Bhutan – Day 11 – Gangtok – 2005

We return to Gangtok to see the town and visit the Enchey monastery. There are around a hundred monks who live there. Most families give one son to the monastery of their choice in these cultures.

This monastery is of the Nyingmapa order and is also an orchid sanctuary.

We also visit the Institute of Tibetology. It has a collection of books and manuscripts that will interest students of Buddhism.

Let me say here that I learned something interesting on this trip about the Buddhist monks. I have always assumed that they were made up of different peaceful groups. You have a few sects, some wear yellow caps, some black and so forth. There is a wide variety of dress among Buddhist monks around the world. It is much more complicated and interesting than you are probably willing to read here.

However, they are no different than the rest of us and other religious groups in the sense that they have disagreements among each other. Sometimes the army is brought into the temples for their own protection. I saw this myself on this trip and was saddened and disappointed.

This trip was several years ago, so perhaps those issues are better now. I had believed that the Buddhists were well beyond mortal man in their behavior. I learned on our trip, that what I had long held as truth, was sadly wrong. They are just like the rest of us, though they constantly try to be better humans. I give them credit for that.

“An ideology is not responsible for those who believe in it.” This was found in a Chinese fortune cookie after my wife and I had eaten dinner back home in California.