My Experience in Bhutan

After our 2 week trip in Bhutan, I am coming back a different man. I went in a novice, not knowing what to expect from a small country, the inventor of Gross National Happiness. Now that it is over, I feel enlightened by the philosophies of Buddhism and awed by all the sights I have seen. I am taking this with me, the words of those who are inspired by the philosophies and practices of Buddhism. The temples we visited are some of the most amazing things I have ever seen. In Punakha, we visited the Woolaka monastery, which included a giant temple with figures of people who helped Buddhism become what it is today in Bhutan. I hope the efforts and faith that the people who built the temple come home with me. Each side of the pillars and walls within the temple contained the etched carvings and drawings of these people. The Tigers Nest had 6 temples, which also had unique yet complicated drawings and statues in every corner. This created an inspiration which I hope to bring home with me.

I also plan on bringing home the impact that others have made on my life. Throughout the trip, there were numerous instances in which I needed assistance in finding a place or knowing the answer to a question. Our tour guides were the solution to every one of our problems. I remember when Kezang, or Lucky, told us all about the temple at Woolaka. He explained ancient Buddhist traditions and how important figures spread Buddhism across the country. At the ELC (the school we stayed at), I met students whose dispositions were to assist and enlighten others with what they have learned in their lifetimes. It was a type of kindness I have not seen before, and it has positively impacted me and my outlook on life.

Finally, I plan on taking home a small part of the Bhutanese way of life. In these short two weeks, I have witnessed people with much less than I have who are extremely happy. They learn to adapt to their environment and live in a mutual relationship with the plants and animals around them. As one of our speakers at the ELC said, happiness is learning to accept the impermanent and to be content with your possessions. I believe that if one learns and lives by these guidelines, they will have a happier life. The Bhutanese have exemplified this perfectly, and I hope to incorporate it into my life as much as possible.

On our hike up to the Tiger’s Nest, I took a moment to stop and think about all I have experienced and learned on this trip. With a great view of the monastery and the wind blowing gently, the view was unbelievable. It was a moment of reflection of my life. I thought about my healthy family at home, my friends and opportunities at school, and how I was able to spend two weeks in Bhutan. I opened my eyes, smiled, and continued along the trail with another breeze blowing across my face.

Life is good.

- Alex