Buddhism has a powerful influence in all forms of life in Bhutan. Buddhist ethos has molded the thinking, cultural values and traditional beliefs of Bhutanese society. Buddhism believes in interdependency and compassion. Two sects of vajrayan Buddhism – Drukpa Kagyud and Nyingma – are practiced in Bhutan.
Guru Padmasambhava, also popularly known as Guru Rinpoche, “the precious master”, first introduced Buddhism in the8th century A.D. Until then, bonism was in vogue. Guru’s teachings laid the foundation for Buddhism to flourish and also gave birth to Bhutan’s unique culture and tradition. Subsequent to Guru Rinpoche’s visit, numerous Buddhist masters from Tibet visited and settled in Bhutan, further spreading and strengthening the legacy of Buddhism that prevails even to this day.
Bhutan’s landscape is dotted with numerous Buddhist temples, stupas, and monasteries, built centuries ago. Bhutanese are generally a spiritual people and old and young would be seen circumambulating chotens (stupas) and offering butter lamps. Spirituality has been a cornerstone of Bhutanese society.