed amid choetens, lhakhangs and prayer flags. Certainly, there is something wrong with this kind of thinking. I think we are losing our sense of direction.

On the one hand we have the government targeting to restore thousands of hollowed-out choetens and restore their sanctity for peace, harmony and well being of all sentient beings and on the other hand the same government wants to start mega meat farms and slaughter houses for what? Other than ensuring blood smeared wealth for few promoters, the nation is bound to lose its own priceless age-old Bhutanese Buddhist values like the rest of senseless consumer driven countries of the world.

Let’s not forget that, it is Bhutan which gave the world the alternative development paradigm of Gross National Happiness (GNH) propounded by His Majesty the Fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuck. GNH is a development philosophy based on Buddhist principles of moderation and compassion. Where will slaughter houses fit in? Let’s please not follow the path of illusion offered by endless consumerism and let us realize that the rest of the world is looking at us for directions as they become increasingly disillusioned by their unsustainable way of living based on insatiable consumerism.   Do we need to follow them by going the same way? Are we also seeing greener grasses on other side of the fence?

What does the mother of all our laws, the Constitution say? It says that, “Buddhism is the spiritual heritage of our country which promotes principles and values of peace, non-violence, compassion and tolerance.” Where does the slaughter house fit in?

People also argue that because we Bhutanese consume lot of meat, slaughtering takes place across the border for Bhutanese consumers. Well, we can also argue that, because meat is made available without restrictions, people tend to keep consuming. And let’s be honest here that urban dwellers with more affluence consume more meat than rural folks. While meat may be a staple for rich, it is still luxury for poor people in the villages.

Rather than allowing in slaughter houses and letting Bhutanese who can afford meat in all their meals become wholly carnivorous, an idea of meat rationing can reduce over consumption of meat. I think we can do this. Excess consumption of red meat is linked to cancer while animal fat are considered really unhealthy. We are not meant to be meat eaters. Look at our teeth, they are meant to chew and grind grains not puncture fatal wounds, tear flesh and break bones like natural carnivorous. Why isn't there institutionalized campaign against excessive meat consumption like we have for alcohol, tobacco and other substances which when consumed in excess becomes health hazards? Perhaps meat could be another root cause for rising NCDs in the country and NCDs are more common among urban dwellers than rural people.  Available records confirm the correlation.

source: google
And some may be of the view that Bhutanese Buddhist rituals are also heavily laden with non-vegetarian meals. Well, that is right. Today, even the after-death rituals take a party like atmosphere of meat laden buffets. I must confess that, this is all because of us. We can only blame ourselves for this trend. His Holiness, the Je Khenpo had issued repeated decrees on doing away with meat in rituals.  We must be ashamed of our conduct by not heeding to His Holiness’s decrees. Can we blame our religion for this?

So, before it is too late, let’s come to our senses and scrap the idea of slaughter houses.  The idea of slaughter houses should not have even taken roots in government thinking, in the first place. I am glad that petitions have come against the idea both from outside the country and also from our religious body, the Dratshang Lhentshok. I hate to use this word, but the idea of slaughter houses needs ‘SLAUGHTERING’ in the first place.

PEOPLE MAY ALSO ARGUE THAT, KILLING WILL ONLY CEASE WHEN EATING STOPS BUT, I THINK EATING WILL CERTAINLY REDUCE WHEN THE KILLING STOPS. WE DON’T EAT FIRST AND KILL LATER. WE HAVE TO KILL FIRST TO BE ABLE TO EAT.

Gyembo Namgyal
May 13, 2015 02:40 pm









Sunday, 10 May 2015

THE FLIP SIDE OF BEING A SUPERSTAR

source: google
For the last few days, media stories in India was dominated by the ‘Hit and Run’ case that happened in 2002 involving Bollywood super star Salman Khan. The kind of coverage given to this case with diverse views and opinions made me make my own observations and decided to write what I thought about it but, I abandoned it after some paragraphs.  With the issue not dying down easily with fresh twist and turns being given to the entire episode, I decided to put my little perspective on this issue.
Right from the onset, I must make it clear here that, I am neither a legal expert nor do I posses much understanding of how legal system works.  Whatever is written is entirely my personal view. Drawing reference from Salman’s case, I just want to present my simple understanding on how, while serving various peripheral interests; people may in fact be losing the real perspective of the issue itself at hand.

