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

Our throw-it-away culture

Like all grandparents, my late grandma would call food 'tsampa rimpoche' and any fuss made about it would invite everyone's sneer and scoldings. Food is always treated with respect and is never wasted. "If you waste food in any manner," she would admonish us. "One day food will discard you and you will go hungry." 
What remained from the previous meal would be turned either into porridge or sometimes leftover rice would be dried in the sun. The dried rice would then be fried into puffed rice and consumed with cups of suja. When there was so much food left, especially during big events, leftover rice or kharang would be mixed with a small amount of yeast and brewed into ara.  
The only thing that I can vividly recollect from my primary school days is how we would be hungry most of the time. Food we were served was hardly enough to tickle our throats. We would be sent home only once a week on Saturdays and that was our opportunity to replenish our popcorn s…

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…

Bloggers are not journalists

To say bloggers are not journalists is to say oranges are not carrots. Bloggers are not journalists. That’s true. But can bloggers become journalists? Maybe. Can journalists be bloggers? Yes. In fact, it would be only proper and appropriate for journalists to blog their opinions as opposed to being 'politically' correct all the time. So why call oranges carrots when they are what they are?
Well, it is true – bloggers have no training in journalism. That’s why they are bloggers. And for the same reason they are  not journalists. No bloggers have ever claimed what they blog can qualify as ‘journalism’.  We all do what we love the most and give our best in whatever we are doing either reporting news or blogging. 

Journalists do it as careers. Bloggers do it (mostly) for hobby and out of passion. Most journalists also do it with great passion - that's true. The journalists get paid for doing their jobs while bloggers derive pleasure doing it. Journalists cover (report) stories eve…