In a groundbreaking move towards ensuring the well-being of the monastic community in Bhutan, His Holiness the Je Khenpo has launched a Pension scheme with an initial fund of Nu 10 million. This initiative, which aims to provide comprehensive social protection to monks and nuns, marks a significant milestone in the history of Bhutan’s monastic institutions. The introduction of a Pension scheme for these spiritual guardians is not only a boon for retirees but also a strong step towards the sustainability of monastic institutions.
Bhutan, often referred to as the Land of the Thunder Dragon, is known for its deeply rooted spiritual culture, with Buddhism playing a central role in the lives of its people. The monastic community, comprising monks and nuns, has long been the custodian of Bhutan’s spiritual heritage. They dedicate their lives to meditation, study, and service, contributing to the nation’s unique identity and well-being.
The newly launched Pension scheme is a testament to Bhutan’s commitment to caring for its spiritual guides. Monks and nuns who have devoted their lives to spiritual practice will now have the security of a pension plan, ensuring financial support during their retirement years. This endeavor is not just an economic measure but also a reaffirmation of the nation’s respect and gratitude towards its spiritual leaders.
Under this scheme, monks will be entitled to a monthly social security deposit of Nu. 7,360 once they reach the age of 65, provided they have a minimum of 10 years of service in their respective monastic institutions. Presently, out of the more than 7,000 registered monks and nuns across the country, 323 meet the eligibility criteria for the pension scheme. This financial security will enable them to lead dignified lives during their golden years.
The introduction of the Pension scheme couldn’t have come at a better time. With 46 percent of monks and nuns in monastic schools aged between 4 and 24 years, this social security system will significantly contribute to reducing vulnerabilities within this community. It will safeguard not only the elderly monks and nuns but also the children and adolescents in monastic institutions from economic hardships and social exclusion.
This initiative is a testament to the progressive outlook of Bhutan’s leadership and its commitment to the welfare of its people, regardless of their religious or spiritual path. It sets an example for the world by recognizing the invaluable contribution of monks and nuns to the nation’s spiritual and cultural heritage.
Furthermore, the Pension scheme aligns with Bhutan’s overarching philosophy of Gross National Happiness (GNH), which emphasizes the holistic well-being of its citizens. By ensuring that the spiritual guides who guide the nation on the path of righteousness are cared for in their old age, Bhutan is reaffirming its commitment to GNH in the truest sense.
The introduction of the Pension scheme for monks and nuns by His Holiness the Je Khenpo marks a historic milestone for Bhutan. It resonates with the nation’s dedication to preserving its distinctive cultural and spiritual heritage, while embodying the principles of compassion, inclusivity, and social welfare. As we stand witness to this transformative step, let us collectively pledge our support to ensure the seamless implementation of this scheme, thereby contributing to the happiness and well-being of all Bhutanese, regardless of the sacred path they have chosen in life.