Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Goodness, Gracious! Great Balls of Fire!

A couple weeks back I wrote about the Doors of Bhutan and one practice in this Buddhist country was particularly puzzling.


Why the ubiquitous public display of the male member in this Himalaya kingdom, soon to be a constitutional monarchy/parliamentary democracy?

No sooner wondered than the March issue of National Geographic arrived in the mail. Inside is an article "Bhutan's Enlightened Experiment" with a terrific description about Bhutan's history and emergence from its cocoon into modernity. And, of course, those amazing National Geographic photographs. If you want to understand Bhutan, run to your local newsstand for a copy or check out the website.

But, back to my story. When I asked a Bhutanese about the phalluses, I was told "it's good luck".

According to National Geographic, though, the significance lies in Bhutanese Buddhism itself. It seems there was a 16th century lama, Drukpa Kunley, also called the "Divine Madman", who "caroused across the countryside...slew dragons and granted enlightenment to young maidens with the magical powers of his 'flaming thunderbolt'".

Have we progressed in the last 500 years?

5 comments:

Japee said...

This picture makes me smile :)) Makes me want to go to Bhutan :))

Katharine said...

Japee - Thanks for your comment. I almost pulled the post as perhaps offensive, but this is clearly an openly displayed symbol in the Bhutanese culture.

Paul,Tx said...

No...They wouldn't do that. Someone got hold of a picture of mine:))

JaPee..Let me here. Great shot.

Katharine said...

Funny thing, Paul. There were some other claimants for that picture.

Japee said...

Check back, I added a link to a site my brother found in north east India.