A Quiet Week of Working and Healing

It’s been a very quiet week working on writing projects and healing my back. Not too much happening. As soon as my spinal muscles are completely healed, I’ll return to Paro. My Bhutan visa for 11 months just arrived, and that is great news. I’m here in Kathmandu with the Lama and his daughter “Baby”. I stopped at this storefront when walking around the Boudha. I love the flaming statue of Mahakala with the Stupa reflection in the window. Amazingly, one day the sun came out! It was warm enough for a relaxing break on the hotel rooftop. My DIY pedicure-manicure…

Continue reading

Gho and Kira, the National Dress of Bhutan

By Tshering Yangdon. Did you know the Bhutanese national dress was codified over 400 years ago? The code was set in the 17th century, during the reign of the famous Rinpoche and “Father of Bhutan”, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. Yes, the Zhabdung’s far-sighted vision of maintaining the country’s unity and sovereignty led him to establish a national dress for Bhutan. Gho and Kira are the two very unique pieces of traditional dress. The Gho is for men and the Kira for women. Rinpoche Zhabdrung succeeded brilliantly in uniting the country under one rule, in the face of violent civil wars and internal…

Continue reading

It’s Losar! Tibetan New Years in Kathmandu

Happy New Year! I’m in Kathmandu and today is Losar, Tibetan new year of 2146. Yep. Everybody’s all dressed up in traditional costumes, offering prayers and holding family gatherings. This is the year of the Earth Pig, the last in a 12-year zodiac cycle. Whatever lessons we failed to learn in earlier periods of this cycle, it is time to learn them now. All the indicators point to 2019 as being a very good year. After the challenges in the past few years, I hope this is going to be the year we all need. Losar is Tibetan New Year. Tashi Delek…

Continue reading

The Five Kings of Bhutan, and a Sixth in the Making

By Tshering Yangdon. Bhutan is a kingdom that follows a constitutional monarchy form of government. It is one of the happiest countries in the world where people live in harmony, led by the faithful and kind-hearted kings. Words cannot express the Bhutanese people’s love and respect for their kings. Bhutan’s king is known as Druk Gyalpo, meaning “King of the Dragon Kingdom”. First King, Ugyen Wangchuck The first king of Bhutan was born on June 11, 1862. He spent his boyhood mostly in eastern Bhutan. He ascended to the throne on December 17, 1907. This was the beginning of Bhutan’s hereditary monarchy.…

Continue reading

Back in Kathmandu for Two Weeks

I’m in Kathmandu for two weeks for immigration purposes. When I return to Bhutan hopefully I’ll be able to stay for a much longer time. I’m with Baby, the Lama’s daughter from a previous marriage. She’s 17 years old, brilliant, and she wants to improve her spoken English. We’re having a good time together. Baby and I are working on our web writing projects. We took a break at the Himalayan Java Coffee Shop. Today she’s trying coffee with steamed milk and carrot cake. I’m having Golden milk tea with turmeric, ginger, and black pepper. Not much to say today.…

Continue reading

What’s the Meaning of a White Tiger?

The White Tiger is a rare and exceptional anomaly that occurs naturally in only one out of 10,000 Bengal tiger births. Bengal tigers are normally orange with black stripes and green or yellow eyes. However white tigers are pure white with black stripes and sapphire blue eyes. White tigers tend to be larger than other Bengal tigers, ranging from 9-11 feet long and weighing 400 to 550 pounds. The White Tiger is renowned for its strength and majestic fierceness. Its serene energy and power represent fearlessness and spiritual awaking. It traditionally symbolizes strength, courage, war, instinct, willpower, courage, vision, and clairvoyance. The White…

Continue reading

A Meditation for Chronic Pain

It has been quite a challenging week due to constant lower back pain. This is a meditation for pain that I developed a few years ago, which effectively eliminates any physical pain for a while. So for the first time, I’m sharing the technique here on my blog in case it might be useful to you. It is a rather advanced meditation using the mind, the body, and the breath. Not everyone will find it easy. Sometimes pain is so intense that it can create a state of total insanity in a person. However if you can practice calmly relaxing and…

Continue reading

Our New Home in Paro, Bhutan

Our new home is something like a log cabin, except the logs are vertical, in the hills above Paro, Bhutan. It’s a 3-bedroom house with large living room and large shrine room. We’ll use the other rooms for guests and an office. It has 2 bathrooms, one is Western and the other traditional Bhutanese. We have two, yes TWO water heaters, one in the main bathroom, and a tiny one above the kitchen sink. Right now it’s pretty cold in here. We have a large wood heater in the center of the living room, and I’m learning how to get…

Continue reading

Gross National Happiness, Guiding Philosophy of Bhutan

by Tshering Yangdon. Bhutan is one of the happiest kingdoms in the world. The people of this country are living in harmony. They adopt a very unique philosophy known as GNH. Gross National Happiness is a development philosophy with value. It brings about judicious balance between spiritual and economic development. It was first coined by the fourth king Jigme Singye Wangchuck in 1972. It in fact became very popular when the king declared, “Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross Domestic Product.” Bhutan is a small country, tucked away high in the Himalayas, sandwiched between India and China. We…

Continue reading

My Family Puja, Biggest Holiday of the Year

This week I was a guest at my Lama’s family puja. It is a huge gathering of his enormous family for annual prayers, blessings, delicious meals, lots of guests, and Buddhist ceremonies by monks and lamas. The family puja happens every January. The family farm is located in Punakha, 2 hours west of Thimphu, the capital city. It’s a huge farm house and today it is full of family, guests, and monks for the ceremony. Yes, the front stairs are rather steep. Lama with his mother Zekhom. Two very amazing and big hearted people. Zekhom works on the farm in Punakha.…

Continue reading