Lama Drukpa Kinley, affectionately known as the 'Divine Madman' is one of the most beloved saints in Bhutan. He was a raconteur, breaking down conventional realities by literally pushing the norms and mores of the times. The weapon he chose was the 'Divine Thunderbolt of Wisdom'- the penis which is depicted today in most Bhutanese homes in all manners of manifestations.
*For The Spirited Traveler
The phallus is as Bhutanese as its chieftain, Lama Drukpa Kinley. He came to Bhutan from Tibet in the 15th century as the Yogi Kunga Legpai Palzangpo to teach local folks about Buddhism in more ways than folks were accustomed to and shocked and provoked the common citizenry by using gung ho methods, with entertaining poetry, songs, dance, and humor, more often than not combined with drinks and sex. It was almost akin to the sixties spirit of sex, intoxicants and rock and roll the divine way- the way of the crazy-wisdom master.
He occasionally applied all of his teaching methods with his hosts' wives, too.
Today, Lama Drukpa Kinley lives on in very visible and distinctive incarnations, all of which depict the penis. The phallus is today a ubiquitous artwork that both amuses and entertains the visitor strange to such sights but to the Bhutanese, its more than just a painted phallus- it’s the essence of the Divine Madman himself and his enlightened mind. Its said of the painted phalluses that ‘what you see is what you get from the very projection you have made’. In other words, the phallus is just a metaphor for the way ‘You See Your Own Mind And Its Projections’. Thus a disgusted on looker showcases his own intolerance and shame, just as an admirer mirrors his own thoughts.
Lama Drukpa Kinley traveled a lot; wondering from valley to valley, and always on the prowl apparently seeking sex, wine and rock and roll. But when one peels aside the obviously entertaining aspects of his exploits, it basically boils down to teaching people the core principles of Buddhism and those that are un-Buddhist in nature, such as intolerance, ignorance, attachment, clinging to the ego and man’s inherent guilt, shame and superficial pride.
He traveled extensively in western and parts of central Bhutan, and left behind a quaint and picturesque monastery in the form of Chimi Lhakhang en route to Punakha and Wangduephodrang.
The monastery was erected by the beloved lama’s relative in 1499. Today it’s a popular tourist destination and a visit is a must if you are into the Divine Madman’s living and attitude towards life and more seriously for couples who are unable to conceive.
One visits the temple, and is promptly welcomed into the confines of the sacred lhakhang (temple), with a blessing from a wooden or stone made phallus. Thud goes the sound and bong goes the heart; with the exciting and hopeful expectations of being able to conceive a child. Couples are encouraged to spend a night in the lhakhang to make certain conception takes place indeed.
Stories abound of barren women suddenly going fertile and coming back with gratitude and thanks and presents and a little baby in tow.
Besides conception, phalluses are believed to ward off bad and unwonted spirits or the bad-eye or the wagging-tongue form being a bother.
Stories abound of the magic and miracle of the Divine Madman. One story is that of a tourist guide chaperoning a foreign-father and his 16 year-old daughter. When our guest wanted to know what was that ‘hanging thing’ the guide, a bit embarrassed on account of the girl, coyly said ‘Sir, it’s your thing". Other accounts recount a white couple from the US who managed to conceive a child. The baby, very curiously, looked oddly Asian, somewhat Bhutanese. In another tale yet again involving another white couple, the joy of having a child ayt last was more than a tad marred on account of the child looking curiously black.
He lived between 1455 and 1529.
A TASTE OF THE DIVINE MADMA’S MANTRA
THE REQUEST IN EARNEST:
I, the penis, hereby request a raise in salary for the following reasons:
I do physical labor.
I work at great depths.
I plunge head first into everything I do.
I do not get weekends off or public holidays.
I work in damp environments.
I don't get paid overtime.
I work in dark workplaces with poor ventilation.
I work in high temperatures.
My work exposes me to contagious diseases.
AND ON CUE< CAME THE REPLY:
After assessing your request, and considering the arguments you have raised, the administration rejects your request for the following reasons:
You do not work eight hours straight.
You fall asleep on the job after working only briefly.
You do not always follow the orders of the management.
You do not stay in your allocated position, and often visit other areas that are off-limits.
You do not take any initiative- you have to be pressured and stimulated in order for you to do your job.
You always leave the workplace messy at the end of your shift.
You don't always observe necessary safety regulations, such as wearing safety and protective clothing.
And you'll retire well before you turn sixty-five.
You cannot perform double shifts.
You sometimes leave your designated position before you have even completed the day's work.
And furthermore, you have been spotted constantly entering and leaving the workplace carrying two suspicious-looking sacks.
Considering the above, the management is sorry to inform you that your said request cannot be entertained or considered for reasons cited above.
And let this be a reminder of where you stand erect and where you sit limp and hopeless.
*For The Spirited Traveler