Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Bhutan - Dungse Rinpoche passes away

«Dungse Thinley Norbu Rinpoche
His Holiness Dungse Thinley Norbu Rinpoche, a great teacher of the most learned Buddhist lams and a primary holder of the D├╝djom Tersar (Nyingma) lineage, passed away peacefully at 10.25 am (BST) yesterday in New York.

Rinpoche, 81, who was reportedly ailing from chronic diabetes, passed away in a hospital in New York, according to a spokesperson from Garab Rinpoche’s office in Thimphu.

An emergency meeting held yesterday afternoon among the followers of His Holiness in Thimphu decided to bring His Holiness’s kudung (body) to Bhutan. “There are many disciples and close followers of His Holiness in Bhutan,” the spokesperson said. “A date has not been confirmed yet.”

His Holiness the Je Khenpo, who is on a religious tour of the eastern dzongkhags, offered 2,000 butter lamps in Lhuentse yesterday afternoon, while the central monk body offered 1,000 butter lamps in Punakha dzong.

Dungse Rinpoche was the chief architect of the Thimphu Memorial chorten, which he built under the guidance of his father, Chabje Dudjom Rinpoche, former head of the Nyingma lineage. It was built in 1974 to honour the memory of the third King, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck (1928-72).

His Holiness Dungse Rinpoche lived in Bhutan since mid-’50s and has many devotees all over Bhutan. He left Bhutan in the mid-’70s in deferment to the directives of his father, the late His Holiness Dudjom Jigdrel Dorji Rinpoche, to teach in the West. Since then, Rinpoche has been residing in upstate New York.

His Holiness last visited Bhutan in October 2009, on the invitation of Prime Minister Jigmi Y Thinley.

Expressing condolence on behalf of the people and government of Bhutan, Lyonchhoen said that His Holiness was a great teacher and a wonderful human being, who lived a humble life, setting the highest of examples. “A great bodhisattva has departed, leaving all of us with a deep sense of painful loss and grief. We pray for his swift return to continue his mission to liberate all sentient beings,” Lyonchhoen Jigmi Y Thinley said.

During his month long visit to Bhutan in 2009, His Holiness performed tshogkhors (feast offerings) and badza guru lungs (oral transmissions of Guru mantra) in Paro, Thimphu and in Rangjung, Trashigang.

Dungse Rinpoche, who is the father of Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche and Garab Rinpoche, is considered to be an emanation of Longchen Rabjam (Longchenpa), the 15th century Nyingma scholar, and incarnation of Terton Drimed Odser, who was one of the seven sons of Dudjom Lingpa (1835-1904).

Revered by practitioners of Buddhism all over the world, Dungse rinpoche was a pre-eminent teacher of the Nyingma lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, and patron of the Vajrayana foundation in California and Hawaii in the US.

By Rinzin Wangchuk

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Bhutan - Bhutan Travel Experience and the Asian Switzerland

The myth and fascinating reality of Switzerland showcased in a million stories and anecdotes as Europe's paradise on earth has permeated the global consciousness for generations. From Swiss watches to Swiss cheese and from the Swiss Alps to the breath-taking beauty of Swiss lakes, no other country the same size has made its mark on cultures. With one exception though-Bhutan. This is at least true though for those adventure-seeking globe trotters who have experienced Bhutan travel first hand not by watching a stunning National Geographic special on Bhutan treks, Bhutan holidays or Bhutan vacations but by stepping on Bhutanese soil by traveling to Bhutan as a guest of the monarchy since every tourist is a revered guest.
Bhutan travel encompasses at least a Dozen Twists...
Bhutan isn't called "the Land between Heaven and Earth," or "the Fairyland Kingdom," or "Shangri-la" for nothing. The government has sensibly promulgated a long list of rules that govern Bhutan travel. Here are a few for starters all of which have done the job to letter perfection and preserved the pristine cultural and natural heritage of the country:

