“When I lost apa at 5, a life-long emptiness was left in me. Growing up, I wanted to find the answer to life, death and beyond. In pursuit of a spiritual journey, I wanted to go to India. At 19, I ran from home and hitchhiked to P/ling. Someone found me, and informed my family. They came to take me, but I took the chance to talk to them. Miraculously, Ama was happy about my decision. She entrusted me to some monks, and I left for the shedra in India.

After a year, the life of studying felt incomplete and unfulfilling. By then, I’d look at myself as a failure – I didn’t fit anywhere. I prayed to Guru Rinpochoe’s statue in Tsho Pema to give me a teacher. In a month, miraculously I met a master at Manali with all the signs. He was a wanderer who meditated from place to place.

After a month with him, I found his tempers to be out of this world. I’d try my best to please him but he’d get angry and throw his wrath. Once, he got too angry and threw me a bottle of water, and it hit me. I was awestruck. In the evening, he told me that I had resisted him this long and he was testing me for it.

We lived together for 13 years and meditated in forests and caves. It was finally time to leave and be on my own. The first few months were filled with fear and loneliness, but every night, I’d see my master in my dream and felt encouraged to go on. Once in mediation, you get so calm and still, to the point no animal would harm you. My master instructed me to beg for alms in order to break one’s ego, but it was difficult. Hesitant at first, I went to a monastery. I had nothing for dinner, and my hair was flowing down like a crazy guy. The lama and the monks there gave me rice, biscuits, and a 1000 note. I returned to my cave singing and dancing. While visiting Bhutan, I was still ashamed and guilty of the tag of a runaway. With no money, I’d walk to places and sleep in T/phu Sabji bazar, and zangtho pelri in P/ling.

Back in India, I’d be back to being a yogi. In a remote village, in deep meditation, a cobra crawled over my body. The villagers were shocked and took pictures to show me. Almost disguised as a beggar, I went all over India and meditated. When walking got harder, a European friend sent me money for a bicycle. I rode for 4000 km and even to South-East Asia. By then, the life of a wandering Yogi had completely taken over me and I had lost track of time. Finally in Hyderabad after years, a man showed me a newspaper clipping of the Royal Wedding in Bhutan. For the first time, I was hit with the realisation that I too had a home, country and a King to serve – I needed to come back.

I am back in Bhutan, teaching meditation to psychiatric patients, and working with the government. I feel that meditation is the only relevant solution to such an over-paced society, and I am working to propagate it.”

#humanstory #HumansofThimphu #thimphu


Author: Dechen Wangdi

About the Author

(He/They) is one of the founding members of Humans of Thimphu and currently serves as the editor and content writer on the platform. Enthusiastic writer and photographer, his works mainly surrounds human interest story and advocacy on LGBTQIA+ and Youth empowerment. He also harbours an interest in photojournalism.


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