Skip to main content

Fluttering solution to our prayer-flag dilemma

Back in those days when trees were aplenty and permission to cut them down was not required (this was at least so in rural Bhutan), people would normally erect 108 prayer flags in the name of a dead person. Erecting prayer flags is believed to deliver the dead person's soul from the state of Bardo.

And still to this day most people insist on wooden poles. This comes at a time when we face difficulties in conserving our forest and keeping our constitutional promise to the future generation. But again the issue concerning the dead is a sensitive one that requires utmost care. On one hand, we need to respect the sentiments of those bereaved family members and on the other, it is important to protect our forest.

Realizing this, a few years ago, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forest (MoAF) encouraged people to use bamboo poles instead as they are stronger and more durable. The same poles, unlike their wooden cousins, can be reused multiple times. This was a perfect substitute and the whole nation praised the idea. It was a big relief to many nature conservationists. But again it was not a law and thus many continued to cut down trees. That calls for stricter regulations by the Ministry. And maybe we need to request Dratshang Lhentshog to put an end to people's doubts and clarify that hoisting prayer-flags is same, irrespective of the type of poles used.

And to our relief, of late, a new idea has come to Bhutan. I have seen them along our national highways, too. Some people maintain that it is derived from Tibetans. 

But it is good because it encourages people to use neither trees nor bamboo poles to erect prayer flags. The whole idea is to string the prayer flags together vertically and hang them by two strings that are tied to two different standing trees or poles horizontally. This way we can hoist a lot more flags with less effort. At the end, I am sure, the benefit for the dead person's soul is the same as the number of frames on fluttering prayer flags is much more than on conventional prayer flags. 

This is the 21st Century idea and a fitting solution to our dilemmas. I feel that MoAF and other agencies including Dratshang Lhentshog must promote and encourage this form of prayer flags and put an end to pressure on our forest.  

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

When they are ready

The Ministry of Education discovered 890 'underage' children admitted in schools across the country in 2019. Thus, the ministry in May 2019 issued a notification revoking the admission for these children. Majority were in urban centres. 
Desperate, parents and the affected schools requested the government to intervene. They also requested the government to consider lowering the enrolment age to five years. Currently, in Bhutan a child can legally go to school only when s(he) is six years old. 
And that policy was strictly followed a few years ago to the extent that some schools refused to admit children even if they were short of a few weeks. So, parents, mostly in urban areas, resorted to faking their children's ages. Many parents were guilty of adding years onto their children's actual ages. However, most parents, we are told, managed to correct their 'mistakes' later. Faking a child's age was rampant both in government and private schools. But the story wa…

Community of Bhutanese Bloggers Conceived

And finally it happened. I must say that it was by far the most attended Bloggers Meet. In the past we had bloggers agree to attend and cancel at the very last minute. But on June 24, 2015 – almost 100% of bloggers, who confirmed came. I would like to thank everyone for keeping his/her words, especially those who had to come all the way from Wangdue or Paro. Thank you!



35 Bhutanese bloggers met in Thimphu. We were honored to have the presence of senior bloggers like Aue Yeshi Dorji and Dasho Sangay Khandu. The meeting assumed more significance because of their presence. Equally, we were happy to have many young bloggers in whom we see so much enthusiasm and potential.



On top of many things that transpired during the Meet, one of the most significant outcomes was the unanimous decision reached to form a formal group of bloggers, a platform aimed at encouraging and inspiring more bloggers around the country. The members decided that we will call it Community of Bhutanese Bloggers (CBB) a…

Utpal Academy - Bhutan's first All-girls High School

Welcome to Bhutan’s first all-girls school. Isn’t that wonderful news to all our parents? Certainly, as a parent of a one-year old daughter I am excited about the coming of a school exclusively dedicated to the needs of girls. Our girls need special treatment, which we can for sure entrust the responsibility to Utal Academy, Paro.
I really like the name – Utpal – in Buddhist world, Utpal is another name for lotus flower, which is believed to grow from mud and yet blossoms into a beautiful and majestic flower. It stands for purity and many deities are depicted holding flower Utpal, more prominently Jestusn Dolma, the Goddess Tara. Symbolically, it also stands for the transformation of our girls. What an apt name for the school!
The Principal’s message posted on the academy’s website promises providing our young women an “opportunity to participate fully in a wide range of extracurricular activities to develop skills and qualities that will lead to successful and fulfilling life.” That’s…