Social Service and GNH

Smiles for monks of Dechen Phodrang

The monks of Dechen Phodrang Monastic School will no longer have to sleep on the Floor!  A Big Thank You to Zoe and Dante and of course to their wonderful parents Tijn Smithuis and Jeannatte.

Mr. Tijn and I share office at the Royal Textile Academy. One day, he said his children, Zoe and Dante were interested to do a Charity Project in Bhutan with the support of their former School, De Kleine Reus in the Netherlands. Knowing the plight of the monks at Dechen Phodrang and of course its close proximity and the ease of coordination, I suggested that we visit the Monastic School. After a few meetings with the Principal, some teachers and the students, the supply of bunk beds was identified as a priority. Up until now the monks slept on the floor and the dormitories also served as class rooms during the day. Hygiene and Sanitation are challenges across most of the monastic schools in Bhutan and 99% of the monks come from poor families. Zoe and Dante were also more interested in Dechen Phodrang as the monks there were mostly of their age.

108 bunk beds have been committed at a total of Nu. 10,77,300/- of which 50 beds worth about Nu. 5 lakhs have been delivered on August 25, 2013 in the presence of His Eminence Tsukla Lopen Rinpoche of the Zhung Dratshang and the Hon’ble Secretary of the Dratshang Lhentshog. The remaining 58 will be delivered by end of September 2013.

Half of the funds were raised through a Charity Sponsored Walk conducted by Zoe and Dante’s former School in the Netherlands and the remaining was raised by Mr. Tijn and Jeannatte through their friends.


We would also like to mention Mr. Mon. Bdr from Wangmo Furniture who agreed to work as a partner and produce the beds at a subsidized rate. He also kindly agreed to produce the beds as a priority, shelving his other commitments. Thank you.

At the monastery, it was so fulfilling to see the excitement and gratitude in the faces of the monks. Thank you Mr. Tijn for making me part of this cause. I was just a facilitator and translator yet I felt so good as well!


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The True Monarch

The dawn of November 11, 1955

A nation celebrated the birth of its future king

An assurance of yet another generation of unprecedented leadership

Continuance of a legacy of monarchs in the true service of the people

The nation was overjoyed; their future secured.

Today, over thirty years since His accession to the Golden Throne

The legacy of the glorious Drukpa still lives on.


I cried, Your Majesty, even as a man I cried

(And I am not ashamed of my tears)

I cried to see You abdicate in favor of Your worthy heir

A son of a lion will always be a lion, no doubt

But a simple tribute I had to pay

For the future we are yet to see, the past stands witness to our admiration

When time comes, I shall not regret to cry again-of course!


I saw, Your Majesty, I saw You as a true monarch of the people

Genuine kindness and compassion! Gods are not only in heaven!

My eyes are not divine yet I saw,

I saw and I felt, I felt the joy of serving

I bow to you, for that’s the least I can do

I bow to Your magnanimity.


A promise I make, Your Majesty, a promise I shall keep

I promise to work, to work with integrity, to work with inspiration

To work with dedication and to work for a purpose

The purpose-realization of Your vision of Gross National Happiness

If for that my little efforts can contribute, even a trifle

I promise to work with sincerity

A Bhutan You visualized, I pray, will be a Bhutan that the future Bhutanese will live in


We are at the threshold of a new era

An era reluctantly accepted by the people of Bhutan

Will not the unprecedented peace and happiness we enjoyed

Become a fairytale of the past? Many wonder…

My dear fellow Bhutanese, the past was glorious

The future lies in our hands

Let us join hands to make His Majesty proud of us, as much as we are proud of Him


History, my dear friends, history will tell…

History will tell of a King who served and not ruled

History will tell of a King who listened and not commanded

History will tell of a King who led and not directed

And this history perhaps might repeat once in a million years!


Dear gods in the realms of heaven

My deepest respects and reverence

My lord, were I to live my life all over again

I should like it just as I have done

Neither do I complain of the past

Nor do I fear the future

Yet a small wish a beg of thee

That the dragon Kings continue to guide us

And that the glorious Palden Drukpa continues to shine

That’s all I ask thee, My Lord, that’s all I ask thee


(The above is a poem I had written in 2008 and published by Tarayana Foundation in the book “Jewel of Men”- compilation of poems dedicated to His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, on the occasion of the Coronation and Centenary Celebrations. )

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