Sunday, 26 June 2011

Bhutan - Cheaper eggs

Increase in domestic egg supply, price hiked after Bhutan stopped import of poultry and its products following an outbreak of bird flu in India, dragged down the price.

The precautionary measure also encouraged poultry farm in the country. There are almost 150 poultry farm in Tsirang, which lead to an increase in the supply of eggs and decrease in price. Price of eggs has reduced by 50 percent. Prevailing price of an egg is Nu. 4.

There is an apprehension among small farmers, low price and rising cost of poultry feed, could force them out of business.

Poultry farm owner said,” the price went down drastically in the last three weeks,” Dorji Drukpa added, “low price is barely enough to maintain the farm.” The price for a cartoon of eggs was Nu. 1,600 in the past and now farmer fetch around Nu 1,200.

The eggs are mostly market in Thimphu.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Bhutan - IT Park vandalised

The properties of under-construction Thimphu IT Park in Serbithang was vandalised by a group of boys referred to as Babesa gang. The incident happened in the early morning of June 20.

A gang of 15-20 boys slashed around 300 cement bags, cut off electric wires, broke window panes, burnt documents, destroyed fire pumps and drilled holes in two synthetic plastic tanks.

Based on the circumstantial evidences, the police has detained second year student of Royal Thimphu College.

The police have connected the case to an incident that happened few days back. An unemployed youth was caught stealing iron rods from the site by security guards. The boy was handed over to the police.

The college student had visited the construction site in the following morning inquiring about the boy caught in act of stealing. He had warned the security guards of possible revenge by “Babesa gang”.

The very night, around 2:00 am, two groups of boys entered the site from different directions. One group distracted the security guards and other damaged the properties.

The police found canvas shoes that appeared like the shoe print left at the crime scene in the house of detainee. The forensic experts are yet to confirm this claim.

Currently, the forensic experts are on elections duty. The claim will be verified after their return.

The act of vandalism is expected to delay the completion of IT Park on time. The Project Director, Gautam Nandy is wary about the fact.

“More than the monetary losses, it is a huge loss of time.”

The boys had also threatened the guards and workers to discontinue working on the site at the time of attack. The project director fear that workers might leave following the threat.

The project has not estimated the cost of the damage.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Bhutan - The significance of Parinirvana

Perspective 15 June, 2011 - Every fifteenth day of the fourth month in the Bhutanese calendar is observed as Lord Buddha’s Parinirvana, formally known as Duechen Ngazom. Among many great deeds of the historical Buddha Shakyamuni recorded, there are twelve most important deeds, most famous among which five are included in the Parinirvana.

A summarisation from the first deeds
When the Buddha was teaching in the paradise of Tushita, which is a realm where the devas (gods) reside and also a sambhogakaya realm, the sound of his previous motivation reminded him that it was necessary to take birth in our world and teach the dharma.

He then considered five things: the land where he ought to be born (which was Kapila in Nepal), the caste he should be born into (which was a royal caste), the family in which he should be born (which was the Shakya clan), who his mother was to be (she was Mayadevi), and the time that was right for him to be born (which happened to be when the five degenerations were on the increase, the present time).

After having made these determinations, he decided to take birth in our world. This particular deed of leaving Tushita was intended to teach us that somebody, who has achieved enlightenment, is no longer a slave of his own karma, and has control over anything he or she does.

The Buddha was conceived into the womb of his mother, Mayadevi (by taking the form of a White Elephant descending from Tushita and entering the womb immaculately). One may wonder why he was conceived and then took birth. If he had complete control over everything, then why wasn’t he born miraculously from a lotus flower as was Padmasambhava?

The Buddha had a special reason for being born the normal way. He was thinking in the long term of his future disciples, who would be inspired because the Buddha, who practised and achieved enlightenment, started out like anyone else. He did this to instill conviction and confidence in his future disciples.

Third Deed: Birth in the garden of Lumbini, in present day Nepal
Although the Buddha took an ordinary human birth, there was still something special in his birth. The Buddha came out of the body of his mother through her right side. Some people might wonder how this was possible. They might think, “Well, what exactly happened? Did the rib cage crack?” One doesn’t need to think in terms of anatomical problems, because the Buddha was a miraculous being and he just took birth through his mother’s right side without any pain or obstacle.

At the time of the Buddha’s birth, there were many very special things happening where he was born. All of a sudden, crops started growing. Trees appeared all over the area of Lumbini and rare flowers, such as the Udumvara flower, that had never grown in this area, started blooming everywhere. Due to these events, he was given the name Siddhartha in Sanskrit, or Dhon Drup in Tibetan, which means, “the one that makes everything possible”.

