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On the Two Ways of Learning in Bhutan

Keywords: Bhutan , Ways of learning in Bhutan

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Bhutanese folklore has it that the bat would show its teeth to the birds to evade the bird tax, and show its wings to the beasts to evade the beast tax. But come winter, when the food supplies are distributed, the bat would show its wings to the birds and teeth to the beasts to claim its share from both, although often it is rejected and ostracized by both parties. This paper is an outcome of my role as a bat-like scholar involved in both traditional and modern systems of learning and scholarship, with some of the academic teeth of the modernist beasts as well as the spiritual wings of the traditionist birds, and at times, like the bat, being disowned and despised by both, by the traditionists as an unfaithful, agnostic cynic, and by the moderns as a narrow-minded,sutra-thumping fanatic. This double role, however, to my advantage,has given me the opportunity to study my own religion and culturefrom the various perspectives using different tools, and revealed to me the privileged position in which one can blend the varying approaches and methods of the modernists and traditionists. It is from the vantage point of such position that I shall present a case study of the encounter of the two systems of education – traditional and modern – in the Kingdom of Bhutan.


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