Source: In Siddartha’s footsteps (Bhutan Observer)
29 March 2010
If unbridled materialism is on the rise, Siddhartha-like spiritual realisation is still part of Bhutanese psyche.Jigme Wangchuk reports
Damchho Dorji, 25, from Pangsho village in Punakha, finds not much meaning in life. It’s the same nagging urge of Gautama that led him to renounce everything he had in life to join monkhood at Dzongsar Khyentse Chökyi Lödro Institute, Himacha Pradesh, India.
Damchho , who is a B.com graduate of Sherubtse College (2006), sat the RCSC exams and did Post Graduate Diploma in Finance and Management in RIM after which he served in the Department of Public Accounts as an assistance programme coordinator for one year. He found his life empty and meaningless.
True to his name, which literally means the noble religion, he found solace in spirituality. “It’s not one thing or the other that leads to madness, but the space in between them, and it’s silly to hang on to things that have no meaning,” he said, adding that he needed to study and understand the true nature of the world.
Lama Shenphen Zangpo of Deer Park, Thimphu, who is one of Damchho’s teachers, describes him as a very ‘typical Bhutanese guy’ who enjoyed working out in the gym and hanging out with friends and having girl friends. And he thinks that Damchho was perhaps influenced by the loss of his father at a young age and did not want to waste his precious life by just earning a living and hanging out in snooker halls.
“I lost my father and uncle when I was quite young. I was devastated and realised the painful certainty of death. That’s when I thought about my life seriously. But, of course, I’d always wanted to be a monk,” he said.
Shy and quiet, and a lover football and mountaineering, Damchho is also an ardent reader of Buddhist books. His favourites are What makes you not Buddhist by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Norbu Rinpoche, Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche, and The Way of Middle Path, a Commentary By Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Norbu Rinpoche.
“He had a strong understanding that happiness comes from our view of the world (from inside) and through helping others. He was particularly influenced by Madhyamika philosophy and tried to adopt this view in his interaction with the world,” said Lhama Shenphen, who taught him basic meditation at Deer Park.
He is more of a person that impresses through his ordinariness and consistency than through sudden acts of heroism, he added.
Damccho’s eldest sister, Tshering Lham, said that it was a shock to the family when he informed them of his wish to be a monk. “My mother opposed in the beginning. We went as far as consulting an astrologer, who told us that my brother is destined to be a monk. We let him decide then.”
Asked how his colleagues reacted when he decided to leave, he said they were all very supportive. Two of his younger brothers, who are monks with Zhung Dratshang were especially very encouraging.
Now in his destined place, he said, “It’s a nice place, and people are wonderful. I’ll go to Sara, Dharamshala to learn Tibetan language, poetry and grammar some day. Everyone here is very kind and friendly.
They helped me with my robes. This is the place that I have always dreamed for.” Referring to the way people while away their time, he said in a philosophical tone, “What are we but empty vessels on a journey across sea of life? We want happiness, and happiness comes from giving up certain things.
Every choice doesn’t have to mean loss. Happiness comes from understanding the reality of life. The only refuge is the Dharma.”