On Blonde’s recent trip to Bhutan she noticed many interesting aspects of their Buddhist culture. Fantastical legends abound, are well depicted in paintings and statues and have been passed down through many centuries. That was all interesting but not surprising given Blonde’s exposure to other countries with large Buddhist populations. But then one thing, well, er, stuck out, you could say. Phalluses!
It’s going to be incredibly hard not to fill this post with puns and other sophomoric comments and most likely I won’t succeed. Our tour guide mentioned that many Westerners are “immature” about all of the phalli and I feel bad that I’m probably going to prove her to be right.
So, what’s up with all of these phalli?
Buddhist history teaches that a 15th century monk, Drukpa Kunley, became known as “The Divine Madman” because of his unorthodox methods of spreading enlightenment. He thought the traditional ways of teaching Buddhism were dull and didn’t engage the masses well. He sought to change that – with his penis. (If you believe in reincarnation it’s not too hard to imagine that Drukpa Kunley came back as Bill Clinton.)
Not one to be content with merely naming his penis something like “The Big Guy” he went much further and named his the “Divine Thunderbolt of Wisdom.” And he made that wisdom available to scores of women; wives of friends, family members (per some versions of the story) and complete strangers. He was very generous with his “thunderbolt” and enjoyed walking about nude, consuming alcohol and relieving many women of the burden of virginity. Many women.
He gained a reputation for being able to slay dangerous demons with his penis and founded a monastery to create fertility in the town of Punakha. He also helped create a cottage industry of penis handicrafts.
He was also obviously quite the party guest. At one event he was asked to prove that he indeed had divine powers. So, as one would do in such a situation, he took the head of the goat he had consumed and attached it to the body of the cow he had eaten and created the Takin, the national animal of Bhutan. That must have shut up the doubters!
And finally, if you’re looking for a nice house-warming gift to ward off demons you can’t go wrong hanging a penis with a thunderbolt from the eaves of your home. I bet it’s more effective and cheaper than a home alarm system.
If our lukewarm Methodist upbringing had included tales of The Divine Madman I bet Brunette and I would have paid more attention!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this educational post but if it’s left you needing a cigarette you should know that smoking is illegal in Bhutan. Bet you didn’t see that one coming! (So to speak…)