I sometimes fantasize that some apocalyptic event will wipe out most of the world (except for me and the people I love, of course) and force us all to go back to a simpler way of life without mass production of goods and criminals. People would take care of each other, they would take pride in their work, and there would be time for leisure and culture. I usually tell myself that this is a hippie pipe dream, but Bhutan sounds an awful lot like my fantasy.
Television was introduced to Bhutan in 1999, which one would think might be the first step to unraveling Bhutanese culture, but so far it seems to be holding up remarkably well. The king of Bhutan is moving toward an elected democratic government – if television didn’t kill Bhutanese culture, democracy just might.
“Bhutan – Taking the Middle Path to Happiness” was made by a Maui filmmaker. Let’s hope it doesn’t ruin Bhutan.
“Bhutan – Taking the Middle Path to Happiness” is a feature documentary film featuring the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan and the Government’s effort to bring “Gross National Happiness” to its people.
Imagine a country where happiness is the guiding principal of government. Imagine a people who see all life as sacred and the source of their happiness, a place with an abundance of clean and renewable energy, a nation committed to preserving its culture. Imagine a Kingdom where the King lives in a simple wooden cottage and judges his progress by the country’s “Gross National Happiness.” Where is this Shangri-La?
Bhutan. But can a place like Bhutan really exist? Can such ideals be realized? Can this small, geographically isolated country tucked away in the Himalayans truly protect its environment and culture as they open their doors to the West?”
The concept of taking “the middle road” is one rooted in the Bhutanese view of the world, anchored in Tantric Buddhism and animistic Bon. Buddha shared a simple message: happiness lies in the middle path. Neither overindulging in the world’s pleasures nor rejecting the world’s goodness can lead to enlightenment. Happiness can only be found by taking the middle path – the path that balances the needs with the powerful spirits of nature.