Tag Archives | Bhutan

Bhutan has Embraced the Phallus for Centuries

Tiny Bhutan is the world’s perennial leader in Gross National Happiness. Nestled high in the Himalayas and home to a population of three-quarters of a million people, the GNH is Bhutan’s answer to the outside world’s obsession with acquiring and measuring wealth. Forget about increasing the Gross National Product, they want to increase happiness. And every year, Bhutan is near the top of the list of happy countries. The question is…why? Is it Buddhist spirituality? Is it a rejection of Western materialism? Is it a function of their geography and isolation? Or is it penis power?

Religion News Service reports on the special relationship between the people of Bhutan and the phallus, which is ubiquitous in Bhutanese life:

A phallic painting on a building in Wangdue Phodrang, Bhutan. Photo by Tara Limbu

A phallic painting on a building in Wangdue Phodrang, Bhutan. Photo by Tara Limbu

For centuries, Buddhists in this tiny landlocked Himalayan kingdom have had a special devotion to the most unusual of objects: the phallus.

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The U.N. Happiness Project

File-Face-smileTimothy W. Ryback reports for the New York Times:

Next Monday, the United Nations will implement Resolution 65/309, adopted unanimously by the General Assembly in July 2011, placing “happiness” on the global agenda.

“Conscious that the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal” and “recognizing that the gross domestic product [...] does not adequately reflect the happiness and well-being of people,” Resolution 65/309 empowers the Kingdom of Bhutan to convene a high-level meeting on happiness as part of next week’s 66th session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York.

An impressive array of luminaries will be speaking for this remote Himalayan kingdom. His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales will open the meeting via a prerecorded video missive. The Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz will speak on “happiness indicators,” as will the economic shock therapist Jeffrey Sachs. The Bhutanese prime minister will represent King Jigme Khesar Namgyel, the reigning Dragon King of the Bhutanese House of Wangchuck.

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