I dropped my wife and our baby to a monastery for our monthly offering. All people including my wife were made to stand in a queue for hours in the sun. She was wearing a fatigued look for waiting in the hot sun holding our baby. Waiting for them in the car, my patience ran out. Why was I in the car? I wasn’t attired properly (acceptably) to make the visit. Next stop I lost all my patience, took my baby and wife back to where we came from after we handed over the offering with some cash to an elderly gentleman.
Later I was told that a VIP has arrived and is making some offerings. When a VIP visits some shrine, does that mean people will have to wait outside? The shrines are made for all Bhutanese alike and not just for a select few. Where is the religiousness when people are made to suffer and sweat in a long line holding babies?
Religious centres and places are for everybody alike and must be available. The Lakhang that I mentioned is frequented by visitors on a daily basis. Just because some acquaintance of some blah blah blah…comes, it doesn’t mean every other Bhutanese men and women must make way for the supposed high profile visitor. Come on people this is a place of worship and not some social gathering where a chair has to be called to be the chief guest.
I inquired, women are forbidden to enter the Goenkhang. I have a baby daughter and I am still told girls and women are forbidden to enter. This made me mock at our tradition also. Miscarriage of religious justice I believe, because I was told some of the VIPs were women and they were in.
We have a tradition of not allowing women into the inner sanctum of some religious places in our country and I was taken aback to hear the visitor already in. I inquired an elderly monk nearby about it and he told me, women can enter if one doesn’t care about the misfortune and ill luck that may befall later. His answer made me give a ‘how can that be’ look.
People, enlighten me on women entering the inner sanctum-Goenkhang, or I will give in to the thought that…in Bhutan we have the right to think and remain silent.
Have a good day!