Thursday, January 12, 2023

Published January 12, 2023 by with 0 comment

LEADING TOGETHER: Small Things Matter

A principal is not a position of power but a place for demonstrating enlightened leadership, in every small ways. This way what principal is will be imbibed within the leadership character of teachers and then to students. 

One of my leadership style is to sit and work together with my colleagues not by displaying authority of power or position but as friends. I try to make them feel connected, friendly and welcome by connecting to them, visiting their workplace and joining them in all social gathering.

I try not to make them feel free to enter my office like they enter their home, trying to ensure that they have no hesitance or fear to come to me to ask for leave, help, discussion or any other reasons. 

I never lose temper upon my colleagues or be vengeful even if they fail to perform as per my aspiration, rather I have tried to communicate to understand the circumstances, knowing that they too are human, and mistakes they make is opportunity for me to redirect them.

To sing together like horde of wolves to celebrate, to laugh to a conversation  together, to debate and discuss common matters over a birthday party, to work together at brush cutting, to evaluate examination papers as a team, to visit ailing colleague or a neighbour, and make a pilgrimage together are opportunities I have to practice leadership with my staff.

It is only by working together like friends, yet maintaining the spirit of responsibility and accountability that we can rejoice working as a family. This is but my style of leadership.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Published October 26, 2022 by with 0 comment


Funeral expenditure is becoming a massive and a practical waste of resources with huge part of expenditure on extravagant meals. The intention is to give away on charity for the benefit of the demised. But does that mean the meals served after the dead at the funeral must be no less than a marriage banquet? 

I am beginning to understand that a funeral ceremonies in towns are better than those in villages, and very expensive affair. In the recent years even those in villages are beginning to become a costly affair. The banquet is fine, it is believed to increase merit ‘a Gewa’ if people are happy and pleased. 

There is unacceptable culture growing with people coming to offer condolences and for mourning- they have choices for drinks. Why should we buy ‘Breezer’ drinks so much than local wine to serve? I asked. The responses were that mourning visitors anticipate Breezers because in other funerals it was served that and people like that. If what must be served should go by what people desire, dead ceremonies will soon become a party hall. It already is in fact.

People visiting to offer condolences are going to a party hall than to a mourning altar. In Bhutanese culture people do not go empty hand to the mourning house, they take things as an act of condolence, nevertheless, the house of the deceased will have to serve varieties of meals and choices of beer and whiskies. 

The flurry of activities is no different from any marriage party. Instead of mourning and praying, perhaps even meditating in solemn silence, the place becomes a hall of laughter, of telling stories, of talking about other people, of business and politics too. This may be crude to say so, but this is a painful scene for those who mourn and those who have meagre to expend. When behaviours become custom, and custom give rise to culture of a place, the behaviour can become irrevocably less meaningful act of service.

In many funerary events, meat is beginning to become secondary, and many educated people make it vegetarian. This is a value that has been imbibed into Bhutanese psyche, propagated by HH The Je Khenpo in the recent past. It was a spiritual advice and rational by any philosophical logic to refrain meats from meals during home rituals and funeral events. 

People’s craving can be ravenous. Although meat servings are declining, it is beginning to be replaced by choices people have for drinks. At another funeral event a few years ago, a family was loading crates of ‘Spy’wine. This was to serve visitors with it because it was peoples’ choices. They said, visitors demanded it. The cost on the grieving family may be rather costlier than what we contribute to lighten the weight of expenses and the heart that mourn!

Why do we visit house of the bereaved? The answer and the act have become a contradiction. We visit to pay tribute to the deceased and offer condolences to the grieving family. We are expected to offer prayers and respects, to praise the deceased and comfort the bereaved. I anticipate a solemn gathering of people who sit together in prayers, be part of the ritual, talk in modest ways and also be served modestly. I don’t expect laughter echoing roof to roof, visitors becoming drunk and arguments and debates inciting the solemn space!

After Queen Elizabeth passed away, from the the day to the burial, it became a solemn state of affairs. People donned black garments to mourn, offered flowers, lit candles, sang solemn songs and mass prayers. It was a silent ceremony yet extravagant in how ceremonial events unfolded. They even walked in silent and slow paces. In any other funeral ceremonies of the West, there is a significance and honour of bereavement, by mourning in decent respect and by offering condolence with deep spiritual reflections. The funeral ceremonies doesn’t seem to be a banquet but a benevolent celebration of the life lived.

