Bhutan's treasured wall paintings
January 6th, 2011
10:44 AM ET

Bhutan offers rare glimpse inside historic temples

The isolated kingdom of Bhutan has opened its doors to a team of art experts in order to preserve its Buddhist history.

Working for the first time in collaboration with Bhutan's Department of Culture, conservators from The Courtauld Institute of Art in England have spent the last three years documenting some of the reclusive kingdom's most precious wall paintings.

According to Lisa Shekede, leader of the project, the wall paintings date from around the 17th century and are some of the best surviving works in the region.

The team visited over 200 temples - sometimes trekking for an entire day to reach remote monasteries - and documented around 50 paintings in detail.

Read the full story about the rare temples here.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Asia • Belief • Buddhism

soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Angela Moore

    General wonder at it's survival , through all the conflicts and etc- is amazing. Free thinking – unbound. Anything that constrains your thought processes to conform to its ideology – is not fee thinking. So, fail Catholic Mom. I look at religion in a archeological /historical sense- modes in civilizations, development – moral and ethical advancement. We have certainly advanced beyond the morals or ethics of past religions – most definitely Judaic ones. I don't know anyone who condones today what God condoned in ancient times. Repulsive.

    As for Buddhism- it's not what the hippies wearing sarongs and smelly old flip flops, say it is ... As the article points out , it can be dogmatic.

    Humans are elf serving – no matter whether they be religious , or not.

    January 9, 2011 at 8:58 am |
  2. Water to whine

    These photos are cool. Bhutan is a very expensive place to travel because of daily fees charged by the Bhutan gov't for tourism. Seeing what it is like there is not a common thing. That fortress is breath taking.

    January 8, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  3. HotAirAce

    Buddhism seems rather benign, as in "not dangerous," compared to the the many forms of christianity and islam. All the same, I wouldn't want my children to be a member of this, or any other, cult.

    January 6, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
    • bhutanman

      ...so then which is your cult of choice?

      January 6, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      None! I do not believe there are any gods or any supernatural beings, not even just one.

      January 7, 2011 at 12:17 am |
    • bhutanman

      good to hear. but take it from me, buddhism is the only `religion` that allows free thinking. of course there are many versions of it, but you can choose to think freely or dogmatically. if you`re thinking freely you can`t be a part of a cult then.

      January 7, 2011 at 4:48 am |
    • CatholicMom

      I freely think of Truth exactly as the religion of Catholicism portrays it!

      January 7, 2011 at 8:57 am |
    • TheRationale

      Is that some joke? Catholics insist that their way is the only true religion. They recite that in the Nicene Creed at every mass. The Catholic Church epitomizes close-mindedness.

      January 7, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
  4. Reality

    Buddhism- "Buddhism began in India about 500 years before the birth of Christ. The people living at that time had become disillusioned with certain beliefs of Hinduism including the caste system, which had grown extremely complex. The number of outcasts (those who did not belong to any particular caste) was continuing to grow."
    "However, in Buddhism, like so many other religions, fanciful stories arose concerning events in the life of the founder, Siddhartha Gautama (fifth century B.C.):"

    Archaeological discoveries have proved, beyond a doubt, his historical character, but apart from the legends we know very little about the circu-mstances of his life. e.g. Buddha by one legend was supposedly talking when he came out of his mother's womb.

    "It is true that many exponents of Buddhism, most notably the Dalai Lama, have been remarkably willing to enrich (and even constrain) their view of the world through dialogue with modern science. But the fact that the Dalai Lama regularly meets with Western scientists to discuss the nature of the mind does not mean that Buddhism, or Tibetan Buddhism, or even the Dalai Lama’s own lineage, is uncontaminated by religious dogmatism.

    Indeed, there are ideas within Buddhism that are so incredible as to render the dogma of the vir-gin birth plausible by comparison. No one is served by a mode of discourse that treats such pre-literate notions as integral to our evolving dis-course about the nature of the human mind. Among Western Buddhists, there are college-educated men and women who apparently believe that Guru Rinpoche was actually born from a lotus. This is not the spiritual breakthrough that civilization has been waiting for these many centuries."- Sam Harris

    January 6, 2011 at 11:20 am |
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.