Religion

Bhutan's official religion is Drukpa Kagyu, a school of Tantric Mahayana Buddhism, similar to the Buddhism of Tibet. Tantric form of religion emerged as the last phase in the long evolution of Buddhism. The word 'Trantism' comes from Tantras, the name of a body of esoteric texts which appeared roughly between the third and the tenth century. These are divided into four groups: tantras of action, tantras of behaviour, tantras of yoga, and finally tantras without any superiors. If we place Bhutan's religion in the full context of Buddhism, it is necessary to go back nearly 2500 years and trace the points at which the Drukpa Kagyu lineage and its antecedents diverged from other schools of Buddhism.

 

Buddhism is practiced throughout the country though, in the south, most Bhutanese people of Nepali and Indian descent practice Hinduism.

Minority groups practice various forms of animistic religion including Bon, which predates Himalayan Buddhism. Religion has shaped the history of the nation and continues to play an important role in the life of god fearing and spiritual people. All over Bhutan, evidence of this can be seen in many religious monuments and symbols that have been erected.

The air of spirituality is pervasive even in the urban centers where the spinning of prayer wheels, the murmur of mantras and the glow of butter lamps in the houses are still important features of every day life. Bhutan's religious sites and institutions are not museum, but the daily home of its people.