This is reported to be a case that took place in 2002 in Mumbai, the state capital of Maharashtra with a car running over some people sleeping on the pavement. One person lost his life and some others injured badly. The controversy still rages on with some saying, the actor was driving while others including the accused, now convicted in the case, denying it. Some saying there were four people inside the car while others say there were three.

Whatever, a case was registered against the actor. One of the key witnesses was the bodyguard provided by police to the actor, who unfortunately died of TB in 2007. There were lots of discrepancies on how things took over from that moment including the incidences leading to testing the actor for alcohol level in his blood, according to reports.

It was unfortunate, that the case took 12 years to come to a conclusion. The people who suffered the most were the victims who are poor and some of who lost their livelihood from debilitating injuries they sustained. It was unfortunate for them. Despite the fact that the case took so long, Salman had reportedly obliged to court’s direction and have attended all the hearings leading up to his conviction recently.

While media is still having field day with the issue because it involved a high profile celebrity, the case in itself is something that happens every day on Indian roads. Some are more horrific and yet make just a mere mention at best and soon the cases are forgotten. Some may have even escaped justice while victims suffer with not much compensation paid to victims and media hardly follow those stories later. However since a superstar is involved in this particular incidence, it continues to get all the attentions from media.

It was also understood that, following the accident, the trial court ordered the actor to submit over 19 lakhs Rupees to compensate victims which the actor did immediately and was even willing to make further compensations. This was reportedly barred by the court ordering the actor not to make further compensations and also to refrain from visiting those victims apparently in a bid to prevent him from buying witnesses. While compensations for the rest of the victim have reportedly been made, the family of the deceased is yet to receive their compensations because of disagreement between the deceased father and his widow.
 
source: google
As is the procedure, the culprit must be tried and sentenced for whatever laws he must have broken that night. The actor was found guilty of culpable homicide and sentenced to five years in jail. This was hailed by many people as law being impartial irrespective of status. The law also provides defendant his right to defend himself within the legal provisions. So, he exercised his right and secured interim bail and within two days moved High Court and secured reprieve. And this time the same people began questioning the fairness of justice system. Isn’t this cynicism? Why the case took 12 long years to conclude is something that is for the system to look at and make remedies if necessary.

I have been watching debates of all kind on Indian televisions. Never ever had an entire panelist agreed on any issue like they did on the legality of court granting bail to the actor. At times, I had the feeling that it was media which seem to disagree with court’s decision and make it look like the entire decision being influenced by money and star power. This could be why oftenmoderators found themselves against panelists who all seem to agree to the correctness of all the procedures followed in the actor being granted bail.

Another interesting observation was about the views of the victims. They said that, they are least bothered by the conviction or the sentence handed over to the actor.
“All we are looking for is some kind of monetary compensations that can alleviate our sufferings. We are least concerned with his sentencing,” said one of the victims. Media repeatedly failed to highlight on the aspirations of the victims.

What is interesting is that, the actor who is well known for his charitable activities was willing to look after the well beings of the victims irrespective of the outcome of the case. This is exactly what the survivors want and he is willing to do just that. For the victims only such an action can bring about the real difference to the lives affected by the accident. The concerns for media, authorities and social workers must be on how best victims’ sufferings can be eased.

source: google
I was also asking myself how the situation would be handled if it was in our country. There would be definitely pain, anguish and sufferings but at the end, if there is no motive, the parties will come to a compromise called Nangkha Nangdrik and matter settled amicably. The victims need not wait 12 years for justice. Justice will also be served in accordance with law for the culprit within few days or weeks. The departed soul will also rest in peace when there is no wrangling and bickering in the aftermath. The affected family can devote their precious times praying and helping the soul find peace and in rehabilitating those injured.

Finally, I would reiterate here that, this is my personal view on an issue that has dominated Indian media in the recent days making it look complicated. All I am asking myself is why don’t we make things simple by not forgetting the crux of the issue. The crux of the issue here according to me is that, an accident has taken place in which poor victims are involved. And their sufferings need to be alleviated fast rather than the issue being made a good fodder for all sorts of wrangling in public domain simply because it involved a film star. This is flip side of being a superstar. Nothing can get away that easily.

