I was certainly enormously ignorant about the Kingdom of Bhutan until I took this last "journey" on the fifth disk of my six DVD Mystic Lands set.
Throughout this short program prayer wheels constantly spun and prayer flags flapped in the Himalayan winds until the elements reduced them to wisps. All in an effort to help aid in the attainment of the enlightenment that will free these people from the continuous cycle of birth and death known as reincarnation.
The major religion in Bhutan is a Tantric Buddhism that is blended with their ancient folklore and ritual magic. There is an explanation of the legend that Guru Rinpochie - who is considered a reincarnation of the Buddha - arrived in Bhutan from India, riding on the back of a flying tiger. It was he who introduced to them the teachings of the Buddha.
This program explains and goes on to demonstrate the fact that Bhutan "is nearly untouched by the modern age." So we are told "the Kingdom of Bhutan is unified by faith." And though there is a little of its history committed to writing, the national library located in Thimphu contains centuries-old silk-wrapped Buddhist scriptures written in ink that was made from gold dust. Tantric Buddhism is its major legacy.
As with most of the other programs in this series the scenery is colorful and eye-pleasing as we tour the various sacred places and watch the performance of the people's ritual celebrations. If these religious customs at times seem strange to Western, eyes it is only because we have allowed ourselves to become so removed from the habit of the ancient's of connecting with the mystery of the cosmos.
Surely with our modern scientific worldview there has come also a spirit of estrangement. At least I think so. I wouldn't give up the light of science for anything. But neither do I choose to use it to extinguish my spirit.