Today funeral events in our villages are also changing, from a modest state of affairs to an extravagant event. In our village and even in towns people need to be offered copious variety of choices to drink. While providing meals, tea and some beer and whisky is normal, people are now expecting to have their choices to lavish on. In my village people seek Redbull drinks and Fizzer drinks too. After their departure, countless empty bottles will be lain waste and so much in the store. Is this necessary, to quench the palate by their choices? 

It may appear like the charity, a generous offering for the transition of the soul of the dead, but will extravagant drinks and meals have any benefit to the dead? Should people sincerely offer prayers and deep wishes in remembrance of the dead than desire choices to serve. I doubt if this is what is in the canonical teachings of the Buddha!

In fact, the gathering becomes a space for people communion, to laugh and regale the gathering of relatives and friends. The dead is barely talked about or prayed for. The after death rituals and prayer ceremonies are also becoming a costly affair. In towns, like Thimphu, the monks have set a standard value for their services. The sort of competition is only growing exponentially. It is impossible to have 21 days of ritual without expending over two to three lakhs. Does the value of money equal value of life lost, or will that value of money make bigger difference to the soul of the late?

Visiting a grieving family is a age old culture. We visit to provide support upon death of a member.  The traditional visits are in 7th, 14th, 21st, 49th and on an anniversary. This has glued our filiality, bringing together relatives and people. The events provide space for people to provide moral support for each other during the painful hours and days. These are days on which rituals and prayers are offered, and family bond together to pay respects. The days of mourning are solemn days to make offering to Buddhas, Dharmapalas, deities and other unfortunate beings. The days are opportunities to practice act of generosity, by offering rituals, chanting prayers, raising flags and offering foods. 

What is very important in such dark moments to help the dead and the grieving family will be offering of sincere prayers from monks and people. Sometimes we must recall, how we can serve better by being part of the family.

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Saturday, October 22, 2022

Published October 22, 2022 by with 0 comment



To parents who think teachers aren't doing enough
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Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Published September 13, 2022 by with 0 comment


 There is a blunt truth why people leave for Australia, America or Canada, currently most to Australia. 

While local research and data, news and noises tend to portray reasons for leaving to, workload, hierarchy, lack of amenities, work atmosphere, lack of incentives and recognition and many such, the hidden reason is the Dollar.

The blunt truth is that they who leave leave to make better income. The calculations and comparisons are on money they earn in a week what they earn in months here at home. I know several friends who have returned after their tryst in Australia, and I am compelled to envy them. They have life savings that I can’t make in a decade more also. They have better cars bought without loans. They bought land  without loan. They have flats and house to go to even before retirement. They are living more luxurious and secure life.  

The rush to Australia is a short window to ensure better earning. This is the blunt end of truth we won’t answer even in a data survey!

It’s not workload. We know they work harder than they ever did while on the chair. They perform multiple works in a day, as cleaners for a time, taxi for another and harvesting grapes for yet another. 

It’s not hierarchy. We know, those who were leaders here work under less educated supervisors. If quality of work pleases them they get to work with sense of security.

It’s not recognition or incentives. Their is no huge recognition or rich incentive for menial works done, yet people work even at the oddest and in riskiest places. 

It is not working amenities. They aren’t provided with iPads and cars, house and offices, yet everyone works zealously second to second. 

It is not for academic learning and upskilling. The priority is not to study, to get certified for Masters or Doctoral degree. These degrees have no advantage in how much we earn at work. It is a way for one to work and other to study and work.

If we look at stories of how Bhutanese emigrant works in Australia Day and night without hue and cry, and yet rejoice the beaches and city lights, we have been complacent while on their chairs here. We expect everything to be given as we desired even without sweating as much as we would in Australia. Bhutanese are proving to be reliable and capable muscles wherever they work outside Bhutan.

Bhutanese leaving to Australia may be a brain drain but they also contribute towards Bhutan’s economy. In the report by The Bhutanese 2021, ‘As per the RMA’s monthly statistical bulletin in 2020 of the total Nu 8.269 bn remittance to Bhutan, Bhutanese in Australia made up Nu 5.343 bn. A distant second was Bhutanese in USA sending in Nu 2.479 bn.

This is incredible considering that just in 2018 Bhutanese in USA sent Nu 1.371 bn and those in Australia sent Nu 1.591 bn.’

This indicates that more Bhutanese who are in Bhutan are able to own land and build houses, live healthier life. When they return home, they life humbler life, having experienced the harsh realities of work and money. If a family lives a better life, if children can be provided better education, this is also a long term national asset. 