Happy Reading

Gyembo Namgyal

May10, 2015 9:00pm


Wednesday, 6 May 2015

A GESTURE TO REMEMBER

Just a few days back on May 2, schools everywhere in Bhutan marked Teacher’s Day. The day is a special one as it is also the birth anniversary of the Father of Bhutan, late His Majesty, the third Druk Gyalpo Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. It was under him that Bhutan shed its self imposed isolation from outside world and embarked upon the rapid path of modernization. Marking this special day as Teacher’s Day is a befitting tribute to the great monarch enabling all of us to pay our respects and gratitude.

The day as a teacher’s day reinforces the special bond that exists between teachers and students. For students, is a day to thank their teachers for bestowing upon them, the priceless gift of knowledge and for bringing them up to be responsible and productive citizens of the country. And for teachers, the day reminds them of the onus they have in not just teaching lessons from text books but also shaping young people into complete human being through their exemplary conduct. Like everybody else, I also thanked all my teachers, some taught lessons in classes, others taught things about life and living. I owe all of them my heartfelt gratitude.

This year, the day also brought a pleasant surprise to me. A close friend came to my place with a beautiful wishing card and a generous gift of books for a mini library that I am trying to build at home. I was humbled by such a gesture from a friend who admitted that despite being a friend, he learnt valuable lessons and meanings of life from me. I wonder what meaningful thing I could have said all along except that, whenever I see him confused, I try to share my take on issues confronting him.

What made it even more special is the fact that, this is only the second time he wished someone with a card on Teacher’s Day in his entire life. For me this is bound to be my first and certainly the last. So, it is a special one.
 
SOURCE: GOOGLE
Thank you Tashi, for your thoughtfulness. If you have benefitted from our friendship in any ways, it is because of your receptive attitude and the desire you have, to change for the better. Although, I am not a teacher, I accept your beautiful card that I have it pasted  on my living room wall and the books will make a prized addition to my small library.

Thank you and god bless you always!

Gyembo Namgyal

May 6, 2015 10.30 pm


Monday, 20 April 2015

ARE WINNERS ALWAYS RIGHT?

picture source: Google
Last Saturday, I was watching one of the most anticipated English Premier League football match between the leaders Chelsea and third place Manchester United. It was a high octane match living up to the expectation of ardent EPL followers and football lovers. The match ended with Chelsea taking all three points and making their pursuit of the coveted trophy even closer. For United, it was the fading away of their last hope of making a realistic bid of the trophy this season.

What bothers me always is the match analysis by football pundits at intervals and post matches. It is always the winner that gets all the praise while the losers are dissected and criticized for what had gone wrong. There is no arguing the fact that winners stand tall, but do winners always do the right thing to deserve all accolades as match pundits always shower on.
 
picture source: Google
Certainly, Chelsea won the all important clash of the titans that night, but to me the result did not necessarily reflect on Chelsea’s superiority on field. Chelsea won the match with a goal in a match dominated by Manchester United with the possession of nearly 70 percent. And isn’t it the better team that dominates possession on the pitch. So my question is on why these pundits’ analysis have to  always be in favour of the winning team and not on the proper match analysis of the entire 90 minutes and give due credit too, on the overall performance.

Notwithstanding the fact that, result is what matters in the end, analysis must be on the game as a whole and not just be about the result alone that could have happened in one moment of magic or madness. Better teams on the pitch not always win matches in the end but that do not necessarily reflect on how bad they played.
picture source: Google

Likewise, in real life too, it is always those successful people who get all the accolades even if the path to their successes may have been riddled with murky past. Those who are not so successful are always criticized, dissected and judged negatively by the society without understanding the reasons. I feel, not all successful people are  necessarily good people doing right things at all times and likewise not all unsuccessful people are  necessarily losers and failures to be despised and looked down.

Who doesn’t want to succeed and who doesn’t want to win always? And in striving to win and succeed many fail and falter, but that doesn’t make them any inferior. Like the need for football pundits to be objective with their match analysis which always tend to tell about everything right done by winners and point out all the wrong moves of the losing team, in life too, we all need to appreciate success acquired through fair and legitimate means while also empathizing with honest good people who are not so lucky in life.

