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Community rituals in Bhutan

September 6, 2012 - 16:15-18:00

Research Seminar in Tibetan and Himalayan Studies

Guest lecture by Dr. Françoise Pommaret
Bhutan has an amazing array of festivals, with a wide range of features, performers and beliefs.
Rituals performed for the community well-being can be found in most villages of Bhutan.
Attached to a local identity marker, they present a certain number of parameters which give
them cohesion in spite of their apparent polymorphism. They contain strong non- or pre-
Buddhist features called Bon chos in Bhutan and almost always include a phallic or “obscene”
element. However some of these features have also often been included in festivals which are
considered Buddhist, hence an interesting syncretism between different sets of beliefs which
have cohabited in a harmonious way till now. These festivals, which have survived because of
the relative isolation of Bhutan, are in danger of disappearing due to the influence of
“mainstream Buddhism” and rural-urban migration. The presentation will be accompanied by a
documentary (26 minutes) about one of these festivals, the Tsangkha lha bon (lha ‘bod) in
Central Bhutan near Trongsa.
Dr. Françoise Pommaret is Director of research at CNRS Paris and Research Advisor at ILCS,
Royal University of Bhutan.
Venue: seminar room 7, P.A. Munch, Blindern, Oslo University
Community rituals in Bhutan


September 6, 2012