As a result of interdependent origination, the presence of a highly accomplished individual produces changes in the environment, such as the blossoming of flowers.

Ninth Deed: Victory over of the leader of Maras, Papiyan
When the Buddha was sitting under the bodhi tree Papiyan, the leader of Maras, used forms related to the three disturbing emotions (sometimes called kleshas) of ignorance, desire, and aggression to try and lure the Buddha away from his pursuit of enlightenment. The first deception, representing ignorance, was that the Buddha was asked to abandon his meditation and return immediately to the kingdom, because his father King Shuddhodana had died and the evil Devadatta had taken over the kingdom.

Then Papiyan tried to create an obstacle using desire; his beautiful daughters tried to deceive and seduce the Buddha. When this did not disturb the Buddha’s meditation, Mara then used hatred by coming towards the Buddha surrounded by millions of horribly frightening warriors, who were throwing weapons at the Buddha’s body. But the Buddha wasn’t distracted or fooled by these three poisons. He remained immersed in compassion and loving-kindness and therefore triumphed over this display of the three poisons and was able to eventually achieve enlightenment. (This deed of the Buddha is represented by the image of the Buddha “taking the earth as witness,” gently touching the ground with his right hand and holding a begging bowl in his left hand.

Tenth Deed: Attaining enlightenment under the bodhi tree
Since the Buddha developed all the qualities of meditation to the utmost stages, he was able to reach enlightenment. He did this to demonstrate that we also can reach enlightenment. As a matter of fact, one of the main points of the whole Buddhist philosophy is to show us that Buddhahood is not something to be found outside of us, but something we can achieve by looking inside ourselves. And the qualities that we attain with enlightenment will be no different from the ones the Buddha attained. Also, the Buddha managed to eliminate all the negative emotions, the same ones we presently experience.

Twelfth Deed: Passing away at the age of 83 in the town of Kushingara
The Buddha and his monks came to a grove of sal trees in Kushinagar. The Buddha asked Ananda to prepare a couch between two trees, with its head to the north. I am weary and want to lie down, he said. When the couch was ready, the Buddha lay down on his right side, one foot upon the other, with his head supported by his right hand. Then the sal trees bloomed, although it was not their season, pale yellow petals rained down on the Buddha. The Buddha spoke for a time to his monks. At one point, Ananda left the grove to lean against a door post and weep. The Buddha sent a monk to find Ananda and bring him back. Then the Blessed One said to Ananda, Enough, Ananda! Do not grieve! Have I not taught from the very beginning that with all that is dear and beloved there must be change and separation? All that is born, comes into being, is compounded, and is subject to decay. How can one say: “May it not come to dissolution”? This cannot be.

Ananda, you have served the Tathagata with loving-kindness in deed, word, and thought; graciously, pleasantly, wholeheartedly. Now you should strive to liberate yourself.

The Blessed One then praised Ananda in front of the other assembled monks.

The Buddha spoke further, advising the monks to keep the rules of the order of monks. Then he asked three times if any among them had any questions. Do not be given to remorse later on with the thought: “The Master was with us face to face, yet face to face we failed to ask him.” But no one spoke. The Buddha assured all of the monks they would realise enlightenment.

Then he said, All compounded things are subject to decay. Strive with diligence. Then, serenely, he passed into Parinirvana.

Contributed by Choten Dorji
Lecturer in Buddhist Studies (English) Lekjung Institute for Higher Buddhist Studies Punakha

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Bhutan - 25 promoted as colonels

His Majesty the King today promoted 25 lieutenant colonels of the armed forces to the rank of colonels. This includes 14 Lt. Colonels from the Royal Bhutan Army, seven from the Royal Body Guards and four from the Royal Bhutan Police.

The officers received Tashi Khadhar from His Majesty the King at the throne room of the Tashichhodzong.

Following that, His Majesty granted an audience to the officers and their family members at the courtyard of the dzong.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Bhutan - Poland-Bhutan friendship association formed

A friendship association has been formed in Poland.

The Poland-Bhutan Friendship Society was launched in Warsaw, Poland on May 25 under the auspices of Her Majesty the Queen Mother, Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck.

While in Poland, Her Majesty launched the Polish version of her book, “Treasures of the Thunder Dragon”.

The event was attended by prominent personalities from a cross section of the Polish society, government officials. The launch of the Poland-Bhutan friendship Association and was covered by all the major TV and print media.

Her Majesty expressed confidence that the Poland-Bhutan friendship Association would play an important role in creating greater awareness about Bhutan and lead to better and closer relations between Bhutan and Poland.