Gyembo Namgyal
Pemagatshel
April 21, 2015

Dear readers, this post is not about that football match I cited in the article. It is about how experts analyse matches which are always pro winners which to me falls short of being objective. And, in real life too, it always happens the same way like football analysis failing to be objective and we don’t even realize that. This is the point here.


Happy Reading.


Tuesday, 17 March 2015

BEAUTIFUL GAME IN THE LAND OF HAPPINESS

picture source: Riku Dhan Subba
Bhutan’s win over Sri Lanka in FIFA’s world cup pre-qualification match today watched by thousands of spectators live in Changlimithang stadium and thousands others on television was an unprecedented sporting moment in the country. Never before had Bhutanese turned out in such large numbers and certainly never been entertained by a sporting event in the country like today.  

Even for us, watching on television, the atmosphere in the stadium looked electrifying with our own Bhutanese Waves sweeping through the jam-packed stadium which reportedly has the capacity of 25,000.
picture source: Riku


This may be one of the few major tournaments that had ever been hosted by Bhutan. It certainly marks Bhutan’s ability to not just host some international matches but also show the world, the strides and progress of football that was rapidly taking place in this small kingdom.

Winning comfortably with a score of 2-1 today, Bhutan cruised past Lanka with an aggregate of 3-1. Bhutan led 1-0 from the first leg, played in Colombo. This was certainly one of the best results ever, I think.

 It was a deserving win today. We could have won by greater margin, had our players been able to convert some clear chances. Honestly speaking, Bhutan dominated right from the start and looked extremely dangerous on breaks with the speed of the striker by the name Chencho. The first goal was pure magic. Cool and professional finish from a difficult angle. To me that moment was akin to watching European leagues like EPL, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A etc.

I must confess that the first time the news of Bhutan’s win in Sri Lanka filtered in social media, I thought that must have been one of those lucky moment for our side. Watching the return leg on television with a dominant display by our boys was unbelievable. FIFA ranks Bhutan at the bottom of the world ranking at 209 places. Sri Lanka is ranked 35 places above Bhutan at 174, a point below India. Today’s result will do a lot of good to change all these. It is good for football in Bhutan. The future looks bright.
picture source: BBS


The boys deserve the credit. They showed us what they can achieve if groomed adequately. I really hope, government will take sports seriously from now on to take it to the next level. It is really possible for our sportsmen to achieve new heights.

Tomorrow, the global sports newspapers will be headlined by Bhutan. This time it will be for the right reason. The national players did us proud. The beautiful game has found its love in the land of happiness.

Gyembo Namgyal

March 17, 2015 11:30 PM


Saturday, 28 February 2015

IT WAS NOT MARATHON, BUT SECOND LAP OF A RELAY

picture: google
At the end of last month, someone wrote that, after a month of marathon blogging, he felt a sense of relief. He wrote how he felt during his month long blogging, running out ideas and topic and sweating in the middle of the night. Somehow he managed to complete his writing marathon. It was commendable to be writing one post every day because it is not easy.

By then, I was also having my own writing plan. I had few New Year resolutions just broken and wanted to redeem by the beginning of February. How I broke my resolution was bit funny because the resolutions have not seen even the first day.

I had a list ready and daring to go when on January 1, a friend turned up and declared that resolutions are meant to be broken. It was not my intention to break them but, had to. Writing regularly for my blog was one of them. So, with my resolution broken without even beginning, I took a month long sabbatical from blogging. Well, not writing was easiest part. One day led to the next adding up to weeks and lo, a month was over. Not a single blog post.

This is how easy it is to lose what few good habits that we may have like reading and writing on daily basis or at least regularly. I didn't want that to happen. I had to pick up from where I left and that bloggers note saying he completed a month long marathon of blogging was just the perfect prod for me to pick up writing again.
picture: google

I declared, it was not a marathon he completed, I took it as a writing relay. I took the baton from him on January 31, and began my own writing run, not marathon but another lap of a relay. I was lucky to run the second lap, an easier one. I hope someone will pick up the baton from tomorrow and begin another month long third lap.

I call upon fellow bloggers to pick up another month long writing challenge from tomorrow, March 1. I was lucky to be writing the second lap. Like in real sprint relay race, those running the middle lap are slower that those who run the first lap and the last lap. The weaker ones are in the middle. I am one who ran the middle lap.