We know stories of how Bhutanese people bruise and burn at work. They suffer from back aches and head aches,  but are resilient to keep working until their dues are paid and savings are made. Many are emotionally disturbed, homesick and lonely, but they thrive as a community, looking after each other as a family of Bhutanese. Life cannot be bed of roses where thorns are natural outcomes of risk we take. One of the most painful moments are to be away from our children and ageing parents. We cry, we work, we laugh, we bruise, we sing, and sunsets comes and goes. 

If dollars have to be minted, we have to shed the pride of our titles. Their is never a easy way wherever we are, whatever we do. My position and power will be unable to provide better life for my children, and if I have to worry over it all the time on how to meet our ends, I cannot be as productive as I would if I my bank balance is secure. But by the position and power I am entrusted, I am able to contribute to nation building significantly, inspiring, transforming and making incremental differences in the lives of students and place I work. 

People will leave, knowledge and skill will be drained. It will never be same again, but the machinery must keep running. It’s not a political exodus, it is not a mass banishment. There is always an advantage. Someone will take over, someone will learn to run differently. For the system to run for a new century, we will need to from and nurture our young population and those who remain loyal to their task. We must know that, not everyone will have the convenience and karma to take flight to Australia, and those who did cannot become an Australian.

Note: This is neither to comment nor to contradict anyone. I appreciate that they who leave are destined.

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Thursday, September 8, 2022

Published September 08, 2022 by with 0 comment


 The tradition

In a tradition of displaying true and highest devotion to their Guru, Lama Wangdi’s disciples offered a Dharma Crown to to their teacher. The tradition existed since the time of Guru Padmasambhava. The King of Zahor is said to have offered Padma Dharma hat to Guru Padmasambhava to pay tribute and display his true devotions. 


The ceremony was a display of eternal and pure devotion to the teacher and teachings. For Lama Wangdi, who have lived all his life as a hermit teacher, in retreats and prayers for most of his days, the dharma hat signifies his devotees’ devotion and Buddha dharma Lama has been able to propagate in more than five decades of teaching.

The Ceremony

It was a humble investiture ceremony organised by Lama Wangdi’s disciples at Dragkarpo hermitage on the auspicious day of the Medicinal Buddha, on 4th September 2022. The ceremony was attended by his disciples, relatives and followers.

The Dharma Crown

The dharma crown is Padma Hat, signifying the Nyingma hat worn by the Guru Padmasambhava. The hat is embroidered in Nepal with fine brocade which is interlaced with garments of Bodhisattvas and Rinpoches, and anointed with relics and remains of great masters.

The hat has two layers, symbolizing the Development Stage(Kedrim) and Completion Stage(Dzogrim) of the Vajrayana practice. The hat has three points, symbolizing the Buddha's three bodies. The five colors of the hat symbolize the five colors of spiritual accomplishments. The sun and moon pattern on the hat symbolizes the combination of activity and wisdom. The blue edge symbolizes the eternal vow to practice to benefit sentient being and enlightenment. The crest symbolizes the indestructibility of meditation and attainment of oneness with the Mind. The eagle feather decor symbolizes the supreme Dharma.

Lama’s disciples

Lama Wangdi had been teaching for more than forty years. Many of his disciples are teachers or retreatants in the hermitages across the country, some abroad. Many have completed three year retreats, some two and three cycles, and meditation practices in Longchhen Nyingthig and Tersar teachings. Some of disciples include Khenpos and Tshampas who had been ardent practitioners for decades.


Lama Wangdi, a retreatant(Tshampa), a lay monk, Gomchen, all his life, have begun his life as a monk from Trongsa Rabdey in his childhood. When his father became Yonphula Drungpa, Lama Wangdi left Trongsa for Trashigang. Yongphula Monastery soon after to learn from late Lama Karpo who was one of the foremost disciples of late Dudjom Rinpoche, Jigdrel Yeshi Dorji. 

Lama Wangdi and his siblings are from Trongsa Laushong. Their father then was serving at the Dzong as Gorap. He was famously called Kheng Mitobom of Shingkhar and later had been Drungpa at Wamrong in Trashigang.

Lama Wangdi had been practicing Chod under the tutelage of Lama Karpo, receiving empowerments from His Holiness Dudjom and many luminaries of Nyingma and Kajyud. The stories of his travels to India to receive teaching are extraordinary feat of devotion, determination and courage.


Rising up the ranks as a gomchen under tutelage of Lama Karpo, his primary teacher, Tshampa Wangdi became Umze, a chant leader at the monastery. 