Planning your Bhutan travel itinerary
You can't simply pick up your bags, board a flight and hop off at the airport in Bhutan, You can visit Bhutan only by participating in a government sponsored travel program in which you pay approximately $250 per day to enjoy the penultimate Bhutan travel experience. The daily fee includes just about everything-your hotel stay, food, personal tour guide, private transportation, entry tickets to monasteries and other places of interest, and once in a while, a meal at an ethnic Bhutanese restaurant. We have both good and bad news for shopoholics. The bad news is that the Bhutan government won't pay you for your personal shopping. The good news, however, is that there is a mind-boggling array of choices to select from most of which are so cheap that you are going to run out of money before you know it!
Visa for Bhutan travel
The visa for your Bhutan travel program is going to be issued by your tour operator and not by any embassy. It will run you no more than $20 per person. We think that's a deal and we know you will agree. This helps the Bhutan government to cautiously control how many tourists are allowed into the country each year much like non-immigrant visas. Bottom line? Plan early because the whole world is gradually beginning to find out what a genuine deal Bhutan travel happens to be and we obviously wouldn't want you to be disappointed!

Bhutan travel means one airport one airline
There is only one airport in the entire country located at Paro and there is only one airline, Druk Air, which flies into the country and that too from no more than about half a dozen countries. It is therefore a great idea to plan your Bhutan holiday at least three or four months in advance so that you are blessed with all the convenient flight connections there are available. Many travelers, who have shared their Bhutan experience first hand through blogs and wikis, have mentioned that the process of landing and take off in Bhutan is an experience on to itself.

What to see when you travel to Bhutan

Now that we have hopefully peaked your curiosity, we want you to conduct some research on Bhutan. Troll the Internet, check out a few travel guides, and most importantly, post an inquiry on your Facebook page to help you find a friend or business associate who has visited Bhutan. You don't need any Wikipedia articles to convince you because everyone who visits Bhutan, tends to rave about it and often wonders aloud why they didn't take the trip a lifetime ago.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Bhutan - His Majesty joins Haaps to celebrate Lomba

Haaps and Parops will remember this Lomba for years to come. This year, they are celebrating the Lomba with His Majesty the King and Her Majesty the Queen.

Lomba is celebrated as the New Year by the Haaps and Parops.

As the entourage arrived in Haa, Their Majesties were received by the monks of the Haa rabdey at the Lhakhang Karpo where the royal couple stopped briefly to offer prayers.

His Majesty is visiting Haa and Paro to assess the reconstruction of houses damaged by the September 18 earthquake.

His Majesty and Her Majesty then joined the people of Jangkakha village in Bji Geog.

Speaking to the people, His Majesty said he was happy to be in Haa as they celebrate Lomba.

“As you plan your new house, I would like to remind you about the importance of maintaining the traditional architecture. I have always cherished my visits here because of the beautiful houses that reflect our age-old culture and traditions,”

His Majesty also reminded the people that the earthquake in September will make the people and the government more prepared.

The people expressed their gratitude to His Majesty the King and Her Majesty the Queen for celebrating Lomba with them.

His Majesty the King also took part in traditional games like Khuru and Soksum.

Friday, 23 December 2011

48 schools compete at the National level

More than 600 students from 48 schools across the country are taking part in the 8th national School Games at Ugyen Academy and Khuruthang Middle Secondary School in Punakha.

The students are the winners from intra-dzongkhag and seven regional level competitions held during this academic year. They will now compete in the national level.

During the five-day event, students will participate in basketball, volleyball, badminton, table tennis, chess and other athletic events.

The Education Minister, Thakur Singh Powdyel, during the opening informed the students on the importance of sports and the national youth policies. Lyonpo said the national school games are being organised not only to excel in sports, but also for building friendship, leadership and unity.

The Education Minister urged the students to be a good and productive citizen.

The event aims to promote games and sports by encouraging mass participation and healthy competition in schools, dzongkhags and regional levels. It is also aimed at helping students to grow healthy, be responsible and productive citizens.

In the coming week, the Department of Youth and Sports will be organising the national level School football tournament at Tingtibi and Yebilaptsa in Zhemgang. A traditional archery tournament will also be organised at Gaselo Higher Secondary school in Wangduephodrang.