Thursday, May 1, 2014

Blessing and Bruise: The story of Bhutanese Wang ceremony




Last year when religious artifacts were being showcased in RAPA hall, few devotees had a scuffle due to which the blessing for that day was cancelled. The problem was due to indiscipline of few devotees who wanted to rush in between without getting into queue aggravated by crowd mismanagement on the part of police and the home ministry which was also an organizer. Last week, rimdro at Pangrizampa attracted huge devotees. The line that began from courtyard of lhakhang stretched till army oil depot. For sincere and disciplined devotees, it took almost four hours to get to the blessing site. However, for few people especially educated and extrovert, it took less than thirty minutes to get blessing as police presence was only at the gate. As a devotee with my family, I was happy most of the time as people seemed to be so disciplined except for some complaints from group of ladies behind me about few people breaking into lines ahead of us and how long they had to wait as sincere people. Suddenly, I found those same women squeezing into lines far ahead of us. I observed that inadequate police personnel were unable to monitor such behavior. Organizer should have brought in more crowd managers to control the crowd. I was also afraid that my family who waited since 2 pm might not get blessing even at 7 pm and we might have to return unblessed. Luckily, we got blessing at around seven p.m. Some people who were behind from us were returned home.
As a civil servant who was just ahead of me commented, it was usually educated people who usually didn’t follow the queue. They tended to call their friends who came before them and then squeezed into queue. The losers are those humble people who are too hesitant to object to such behavior by those pseudo English men and women. I was wondering whether education has given those people confidence to break the unwritten rules or they are just flaunting their education for undue advantages. If they are educated people who want to flaunt their English education, they must too follow western norms of getting behind the queue. They mustn’t behave like monkeys trained in English.
Also organizers too must carry some obligations to see if people are being taken advantages of. They must deploy enough manpower to manage the crowd. The rimdro or events might be initiated for wellbeing of sentient beings but they also must understand that the benefits go back to them or monks who are conducting prayers. People spend more during religious for benefit they received in the form blessing. I don’t mean to accuse that organizer might be making profit because I know they spend more than they will ever get tangible returns. I also know organizers conduct such activities so that people don’t contact malaise. They want that people gain merit as organizers do.Still the organizers havea responsibility to shoulder. One of the crucial things is crowd management because after all they want their sponsored events to be a grand success.
On the other hand, I think arrogant devotees who are always in hurry must understand that when they jumped the line, they are rather being cursed than being blessed. As a Buddhist, one must respect the feelings and understand the difficulties of fellow sentient beings. Arrogant devotees not only accumulate sin themselves by hurting sentiments of devotees who have been patiently waiting in queue but also let other sin through angry and retaliatory behaviors. When one person jumped the line, the next person wants to do same to leading to chaos and stampede. Such devotees’ behaviors also imply that they have no respect for organizers and monks who prayed for benefit of all sentient beings. If they could, arrogant people mightask monks or religious artifacts to selfishly bless them and ignore others.
All of us so-called Buddhists must understand that all of us want to be blessed and not bruised due to anger and chaos.

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