Saturday, November 17, 2012

Exam Time

Finally we had to chew our own tongue that had gratified GNH more than anything. Firstly, it teaches us that not all is well in our concept that the whole world can be ruled with a simple yet dreamy concept of GNH. Secondly, it reminds the leaders especially the Lyonchen Rinpoche that he has more homework in his country than abroad. Thirdly, we are left exposed of our own wounds than happiness. To the world, Bhutan is not still ready to get her berth in an organisation of global importance. 
Despite all odds,i nearly drew parallels with the Hitler's bluff of conquering the World (during WW-II) and our DPT's readiness to acquire membership in the UN Security Council. No doubt, S.Korea deserves that berth more than any country even though she joined the UN some two decades later than Bhutan. Thanks due to Opa Gangnam Style! Now the next ruling party should first try writing some good songs before lobbying for global seats, probably some B-Pop! 
I believe that the Opposition Leader rightly said that it could come more of a burden than help if Bhutan ever got her membership in UNSC.
Back at home, as the year is drawing its end closer, i have been quite busy. The Annual Examinations had started in my School two days back. Two students were charged for malpractices in the examinations and one another separate but a bold girl of class VII abetting help by writing the letter for a class IV student. As an exam Secretary, i had to call them to my chamber and explain them how stressed i was at their behaviours. 
Also, since i had applied for the transfer, i have been vaguely making plans about my new place probably to the south. I have had enough of alpine goods and i bet i am like a Bjob, both in look and in deed. Come next year, i would be basking in the cool temperate zone around Gelephu while my colleagues here would be warming up their hands around their Bhukaris. But there isn't any words about the transfer as of now. Fingers crossed:)
And again, nothing for the winter vacation. The BCSEA informed that i was too old for them to do any corrections. None of the curriculum officers would let me know if there is any workshops in Science subjects.
I had to convince Choden that this year is our last year at Bumthang and if she had anything to bid goodbye, she should better do so. She didn't like that idea. Parting has always been hard for my family as for most of us.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Treasure Vase: YangBum

"How does it help me?", he asked us suspiciously. "Khaiii..dont you know about it?', i poured in with a caustic smile. Just then our elderly Lopen Sonam came by. One of the teacher colleagues requested him to explain about the significance of the YangBum being sold on that day. Business is good in Schools. It depends on how much you can buy and not on how much you can pay. "Pay me at the end of the month", she would inform us. I hardly get salaried at the end of the month due to loans, thanks also to BoB, but that has not reduced my purchasing power! Over the years, i have improved a lot in maintaining my clean record in the near by shops.

Infact, the small thing that i am writing here is not even researched. I have just tried to translate verbal explanations that i heard from my colleagues and notably, Lop. Sonam.
These Treasure Vases are believed to contain magnetizing contents such as the mantra of Khandro Norlha(weal manifestation of Guru Rinpoche), pictures of Lamas, five precious essences(Earth, fire, water , air and space) and other precious substances. I have taken the liberty to translate the document at a very surface level.
Well, talking of the present YangBum (Treasure Vase), Lop.Sonam did all the explanation based on the document that was attached there.

Thus it read:
Homage to Guru Rinpoche, the protector of all the times,
This treasure vase is built to benefit the poor souls,
All that your mind desire and that you want,
And the blessings be bestowed and milked if you pray to this.

As prescribed by Norlha Khandro, the Wealth Manifestation of Guru Rinpoche himself, this YangBum can invoke blessings wherever it is placed.

It goes on explaning about the things that are inside this curious treasure vase.

Firstly the precious things that are in the vase: It contains the late Dudjom Rinpoche's main prescription for acquiring treasure. It also has the "mother pills" of PoloKhen Rinpoche. Moreover, this Vase contains ruby, jasper stone beads(?) and other precious stones brought from Taiwan by Khenpo Karpo.
Yangbum with the document.
Secondly, as prescribed according to the Buddhist way, it contains:  All the great Rinpoche's belongings either pulverised or mixed. All the scarves of great Lamas are also there. It does contain the fur of all the lucky and healthy cattles. The vase also has most of the medicinal plants and the budding leaves of all the trees. Despite this, it has all the cereals mixed together. The soil, stone, water and flora of important Lhakhangs and holysites are collected from Tibet, India, Nepal and Bhutan and is mixed in this vase.
Moreover, soil from fertile land, water from mighty rivers(The Ganga), the sands from mighty oceans, the soil from the kitchens of important kings and Lhakhangs are also present. Lastly, it also contains treasures that has been passed down from powerful but very lucky persons all around the world.
Sealed YangBum..not to be opened!
With all these materials inside this vase, it has been given befitting consecration by invoking the Norlha Khandro by some of the most reputed lamas of our times. This is not meant for the sake of business but for the wellbeing and fulfillment of the treasures for all the people around the world.
Having consecrated in such a sacred manner, this treasure vase can bless the whole village if you keep in a clean and raised area in the middle of a village. If you keep in the centre of your oven ( Chula/ Thab), your kitchen will be blessed with bountiful foods. If you hide in a clean land, it can always bring bountiful harvests. If you hide in the source of your small water source near your village, one can predict continuous flow of that stream without ever drying up.
Mr. Sangay with his newly acquired YangBum!
If you hide it in the middle of your cattles' shed/sty/coop, your domestic animals will multiply year by year! Tashi Delek.

