Thursday, March 22, 2012

New or old, what do we chose..?

An old folk of sumthrang making round the Temple/
 the top part of a stone pillar in front of the temple
believed to have brought by the dakinis
when  the original temples was first built.
Yes, I know, you know and the world is told that Bhutan is culturally rich and it cares so much so far.

This is yet another trend that there are as many new monasteries, Temples and Stupas being built around which is by faith and devotion to a religious sect is wonderful and applaudable. 

And the one who builds also gets name and fame for its action and of course why not appropriate.

But are we thinking of its implications on the country in future to safe guard, protect and conserve our old valuable monuments.

Cultural conservation cost a lot and while focusing on new construction and establishments, the valued old monuments, are we forgetting?

For get that, some high elites pull out sacred relics from age old monuments in the name of new construction. Is that what we want?

This Sumthrang Monastery alone have to give away two most sacred relics.

This sacred relic, a stupa was offered to Nyo Lhanangpa by a mermaid/demigod of the lake Maphamyu-tsho when he walked on the lake and meditated. It was offered to Nyoe-toen Trulzhig Choejye as the mind relic by his father when he journeyed to Bhutan following his father's directives.

This relic stupa was taken away to be installed as the mind relic to Guru statue in the old Kurje Lhakhang. Although it was proud of the monastery's former incumbents and is appreciated for offering as the mind relic of this monastery to be installed as a mind relic in a Guru Statue, the value, history and the blessings of this monastery was also being compromised. 

Although when on commend, it has said the the relic will be replaced by a silver stupa of its size, it does not exist but some how the relic was in a better use for having found its place in most sacred monument.

The action(trenley) relic, "ley phur" a gold Vejra Drager which was a Nyo Lhanangpa's own Vajra Dragger of about an arm length was also taken away from the current incumbent probably in late 1990's.

The taker just eyed for its value than, because there was no genuine reason for the taking. 

These days only its outer cover remain hanging sadly..:(
While it is not known of its where about, the incumbent was told by some that it is used as a inside relic of a statue of a new Temple constructed in Punakha few years ago but is not confirmed.

Not only the story of Sumthrang, as many such monasteries whose relics are lost in such similar cases are unheard, un told. Even the story of sumthrang's lost relics, who would have heard until this post?

Sumthrang Monastry is a private monastery, owned by Sumthrang Chojee. The monastery remained under thread from falling, the responsibility of its conservation is being taken care by Sumthrang Chojee but its ultimate benefit is always the country and its culture and tradition.

Its survival boasts country's image in cultural conservation without having to take any burden.

While its sacred valuable relics are are the private possessions of the successive incumbents and the monastery,  the power of ownership is has been with the state. The law of the kingdom provides the ownership of those relics to the state but for its conservation, security, it does not care. 

We have so many such monasteries, some private and some community owned, while both served in their capacity of religious monument for the village, valley and the country.

It is said that there are 3,112 monasteries and stupas recorded in the country, which would need assistance in any kind for its conservation.

Reports say that about, 264 Temples and stupas as destroyed by the earth quake in 2009 and last year yet again, 284 Temples and Stupas are said to have destroyed in the earth quake. What would be the cost of conservation? Do we need new monasteries? 

Do we still need more new or is it smart to conserve the old monuments for good.

Valuable and sacred, a worth for a visitors or are we trying to magnify with new monasteries for some foreign visitors who love flashy new monasteries with gardens?

But there are many who love old and historical.....which is more worth and valuable....!

What are we looking for and what do we value?

1 comment:

  1. very very thoughtful write up.

    best thing for all those interested parties,who are into building a brand new temples and monastries is that, they should have their "yeshi Sempa" ready before any other thing. If they don, then dont just rob other sacred sites. Just stop your project and divert the funds for the conservation and preservation of the sites we already have.......

    my humble thought.........