Honestly, it was not that easy writing every day. Avoiding writing on late nights was simply irresistibly tempting.  I did not have any obligations or deadlines like before. But I slogged on. And today, it feels good to have not abandoned writing in the middle. just Like a runner whose muscles are stretched and strained with cramps and lungs running out of air, ideas did run out on many nights, and  time was always against me but, like the runner who must keep running till the line, I also made a resolve to write and post one blog every night come what may.  

I must thank few friends who suggested ideas when I most needed. Often, when I run out of idea, like anyone else I try to think. The more I think, the more constricted my brain becomes of ideas. It was during those moments some of my good  friends came to my rescue suggesting ideas. They were refreshing.
 
picture: google
Well, let me tell one thing to my readers that, if we have little will and determination we can do things we want to do. We always claim to be busy and lacking time to do things. This is not true. The truth is we lack determination. You see, I did not post one single blog in January. I did not have time too, but more than the time, I did not have that determination. In February, I must say I had even busier days but, yet churned out 28 blog post for the month’s 28 days because, I told myself I am going to write everyday. This is the difference. But I must confess that, in doing so, I may not have interesting or readable stories and that was the flip side of keeping my self imposed declaration intact.

From now, there will be no daily blogs to bore readers but, like in the past I intend to keep trickling posts on regular intervals.

 Dear friends, some of you keep saying that, you are busy and have works to do, things to attend to, before picking up books to read or articles to write. Well, that day is not going to come. If you really want to read and write, do it now, make a beginning and make it happen.

Happy reading and god bless you all.

Gyembo Namgyal

February 28, 2015 09:00 PM


Friday, 27 February 2015

JUMDRE-MI-LUWA;THE LAW OF CAUSE AND EFFECT

source: google
My yesterday’s post was about the evidence that, there is life after death. Buddhists always believed in this phenomena and it forms the basis of Buddhists practice. Now, evidences of rebirth are filtering in even from nonconformist places that reincarnation and rebirths are possible and that there are ample evidences of life after death.

If there is life after death then, it is certain that, all will want to be reborn in a most conducive environment where there is no suffering and life is filled with joy and happiness. Who will want to be born amid sufferings and chaos where war, famine, violence and crime are a part of everyday life if we knew and also had a choice? What would be our choice?  Will we ever walk into suffering with open eyes? We do have a choice according to Buddhist belief. It is up to us which choice to make. This is called, ‘ Jumdre Mi Lu Wa,’ the incontrovertible truth of cause and effect.
 
source;google
I must again make a confession before further ado that, what I am writing is not a scholarly or masterly view expressed with authority over this subject. Mine is an explanation of lay man’s perspective. It will undoubtedly be filled with lot of deficiencies. I take full responsibility for any.

Well, let’s now admit from evidences cited in earlier post that there is life after death. And the life after death is determined by our actions in the previous life and, how and where we are born are because of the result of indisputable law of cause and effect called Ley Jumdre. Ley Jumdre is truth based on the wisdom of; as you sow, so you reap. Rimpoches and teachers often put it like this-if we sow maize, it will be maize plant that will grow and not otherwise. Likewise, if we sow seeds of love and peace, we can expect to be loved back and peace to prevail. Love begets love, not hatred. Peace will bring peace, not violence.
 
source: google
Now, if we are convinced with the truth of cause and effect-Ley Jumdre, which we should. Then shouldn't humans at individual level pursue actions that will result in achieving good after-life? If we are to invest through good speech, thoughts and actions for our future life, we would be mindful of our present actions. If we are all mindful of present actions, results for future cannot be wrong. Consistency in our actions will ensure that there will be no discord in family and neighbourhood. When neighbours and communities coexist in peaceful and harmonious atmosphere, the nation will be at peace and progress in humanitarian areas can take place and we can prosper. Extension of this at greater magnitude will be global peace and harmony.

 Can this be achieved then? Yes it can, I would say, if we are prepared to change ourselves at individual level. What and whose purposes do war and violence serve? War and violence only serve the interest of blood sucking war mongers, megalomaniac despots and corporate thugs. In the process, ordinary human beings lose the purpose of life and with it, the rare opportunity to achieve higher rebirths in this endless cycle of samsara, while also making our world a better place to live.

