Excuse me…… Did you just say THAT PHALLUS belonged to one of your saints?
Flanked by hundreds of prayer flags, Chimi Lakhang is a good half hour leisurely walk across fertile rice fields. We passed farmers harvesting their rice and traipsed paddy fields cutting across a village where houses are painted with…..errr, phalluses of one of Bhutan’s favorite saints. Either that, or you find hanging phalluses swinging by house corners, intended to drive away demons.
Chimi Lhakhang is dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kunley or Drukpa Kunleg (1455 – 1529) also known as ‘The Divine Madman’. He “distinguished” himself for his outrageous behavior and teaching style. Legend goes that the saint used to hit the evil forces with his penis (or cohabited with them) to distract, subdue, and eventually turn them into protective deities. Trust me, this is serious stuff in Bhutan. My own guide claims the Divine Madman “took away the shame” —- i interpret this to mean “malice”—– from them. In many Thangka paintings, the saint is shown holding a “wooden stick with penis head”.
The Lhakang is just a small pilgrimage site in a rather rural setting. We passed old, modest houses and children posing for photos, hopping, running around, and playing “kitchen” like many other children in the world. Makes you think children are the same all over UNTIL society/culture imposes itself on them. We were welcomed in a small kitchen where the women were frying rice grains much like our local “pinipig” or rice crisps. The young monks we met at the Lhakang were likewise playing — running and jumping around, swinging by the window sill, or up above munching an apple while seated on a branch of the Buddha tree.
This is also a pilgrimage site for childless couples. Well, that “Thunderbolt of Flaming Wisdom” (as they call the saint’s phallus) ain’t called that for nothing. As fertility saint, he is perhaps the only saint in all religions of the world excused for his sexual exploits and inclinations, for which his phallus is identified with its creative power and ability to distract and subdue demons. Think about that!
Please do check my other blogs and photos on Bhutan here in WordPress. Or try my blog series on Bhutan in TravelBlog. Here is the link : http://www.travelblog.org/Bloggers/liliram/Trips/17606
And by the way, with all we’ve seen and experienced in Bhutan, we missed something big time. Not sure if we could have mustered the nerve to watch, but here’s one interesting read for all of you. Tell me what you think 😉