Amongst the patchwork of fields a long string of maroon robed figures wended its way towards us over stiles, along rickety wooden fence lines and across streams on stone slab bridges. The aged high lama and his retinue were conveying an ancient statue of the Buddhist deity Vajrapani said to have been left by Guru Padmasambhava (or Guru Rinpoche the saint who brought Buddhism to Bhutan) at a local woman’s farmhouse in the 8th century. The saint appeared at her door disguised as a beggar and while she had unquestioningly welcomed him in and popped off to prepare some buckwheat pancakes he had disappeared leaving the statue behind by way of thanks. To this day the tight community of hardy farmers revel in their renowned hospitality, celebrating the annual airing of their revered heirloom, whilst over the next three days and nights, honouring the miraculous feats and highlights of the Guru’s lifetime in song and dance.
By Phil Bowen
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