Lama Drukpa Kunley is one of the strangest religious and historical characters in the exotic land of Bhutan. One of the great religious teachers and holy men, Drukpa Kunley, is known all over Bhutan as ‘The Divine Madman’. Eccentric and only one of his kinds, Drukpa Kunley was born in Tibet in 1455. There are many legends associated to him that talk of various miracles and his outlandish behavior. He is believed to have been an extremely precocious child who could remember all of his previous incarnations vividly. He became disillusioned with the world when his father was killed in a family feud and renounced it forever, turning to a religious life and becoming a monk. However, it seems he did not find peace in monkshood and gave up his robes in his early twenties.
He lived as a mendicant, practiced spiritual arts and magic and wandered all over the country. He crossed the borders to enter Bhutan and purposefully lived in an unorthodox way and despised accepted ways of behavior to expose the hypocrisy of the world; the selfish motives behind them and greed that lead people to follow them. His approach to motivate people to be honest and live a spiritual life was weird to say the least. He himself led a lewd lifestyle that would have been considered very immoral, according to our standards. This great lama used to sing, drink with young ladies and have sex with virgins. His legends mostly portray him as drinking ‘chang’ (a sort of Tibetan beer), making love to a maiden or striking sown evil entities and demons with his ‘Flaming Thunderbolt of Wisdom’.
Bhutan’s Divine Madman believed in divine excess and used to mock and ridicule the establishments and priests that led dual lives. Some of his feats and miracles included blessing or damning families, according to their moral treatment of others; turn tiny quantities of tea into superfluous amounts that would be sufficient for thousands of people; slaughtering animals for their meat and then restoring them to life from their bones; exorcising evil spirits; reforming demons and being able to travel on a spiritual plane with the ability to travel thousands of miles almost instantaneously. It is a miracle in itself that Bhutanese, who are very conservative and never show affection in public, adore this holy man and paint ‘flying phalluses’ on the exteriors of their homes to represent him. It is believed that this will protect the house from evil spirits and promote fertility. Drukpa Kunley also founded a monastery near the town of Punakha, dedicated to fertility. Hundreds of people from all over Bhutan visit this monastery to pray for children and in the temple; a monk holding a symbolic phallus blesses them.