He was known for his rigour and focus as  monk, disciplined at ritual practices. He had been a devoted practitioner who had several years of retreat practices and ritual experiences, learning and meditation. His disciples are are comparably less than his years of practices but are successful practitioners.


Lama Wangdi stayed at Pelri Goenpa in Paro Bongdey as caretaker for several decades. He began teaching and taking devoted followers while at Pelri Goenpa with spiritual aspiration to propagate Buddhism. Today, Lama Wangdi lives near Dragkarpo in a humble makeshift home with his consort, providing teachings to his disciples who are at retreats around Dragkarpo and other hermitages.

Living in Paro for many years, Lama Wangdi is today one of the most sought for ritual performer, healer and teacher in Paro. Over the recent years his devotees in Chod practice have increased many times, including young and the old. Lama Wangdi in his late seventies already is one of the oldest retreat masters, Chod practitioners and ritual performer.


Lama Wangdi is the only surviving younger brother of my father. I

When I saw Aku Tshampa, as we popularly call him, he was a Ngagpa, wearing white silk gown and Khamze scarf, with lock of hair and ivory earring. He resembled Marpa Lotsawa as I saw it in the comic books.

Aku Tshampa has been one of my inspiration and a teacher in my practices in Throma Chod. After I began my preliminary practices since 2003, I was guided and  learnt through his filial advices.

Over the years, I have quietly appreciated Aku Lama’s unforgiving way of discipline ,indefatigable practices; his early rising prayers and consistency at making regular offerings with ardent passion to Buddha Dharma.

Aku Tshampa told me that, our practices must be relentless, reflective and consistent, evolving towards seeking meaning beyond mere ritualistic practices. He has inspired me and guided me more by what he is than what I couldn’t learn formally from him. 

This are little things I write to pay tribute to a hidden Yogi, a man with a steel of devotion to Dharma.

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Monday, September 5, 2022

Published September 05, 2022 by with 0 comment


We are teachers. We still go to school like many other went to school decades ago. Teachers are human, teachers are parent to children of other parents. Teacher are parents to diversity of children, with diversity of aptitudes, attitudes, intelligence, behaviour and backgrounds. Children pose diverse challenges and provide opportunities for teachers to mold them. 

Teacher have their own challenges, but when they are at school, they are absolutely teachers- A treasure house of knowledge, an epitome of discipline, a reliable parents, a faithful friend and wise sage. Even if we are not, we fake it to make the best out of every student. We remain selfless by heart. Our thoughts are about how we can improve learning and student discipline.

See parents; we are teachers, we are trained primarily to teach. We promised to be the best for your sons and daughter. We learnt child psychology and educational psychology, we learnt driglam namzhag, we mastered our subject, but once at school, our service goes beyond classroom teaching. Our role as teachers compels us morally to care and love every students, to be concerned about their future like the future we worry about our own children. We give so much thought and time for the wellbeing of students, and often at the cost of our own health, time and inconvenience, and our own family.

Teaching is our primary profession, we cannot give anything less than what learner must learn. We use every creative ways possible, and employ diverse means in the classroom to make them understand, to remedy mistakes, to improve what they know, how they speak and how they behave. Classroom is not merely for teaching and learning, it is in these classrooms children are guided to transform, to learn traditional etiquette, practice moral values and spark humane virtues through songs and stories, through discourses and drama. There are no limits to what teachers do and say in anticipation for them to transform. We are earn for what role we play as teachers, yet our roles are complex, multifaceted, subtle and profound. A teachers impact on a child can never be measured comprehensibly, and never be compensated in equal measure to any other profession.

When students are on vacation for few weeks to months and return to school, we notice how quickly they become disconnected from what was learnt in school. During the pandemic when schools closed indefinitely, I have heard parents grieving, impatient about a waiting for schools to resume. 'When will schools resume, my child is unable to study? My son is getting addicted to mobile phone? My son have no sleeping and rising discipline? My daughter never eats on time? We don't know how well to guide them here?' These speaks of how some of our parents have begun to value school over their parenting challenges. For many parents, sending children is a huge relief, not because they are going to school for learning because they found themselves challenged at home, because they saw how children are more disciplined at school than home. Who makes them disciplined at school?

Parents must know that, keeping children happy, entertained, engaged in study and abiding to school norms is a daunting task. Every small things teachers speak and do at school are aimed at making student a better graduate, a better citizen. Teaching them textual matter is not a challenge, making them understand and respond in right ways is; inspiring them to love learning is a challenge. Telling them to adhere to school rules is not a challenge, making them into a discipline child, loyal and committed, focussed and farsighted is. These values cannot be taught only through powerful speeches and advices; these must be imbibed into every child by keeping eyes on them all day, by tracking their footsteps day and night, by offering them opportunities to experience value through various activities. 

