I bought my first two Bhutanese books yesterday. Last week, my friend Sonam showed me a nice bookstore called “The Junction”. After finishing the sombre and absurd (but very good if you are interested in the subject) “The Emperor” by Ryszard Kapuściński, on the life and times of Haile Selassie, the emperor of Ethiopia, it was time for a mood change!
The first book I picked up is a light hearted and immensely enjoyable collection of Bhutanese folk stories (transcribed from the oral tradition) called Folktales of Bhutan by Kunzang Choden. The second book is about a fascinating and unconventional 16th century mystic, Drukpa Kunley, called The Divine Madman translated by Keith Dowman.
The shocking methods Drukpa Kunley used to enlighten and engage people were unconventional (to say the least). His sexual exploits are legendary and he is the inspiration behind the explicit (and traditional) phallus paintings on the walls of Bhutanese houses. Stay tuned for stories about this character!
The last couple of weeks, I have been obsessed with Bjork’s recent album, especially “Virus” and “Cosmogony” and AMOK by Atoms for Peace.