YangBum @ nu.1500/-

Having been explained with this, i couldn't but get tempted to buy myself one. Afterall, wealth has always eluded me. I hinted to Choden that after this affair, money would rain down on us.  I called up my sister and told her that i could buy her one if she needed it. She told me that she would inform me later. I didn't get her confirmation till now:)
 I called up my mother too and explain it to her. Ofcourse she was aware about the importance of Yangbum.
"Our old Dungkarmo(cow) might let you milk thrice a day", i told her. She laughed at it:)

I have tried to make very blunt translation of the Dzongkha document that was attached with the YangBum. Please do not mistake it to be authentic post on this topic. I would love to elaborate on it more but i haven't still document even a small portion of it.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Last Tshechu!

We witnessed the last of our Tshechu today: ChumeyPang Tshechu. Interestingly, the small lhakhang at ChumeyPang(also Chundepang) was originally bequeathed to Lam Pemala, the cheif abbot of Nyimalung. I needn't talk about the late Lam Pemala anything more because he was a Druk Thugsey medal winner and one of the best learned Bhutanese monk. After he passed away, the community offered their Lhakhang to Tang Rinpoche. The Tang Rinpoche spent more than five years to renovate the small dilapidated Lhakhang into the present one. Co-inciding with the Lhabab Duechen, the new Lhakhang was inaugurated with a fitting ceremony. Attended by Lyonchen and Sanam Lyonpo, the inaugural day also saw the presence of Kathok Situ Rinpoche(?), Gyelsthen tulku along with Tang Rinpoche himself and also his two sons reportedly to be of very great Tulku themselves.
The Kesar Cham stole the show of the day accompanied by Choden who was in her best attire:)
Here are the few pictures that i thought you might like to see:
Inaugural Dance

The younger of the Tulkus inaugurating the Cham

Lord Buddha Overlooking the Cham

Zhingshey pema Dance

Zhingshey Pema Dance, the far right is the Rinpoche's daughter.

I with Choden minus money:)

Kesar Cham

The elder Tulku as a Kesar of Ling

With my beloved lopen Soanm in the centre.
I had wanted to elaborate more on this Tshechu but in the interest of time i have abstained from doing so.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Eating Habits!

Today it was a busy day in the School. I had requested Choden that i be excused from any chores that she usually awards to me during saturdays. Firstly, it was the Award Day. There were numerous prizes for the students to formally call it a year! Captains, custodians, Incharges were all duly awarded certificates of recognition. Then came the Champion class and House. Atlast,as the subject toppers received their prizes, other students were busy clapping their hands and cheering them enthusiastically. As they cheered, a teacher colleague told me,"I remember my School days!". Being curious i asked him,"So you used to top in many subjects?".
"No", he said wryly, "how i used to clap my hands!". He looked at his hands as if he could see those times in them. I just patted him in acceptance and to also let him forget those warm years!:)
Looking back at myself, there were not much of any awards won. But during those times, few of us ever bothered to develop ourselves wholesomely. For me, it was just books. Read, revise. Read, revise and memorise. I would play less and study more and end up being a simple teacher. These days, students would play, dance, taekwondo and hardly study. They land up being a Chemical Engineer! Well, this is what we mean by wholesome education.
   Secondly, it was our School picnic. But you already heard about the recent passing away of a teacher colleague in my School? So we had a small get-together within the campus and had our lunch in silence. I have always had this weakness of not talking much while eating. There i triumphed. Infact, eating silently saves time and increases our appetite. Well, something just struck my mind while we were eating. In our culture, we sit cross-legged usually in a circle and quietly eat. You eat it the other way, whatever ways, you wont feel comfortable. Now sitting cross-legged and eating has so much to do with our health too. Dont you think this particular position gives the least space to food storage? In simple terms, we can not eat too much sitting cross-legged. That explains why most of the Bhutanese are not obese. The WHO says we have the least available balanced diet. Shoo with it! In many other parts of the world, they do not have much formality while eating. Most of them would love to eat sitting on a comfortable chair relaxing all their body muscles and opening up most of the available spaces to push in more foods. They end up being obese.
If you stand up and eat, i bet you can eat more than your normal share.(Most Indians in a busy metro do this). You surely must have seen some old Babus eating Dhal rice. His chin would nearly rest on one of his knees that was folded while another leg would be tucked in at the base such that it made 90 degrees. His pot-belly would fill up the space between the two legs. A comfortable and relaxing pose it is! In that posture one could easily empty a rice cooker without straining a single muscle.
On the other hand, i was amused at how the Iraqis ate their delicacy. They would sit on their knees while their butt would rest on the floor and put down all the rice and those exotic dishes in a single but alarmingly large thali. You have to eat from that common heap. Few years ago, in a house warming get-together at a Iraqis' apartment, i and my fellow Bhutanese had this opportunity. I remember this sickly face made by Tandin while eating from that thali as if he was being punished for no reason! "Go boy, go", i remember cheering him up. "Kham log dhi bey ra ma tshu!", he told me later. Few days later,as a warm gesture, we invited them back to our apartment for the dinner. Time for the Battle Tit for Tat: we prepared Ema Datsi!
I needn't explain how punished they fell as they tried one more morsel of rice with that typical south indian chilli!:)