The Ubiquity of Phallus in Bhutan

A small village two hour drive away from Thimphu is particularly known for its paintings of penis on the wall of their houses.  The contrast of a conservative society where showing affection in public is almost a taboo, painting flamboyant erect penis on the wall of the every house in the community never fails to stun westerners.

According to history, a Buddhist saint traveled to Bhutan from Tibet in the 15th century. This saint did not fit the description of a stereotypical Buddhist master and he indulged in alcohol, music and women. His unorthodox way of preaching Buddhism and offering blessing in the form of sex are legendary. He is popularly known as the Divine Madman. He is said to have subdued a carnivore demon harming the people in the locality using his organ referred to as the “magic thunderbolt of wisdom”.  It is also believed that during his extensive travel across the country, he advocated painting phallus on the wall of the houses to drive away evil spirits and raise harmony among the family member.  While the cult’s popularity soared across the country, its center is traced back to this village, where a temple was built subsequently to honor the saint. The temple has the original symbol of phallus that the saint had brought from Tibet.

Known as the temple of fertility, childless couples make pilgrimages to the fertility temple where a Buddhist monk blesses them with a wooden phallus.  As per Buddhist astrology, when a couple is not compatible, conceiving a child is not possible and prayers and blessings have the power to increase compatibility between couples. Many tourist women from across the globe visit this temple in hopes of conceiving.

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