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Sun Apr 16, 2017, 09:06 AM


Why I swapped investment banking for Buddhism in Bhutan

‘In Bhutan, humans are not dominant, but a small part of the whole’ says Emma Slade on the Himalayan kingdom she regards as her spiritual paradise

Interview by Caroline Eden
Friday 14 April 2017 06.02 EDT

Bhutan is one of the few places in the world where you can experience unbroken Buddhist culture. Spirituality is embedded in daily life here. I came because I wanted to meet monks and serious retreatants, and witness first hand what it might mean to dedicate your life to spiritual practice as a Buddhist.

Although this is the Himalayas, you don’t come to here to climb mountains. Mountains are sacred in Bhutan, as are rivers and the earth. The relationship between nature, animals and people is unique. The population is small (around 750,000) but the power of the mountains and nature is enormous. This puts humans in their place: we are not dominant, but a small part of the whole. Respect for nature here is not just lip-service, you see it in action every day. If you want to build a house, you have to ask permission of the earth, and the government ensures that the country maintains 60% forest coverage. You’ll see prayer flags on mountains and on bridges, from where the wind carries the prayers across the country.

You don’t have to tip your head back to look at the sky; you can stare straight at it. For me, the finest view in Bhutan is from 3,100 metre Dochu-la. From this mountain pass I can admire the view, look directly at the sky, and see the stairs to my lama’s temple. I especially like the way the stability and serenity of the mountains contrasts with the clouds moving high above.

Make a point of meeting monks if you go to Bhutan. Visitors tend to emphasise the wow factor of the buildings, and miss the human element. Real Buddhist culture, and what it means in daily life, is in the people.


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Reply Why I swapped investment banking for Buddhism in Bhutan (Original post)
rug Apr 2017 OP
Lucky Luciano Apr 2017 #1

Response to rug (Original post)

Sun Apr 16, 2017, 09:20 AM

1. Would love be to go. Hard to find the time.

Also, being an investment banker helps for visiting. The visa is $250 per day.

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