Gyembo Namgyal
February 27, 2015 10:40 PM




Thursday, 26 February 2015

IS THERE LIFE AFTER DEATH?

source: google
Today, I picked up a difficult topic for my blog on whether there is life after death. Right from the onset, I must confess, I am neither a science buff nor a spiritual master. Not even a serious practitioner but, someone who by the virtue of having been born in an inherited Buddhist society, believes that there is life after death. With time and maturity, this believe only becomes firmer with evidences around us.

I think science does not believe in reincarnation or that there is life after death. For centuries science always maintained that life ends after death. But, Buddhism I think maintains that death is not an end of life. That there is life after death and we have the potential to become enlightened or be born in any life form depending upon our present deeds and actions. Virtuous deeds lead to better rebirth and sinful and vice living leads to rebirth in lesser forms. For this reason, Buddhism advocates virtuous and ethical living to pave way for better rebirth that will entail less suffering.

I think centuries old Buddhist wisdom converges with modern scientific findings and discoveries on many issues. In most instances, what science today discovers, always had Buddhist answers and explanations too. This is truly amazing. What researchers are discovering and finding in laboratories, Buddhist masters have discovered and taught for hundreds of years from caves, hermitages and monasteries.

But on one issue, even with convincing evidences, science seems to be reluctant to admit to the existence of life after death and reincarnation which Buddhism believes firmly. Accomplished Buddhist masters reach a stage where they gain control over their mind and also their mortal beings. Highly accomplished Buddhist masters have reincarnated again and again to serve spiritual needs of people and liberate these people from ignorance and samaras.

The Dalai Lama is the 14th reincarnation, the Karmapas are 17th reincarnations, the late Shamarpa is 24th, Gyalwang Drukpa is the 12th reincarnation to cite few examples of reincarnation of accomplished masters.

The fact that there are convincing evidences of even ordinary people being reborn as human reinforce the fact that there is life after death and that life can be into higher realm or lower depending upon one’s conduct during their life time. It reaffirms the truth of cause and effect (ley jumdre).

As evidence, I would like to cite an example of an incidence in Bumthang that took place just a couple of years ago. A young boy behaved strangely from his childhood. He crawled on all fours and would often hit others with his head. As he grew up and began garbling few words he made sounds like a bovine and his bout of crying subsided when he was taken to a cow pen. Perplexed, the parents sought divination from some high lamas and it was found that in his past life he was mithun bull in a nieghbour’s house. As a child, he often disappeared from his home and he was always to be found in a cow shed. Strange, but it is a true story.

There are innumerable other stories of deceased people taking rebirth in neighbour and relative’s family. Some are even reborn in the same home. The evidences are identifying people and objects and recalling past life when the children were just able to speak few words.

Farther away, even in a society where reincarnation and life after death is not believed, a convincing case of life after death was reported recently from Israel-Syria border. A three-year-old boy said with accuracy of his previous home and that he was murdered in his past life. He took village elders to a spot where he said his former remains were buried. When the people dug up the place they found the remains of a human body. He then led people to a place where he said murder weapon, an axe was buried, and the search group also unearthed an axe. The boy had a birth mark on his forehead and he claimed it to be where he was hit in his past life. The skull had marks which bore the brunt of the axe on the same spot. What was even more baffling was that the boy led the group to the house of the murderer and identified him. The man confessed and was subsequently tried and sentenced. This incidence was recorded by a medical doctor.

I think these are ample evidences of life after death. Evidences of mind having potential to control physical remains are also amply documented over the centuries and even today accomplished masters leave us no room for doubting this belief. The most recent case was that of the mortal remains of Late His Holiness Geshe Geden Rinchen which failed to decompose and began shrinking baffling the scientific communities. The case of Hambo Lama Iteligov’s body still in lotus posture and without signs of decaying almost a century after his death in Russia have no scientific explanations whatsoever.

There are so many other stories of reincarnation that proves of life after death. I think scientific communities must acknowledge in the belief that there is indeed life after death. There are ample evidences the world over. There is no need for further scientific proof of something science cannot prove.

Gyembo Namgyal

February 26, 2015 11:58 PM


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