Thus Bhutan is often said to be the last bastion of Vajrayana Buddhism.
Bhutan is known as a Buddhist country, but freedom of religion is guaranteed and protected by the king. About seventy-five percent of the country’s total population – seven hundred and seventy thousand, follow the Drukpa lineage of Kagyu School, the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism or Vajrayana or another school of Buddhism. The remaining 25% practice mainly Hinduism.
Religions such as Christianity, Hinduism and Islam are insignificant in the country.For the majority of the country, Buddhism practiced in Bhutan comes from Tibet and follows the Vajrayana or Mahayana branch of Buddhism. Buddhist monks in Bhutan follow the teachings of the Kagyu School of Mahayana Buddhism, where meditation and prayer for the liberation of the suffering of all beings, with or without form, is considered the highest of practices. Also Buddhists follow the teachings of Buddha.
Buddhism was introduced for the first time in Bhutan by the Indian Tantric master Guru Padmasambhava in the 8th century, spreading the Nyingmapa the ancient school of Buddhism. Before that time, people practiced goodism, a religion that worshiped all forms of nature, some of which are still evident. The environment is sacred and it is believed that the relationship between animals, people and nature is one of a kind. Many physiographic features such as mountains, rivers and land are sacred in Bhutan. The size of natural beauty imposes a sense of unity, a small part of a whole. With continued dedication to the land, construction sites require land clearance, and sixty percent forest cover is still maintained.Phajo Drugom Zhigp of Ralung in Tibet also played a crucial role in the introduction of the Drukpa Kagyu sect.
In twelve thousand and twenty-two during a visit to Bhutan and in an event of great historical significance for the development of Buddhism, he established the state religion. His sons and descendants have also helped spread it to many other areas mainly in western Bhutan.Zhabdrung Nawang Namgyal would undoubtedly have the greatest influence and was of prime importance. His arrival from Tibet in 1616 brought to light the various Buddhist schools that had developed in western Bhutan under his domain.
It was a unifying act that united Bhutan as a nation-state by giving it a distinct national identity.Bhutanese society is free from any class system or caste. Slavery was abolished by the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in the early 1950s. While organizations aimed at empowering women were created in the past, Bhutanese society has always maintained relative gender equality with many surprising role reversals between men and women. Bhutan is described by many as an open and good society.Monks in this region are often from disadvantaged backgrounds or from rural areas or villages where there is little hope of finding employment or education.
Parents place boys as young as five, six or seven years old in a monastery, often because they can not afford to feed them or pay for necessities in one of the government-run schools. . Monks are ordained when young, before joining a sect and pursuing higher education on Buddhism. The life of a monk revolves around daily homework, Buddhist teachings and the practice of meditation, as well as other topics included in the curriculum, such as English and mathematics. Monks, however, have free time to play games, meet tourists and people and learn their way of life.
Although involvement in events or politics is not tolerated, many spiritual outings to homes and festivals play an important role in their lives. Ceremonial rites associated with many events, such as births, weddings, deaths and illnesses, as well as cleansing, blessing and inauguration ceremonies, are examples of outings. Festivals often require that they dance or play traditional instruments at various times in the Tibetan lunar calendar.Buddhism practiced in the country today is a vibrant religion that fills almost all outlets of the Bhutanese lifestyle. It is present in the Dzongs, monasteries, stupas, prayer flags and prayer wheels in the Bhutanese landscape. The carillon of the ritual bells, the sound of the gongs, the people who surround the temples