Sunday, June 28, 2020

Enjoy the coffee, not the cups

Everyday, we complain about life not being fair. We always find excuses to take things for granted and when something does not go our way, we get frustrated and find reasons to shift the blame to somebody else. In our casual conversations, we often find ourselves talking about people whom we do not like and things that we hate doing. We tend to focus too much on things that are beyond our control and that makes us unhappy. It is true that the main source of our stress is indeed our desire to always have the best for ourselves, and when we do not achieve what we wish to achieve, we start grumbling about life.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Cruelty and hatred: the negative forces that can destroy humanity

Although human civilizations have begun thousands of years ago, it seems we are still far from the touch of humanity. The birth of modern education has revolutionized the way we think and behave, but it has failed to ignite in mankind the universal values of love and compassion. Every day, people are being tortured, raped or murdered mostly by those who are said to be educated and civilized. There has been hardly a day in my life when I have not heard or read the stories of human madness and brutality. The stories of innocent people being kidnapped, tortured and killed in the name of race, faith and political differences, the innocent girls and women being sexually exploited, harassed, raped and murdered by lustful men, the innocent children being abused and tortured to death, all point to the fact that there are still many people in the world who have not yet fully grown into a real human being. It is very sad that human beings, the so-called most intelligent, sensible and wise species of all, are capable of doing such a thing to another human beings.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

What we dream alone remains a dream but what we dream together can become a reality

When the US President, John F. Kennedy visited the NASA Space Center in 1962, he took a chance to talk to a janitor who was cleaning and mopping the floor. When asked what he was doing, the janitor smiled and said that he was helping his country to put the first man on the moon. To most people, the janitor was only a cleaner but in the larger context, he was very much part of the national vision of his country. It was the collective effort and dream of all those who worked at the NASA including the cleaners, drivers, technicians, engineers and scientists that made it possible for the United States to successfully send the first man to the moon in 1969.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

What we carry on our mind determines the quality of life we live everyday

Once upon a time, a senior and a junior monk were walking back to their monastery after visiting their village. Soon they reached a big river and as they prepared themselves to cross it, they saw a young girl who was also attempting to cross the river. Not being able to take the risk, the girl approached the monks and asked if they could help her get to the other side. The two monks looked at each other because they had taken oath that they would never touch a girl. After thinking for a while, the older monk invited the girl to climb over his shoulders, carried her across the river, sat her on the other bank of the river and continued his journey. The young monk could not believe what just happened. Without saying a word, he overtook the senior monk and walked as fast as he could, completely upset and angry. Hours passed by without exchanging even a single word. Finally they caught up with each other at a stupa near their monastery and not being able to hold it any longer, the young monk burst out “As ordained monks, you know that we cannot touch a girl, but why did you carry that woman at the river? You will never be forgiven for breaking that oath!” The senior monk smiled and said, “Oh my dear brother, I had just carried her across the river and left her on the bank, but it seems you are still carrying her!”

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Online gaming and its associated risks for children

With the closure of educational institutions and restricted movements in the community because of COVID-19 situation in the country, our children have been finding it difficult to spend their time meaningfully at home. They have no friends to hang out with and no places to go to for outdoor activities. They are increasingly growing restless and anxious. As a result, most of them have been going online to interact with their virtual friends and play online games, and with the e-learning classes going on, it has been even more challenging for the parents to monitor what their kids are using the internet for.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

The right song at the right place at the right time

The establishment of Zangley Muenselling School for the Blind in Khaling in 1973 brought new hopes and dreams for the visually impaired people of Bhutan. His Royal Highness Prince Namgyel Wangchuck and the missionaries from Norway who founded the school had a common dream, a dream to help every visually impaired Bhutanese see the world through education. One of the biggest responsibilities the founding fathers of the school had was to shift the social paradigm from “We are blind. We cannot do anything!” to “We shall overcome!” And so had the students first learned to sing the nursery song ‘We shall overcome’ the lyrics of which contained the ultimate vision of the school. Over the years, the school has opened the horizon of opportunities and unlocked the door to a promising future for all its visually impaired students, and this is what the song was all about.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Life under the shadow of Coronavirus

Photo of flowers on the mountain with Sun rising in the horizon. Image courtesy: www.businessinsider.com.

The month of May is here in all its natural grandeur. The tender blossoms from the balconies of buildings, gardens and forests are seen rejoicing in the cool breath of Nature, with their colorful petals smiling at the Spring Sun. The mountains and valleys have rolled back to life after being withered by the freezing temperatures of winter. The blessings of Nature are everywhere, in the tender petals of flowers, in the singing of the seasonal birds, or in the beautiful rivers flowing through the valleys. But this year, something is missing in the air. With COVID-19 pandemic still looming round the corner, the feeling of serene calmness and tranquility the Spring season usually brings has not yet sunk in.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Revisiting the past through digitized news archives

The New York Times, which is one of the oldest newspapers in the world has digitized all its news archives starting from its first publication in 1851, giving us the opportunity to travel back in time to look at some of the most important historical events just as they happened. The stories written years after the events have taken place can help us get a glimpse of what had happened in the past but they do not take us back to feel the actual atmosphere of the time when they happened. The original news articles on the Assassination of the US President, Abraham Lincoln on 14th April 1865, published on 15th April 1865; The collision of two jumbo jets on the runway at Tenerife on 27th March 1977, published on 28th March 1977; and The assassination of Indian Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi on 31st October 1984, published on the same day, all took me several years back in time and I felt as though I was there when those events unfolded. I had heard these stories through history books and articles written at a later date by scholars and authors, but these digitized original news reports really made me feel as though I was on a time-machine, flying backwards to see the history myself.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

A song of death and impermanence

In the endless cycle of birth and rebirth,
We are entangled in this suffering-laden Samsara;
Though we were born and reborn millions of times in the world,
Never had we been fortunate enough to find the path to enlightenment.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

The significance of Dradu and Dilbu, the two commonly used ritual instruments in Throema practice

Photo of Dradu and Dilbu

In Throema practice, the practitioners use a small ritual drum called Dradu and a bell called Dilbu. These ritual instruments give a spiritual rhythm to the prayers. But they have deeper meaning and significance than what we think we know. According to His Eminence Garab Rinpoche, the pioneer of Throema practice in modern times, a Dradu is more than just a circular drum made of a hollow wooden cavity covered on two sides by a thin animal skin. I feel it is important that all Throema practitioners know the actual significance of these seemingly simple-looking ritual instruments while using them.