Our recent trip to Bhutan was a soul searching one. The pristine beauty of the Buddhist kingdom situated on the eastern edge of the Himalayas which ranged from the subtropical plains to steep mountains and valleys with its beautiful rivers, streams and the lush greenery all around wasn’t only a treat to the eyes but to see the ever smiling and calm people despite the hardship most of them underwent to maintain their livelihood was a lesson to be learnt. Their religion and culture has taught them to be happy and calm regardless of external conditions and that could only be achieved by eliminating all negative feelings like anger, ignorance and attachment which give rise to dissatisfaction and finding inner peace within one self by developing generosity, compassion, wisdom and other positive states of mind. And if the mind is at peace we shall always remain happy and calm even if the external conditions are distraught and troublesome. Happiness is a conscious choice the peaceful nation has taken; to remain happy with whatever they have and where ever they are.
It was only in the middle of 20th century that Bhutan opened its gates to the world. The country had never been colonized and that gives them a distinct identity, an independent streak and an optimism. They enjoy life and take care of each other and this is infectious. Attitude of kindness is practically a way of life there.
Our visits to the many monasteries and fortresses (Dzongs) was an experience which was totally in contrast to the overcrowded temples and the heckling priests we come across in India. The peaceful ambience and the pensive chants of the Buddhist monks soothed the soul and filled up the mind with spiritual serenity and calm.