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Discovering the World of Buddhism in Bhutan

There's more to Bhutan than just its quirky name - it's a country deeply rooted in Buddhism and steeped in tradition.

Buddhism arrived in Bhutan in the 7th century, brought by the Vajra master Guru Rinpoche (also known as Padmasambhava). He is credited with establishing Buddhism as the main religion in Bhutan and is revered as a second Buddha by Bhutanese Buddhists. The introduction of Buddhism had a profound impact on Bhutanese society and culture, and to this day, the influence of the religion can be seen everywhere from the monasteries and temples dotted throughout the country, to the colorful prayer flags fluttering in the wind.

Bhutan is a predominantly Buddhist country, with the majority of the population following the Drukpa Kagyu sect. The Drukpa Kagyu sect is characterized by its emphasis on the practice of tantric Buddhism, and its monasteries are known for their colorful and elaborate festivals and dances. However, Bhutan also has a thriving Nyingma sect, which is known for its more contemplative approach to Buddhism.

The Bhutanese people are deeply spiritual and their daily lives are interwoven with Buddhist beliefs and practices. Prayer and offering rituals are a part of daily life, and the country's many monasteries serve as important centers for religious study and meditation. Bhutanese monks, known as lamas, are highly respected members of society and play a key role in maintaining Bhutan's religious heritage.

One of the most unique and fascinating aspects of Buddhism in Bhutan is the country's tradition of Tsechu festivals. Tsechus are religious festivals held annually in the monasteries and temples throughout Bhutan, and they serve as an opportunity for people to come together to celebrate, pray, and participate in religious dances. These festivals are a celebration of the teachings of Buddha and are marked by colorful masks, intricate costumes, and lively music and dancing.

In conclusion, Buddhism is an integral part of Bhutanese society and culture, and it imbues the country with a unique and enchanting atmosphere that's impossible to find anywhere else in the world. Whether you're visiting a historic temple, watching a Tsechu festival, or simply chatting with a friendly local, the influence of Buddhism is sure to touch your heart and soul.

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