Sunday, June 4, 2017

Melom Chhenmo and Chhathrims.

Mainly due to the huge investment of his personal commitment, financial contributions  and exhaustive time devoted, His Holiness the Jhe Khenpo Trulku Jigme Choedra has heralded an era where the people of  all 20 Dzongkhags in Bhutan now conduct a yearly Melom Chhenmo.

In all the Dzongkhags, the Melom Chhenmo were initiated and made possible by private people with the active blessings, endorsement and participation of His Holiness. The Dzongkhag Administrations and Dzongkhag Dratsangs naturally played very active and vital roles during the conduct of the annual Great Prayers. However, the main motivators and initiators and the central force behind all the Melom Chhenmo in the Dzongkhags are from amongst the general public ( private as well as officials in private and individual capacity) of respective Dzongkhags. It is not just the funds raised but also the meals served and enthusiasms demonstrated in celebrating and mass attendance by the general public that makes annual Melom Chhenmo such a celebrated and hugely successful spiritual  event. The public have a sense of ownership, responsibility and community togetherness for their Dzongkhag annual Melom Chhenmo. 

Against this backdrop, there is an ongoing process that kind of, hereater, converts this people sponsored and celebrated event into an officially managed affair.  I am told that His Holiness had ordered for a Melom Chhenmo  Chhathrim to be adopted by each Dzongkhag. And such a Chhathrim already adopted by some Dzongkhags specify that successive Dasho Dzongdags as Chairman and the Lam Netens as Vice Chairman of Melom Chhenmo. This naturally transfers the management of accumulated Melom Chhenmo Fund under the authority of respective Dzongdags and Lam Netens. And Melom Chhenmo becomes an official event.

I am rather dismayed that public role in what they so fervently built up, will be diminished to an extent that in few years time,  public say will be rendered nil. I am not surprised that Dzongdags and Lam Netens are so readily accepting the roles of Chairman and Vice Chairmanships. Maybe,  they feel that their institutional roles should be rewarded more or that they should have their hands into the funds which is not subject to official audit.  Maybe they are only submitting to the wishes of His Holiness.

It is possible that His Holiness hopes to ensure Melom Chhenmo durability in the years ahead through a Chhathrim that places the annual Melom Chhenmo event under the authority and management of the Dzongkhag administration and the Dratsang.

I humbly feel that to remove the central role and say of the public from Melom Chhenmo is like removing the soul from the body. The durability of Dzongkhag Melom Chhenmo can be most effectively assurred by simply having the Central Monastic Body formalise for the future the  successive Jhe Khenpos gracing the Melom Chhenmo of each Dzongkhag in the footstep of His Holiness the present Jhe Khenpo. . Such a Dratsang  commitment would be whole heartedly and most gratefully cherished and welcomed by the public of 20 Dzongkhags. And Melom Chhenmo event will be celebrated in the grandest of spirit and faith even after the time of His Holiness Trulku Jigme Choedra and without a Chhathrim.       

1 comment:

  1. Though small population, there are people with different beliefs in Bhutan. All are not buddhists. This section of people cannot
    freely practise their beliefs - but what is more sad is deduction of their income to support others beliefs against their wishes. The point to say here is, don't collect/deduct money for melam chenmo against the individuals' wishes.