The beginning of a fabled good student begins at home. Even if the home is broken, if a child receives enough love and care, counsel on custom and discipline, a child becomes a good student. If your children are challenge at home, imagine a home with hundreds of students from diverse family backgrounds in school with diverse experiences, diverse health issues and diverse attitudes. To mould every child to become a successful graduate, every child becomes our own child at school, and every teacher become a parent. 

For children from broken homes, and those living with relatives, they long to be in school.  We have students who would rather stay in school then go home. For these students, school is safer and warmer than their broken and lonely homes. They trust teachers and find love and care, and meaning of their life at school where friends and teachers surround them. Children must realise the important role teachers play and how important school is for their learning and meaningful life. For many children, their freedom is at school when among their friends, when they have access to playgrounds, better meals and choices of books to read. Children grow meaningfully among their social surrounding at school than in isolation at home. At school, teachers are like magicians, this magic is absent in parents. The magic teachers use on students is a magic parents cannot on their own children.

For children who have parents to look after, rely and trust, love and care may be limitless at home. Parent's love is an essential factor to students' mental and moral wellbeing. The presence of parents make them them a better human. The absence of parent on the other cannot be replaced either by relatives or by providing material luxury.  We have found that, even a performing student, good at behaviour and academics, begins to dwindle soon after divorce or separation happens at home. 

Dear parents, accept teacher as a parent, after all, they stay with us longer than with you all. You gave birth and looked after them for six years, we look after them for more than dozen years. For some students, teachers are their only parents to rely for change and growth, and school their only good home. We cannot see them as your children, we see them as our own, as our responsibility.

For me, every child is a potential adult, a becoming parent, neighbour and a leader. A leader who must be a productive citizen, a respectable parents, a loyal servant, and a good human being. This vision compels me to go beyond hundred pages of Education Blueprint, beyond civil service statutes, to transform every student to become invaluable national asset. This vision is what guides me and my school to do everything possible in every small ways 'to nurture nationally rooted and globally competent citizen.' We may be impoverished to make ends meet in life, but we are repertoire of hope and path for those we care.

Namgyal Tshering, Dechentsemo CS, Thinleygang.

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Friday, August 5, 2022

Published August 05, 2022 by with 0 comment


When I learn about intellectuals who bad mouth about me behind my backs and about other people’s matters, I feel pity how their graduation academic certificates failed to make them great minds. 

How much do you know about my life from childhood to schools to colleges to marriage to career to habits and experiences I have lived through to believe in your talk about me? You only know what you heard and thought you saw!

Eleanor Roosevelt, an American diplomat and social activist said in one of her inspiring speech that-

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”

You don’t realise your talk about people and events, even ideas will relate to your own experience in life. No matter how factual and convincing you can be, that is your perspective, a sad perspective you waste time on. 

If you talk about someone’s life and work, attitude and behaviour, to your friends and family, it’s talking about other people. What do we get and how do we contribute towards their life’s wellbeing by talking about others? 

We should know that there are greater things to think; about policies and politics, laws and limitations, ideologies and philosophy, than bicker about others. It is a sign of wiser person to know that small remarks and conclusions we make about other peoples’ life in a group or to someone can have detrimental effect on them. 

Jeff Haden, a motivational speaker and professor at of Madison University write that ‘Emotionally intelligent people keep their feelings in check and embrace or at least put aside the discomfort..’ they would create for themselves or others by not learning beyond ignorance. The reason we talk others is because we get moved by emotions of other people. We do not know the history and experiences, the why and how beyond about the circumstance yet we become emotionally reactive.

It is a natural instinct for human being to socialize and gossip, and gossip to be mostly about other people. Our Stone Age ancestors indulged in similar plain talks. They had lesser capacity like thinkers to delve into profound thoughts. Some of us are intellectuals and academicians, doctors and teachers, leaders and parents, yet our mental behaviour is close to our hairy an ancestors.

When we become carriers of messages of other people, talking about other people, we lose sight of greater ideas and events to discuss for greater good. The small talks can disrupt other peoples’ homes, heart  and life. 

If we cannot stand as prove of evidence, if we cannot be clairvoyant, if we cannot rest others intent, past life and life today, we may only be becoming a hypocrite who makes assumptions. As intellectuals we must know that what we hear, read, see and become part of, even if hundreds tells, is part of the whole world of other persons.

I would read a good book or rather keep silent than to bicker about people.

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