World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Religion in Bhutan

Article Id: WHEBN0013025741
Reproduction Date:

Title: Religion in Bhutan  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Music of Bhutan, Languages of Bhutan, Bhutanese art, Freedom of religion in Bhutan, Constitution of Bhutan
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Religion in Bhutan

Approximately 70 percent of the population follow either the Drukpa Lineage of the Kagyu school or the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism. The remaining 30 percent practice Hinduism or follow other schools of Buddhism or Bon.[1]

Buddhism

The Ngalop people, descendants of Tibetan immigrants, comprise the majority of the population in the western and central areas and mostly follow the Drukpa Lineage of Kagyu Vajrayana.[2]

The Sharchops, descendants of the country's probable original inhabitants, live in the east. Reportedly, some Sharchops practice Buddhism combined with elements of Bon whereas others practice animism and Hinduism. Several Sharchops hold high positions in the government, the National Assembly, and the court system.[2]

The government supports both Kagyu and Nyingma Buddhist monasteries. The royal family practices a combination of Nyingma and Kagyu Buddhism and many citizens believe in the concept of "Kanyin-Zungdrel," meaning "Kagyupa and Ningmapa as one."[2]

Hinduism

Hindus, mainly in the South, practice Hinduism. The very first Hindu temple was constructed in Thimphu in 2012 by His Holiness The Je Khenpo, Chief Abbot of Bhutan, and Hindus practice their religion in small to medium-sized groups.[2] Hinduism is more common among the Nepalese ethnic group, although most ethnic Nepalese follow Buddhism as well.

Bön

Bön, the country's animist and shamanistic belief system, revolves around the worship of nature and predates Buddhism. Although Bön priests often officiate and include Bön rituals in Buddhist festivals, very few citizens adhere exclusively to this religious group.[2]

Christianity

Christians are present in small numbers, especially in the Nepalese ethnic group. According to a 2007 report there were no Christian Jesuit priests engaged in education and humanitarian activities.[2] Christianity was first brought to Bhutan in the late 17th century by Portuguese Jesuits, but the teachings failed to gain much traction among the devout Buddhists of the Bhutanese people. More recently (2014) Christian ministers are being arrested for spreading their religion.

Islam

According to adherents.com Muslims constitute over 5% of the population. However the CIA World Factbook claims that Muslims are less than 1% of the population in Bhutan. In 2009, the Pew Research Center estimated that 1% of the population, or 7,000 people, were Muslims.

Freedom and regulation of religion

The law provides for freedom of religion; the religious institutions and personalities have a duty "to promote the spiritual heritage of the country while also ensuring that religion remains separate from politics" and that religious institutions and personalities remain "above politics."[3] Reflecting the government's stated purpose of preserving individuals' religious and cultural values, the above prohibitive clauses in the Constitution have been interpreted to apply to proselytism and to prohibit religious personalities from voting, respectively.[4][5][6]

The Religious Organizations Act of 2007 aims to protect and preserve the spiritual heritage of Bhutan through providing for the registration and administration of religious organizations. To meet those goals, the Act creates the Chhoedey Lhentshog as the regulatory authority on religious organizations. This body regulates, monitors, and keeps records on all religious organizations in Bhutan, which are in turn required to register and maintain specified corporate formalities.[4]

Through 2007, there were no reports of violence associated with pressure to conform to Vajrayana beliefs. There were no reports of societal abuse or discrimination based on religious belief or practice.[2]

References

  1. ^ Bhutan: International Religious Freedom Report 2007. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g United States Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. Bhutan: International Religious Freedom Report 2007. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  3. ^ "The Constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan" (PDF).  
  4. ^ a b "Religious Organizations Act of Bhutan 2007" (PDF).  
  5. ^ "Pastor sentenced to 3 yrs in prison". Bhutan News Service online. Bhutan News Service. 2010-12-12. Retrieved 2011-01-25. 
  6. ^ "Chhoedey Lhentshog Lists Those Who Can Vote – Religious personalities above politics".  
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.