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Saturday, September 23, 2023

Story of Chimi – The Prostration Man From Bhutan

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What is Prostration in Bhutan

It is the way to feel the Inner Buddha in You

Travelling through Bhutan, you will be transported to a natural paradise.  However, one of the most impressive scenes you will come across in Bhutan is the devout pilgrims prostrating at the side of the road as they make their way to their pilgrimage destination.

Through this blog, SalamatRaho, an initiative by NomadLawyer, presents to you the story of Chimi from Bhutan.  He has proved that with hard work and deviation, moving from the path of darkness into the road of light, is possible. 

The story of struggle- Chimi

The story we are embarking upon now, is about this struggle of Chimi, and how he managed to change his Fate, Destiny and Karma by focussing on his “present’ and changing the course of his life from being a discarded, unwell, mentally unstable drug addict to a being called the’ Prostration Man’, a man who is revered and looked upon as one of Bhutan’s protector of Buddhist culture, identity, religious and spiritual practices and crusader for wellbeing of all beings. 

Chimi’s childhood wasn’t an easy one
A cold winter night, a dark little cave, a woman struggled to give birth to her baby boy, fighting against all odds, little Chimi was born on 1st Jan, 1970.  Then seven days of hardship, walking with their herds, till they reached a safe abode.
So little Chimi and his war with fate started from the time he took his first breadth.

Life with the Drugs and Alcohol

He was a simple clean hearted young teenager but soon got involved with wrong friends, drugs and liquor became his support. 

Also watch: https://youtu.be/bOT026SzAO4

In 1990, he got his first job in BBS (Bhutan broadcasting service) radio station and then kept skipping jobs as stability was a problem. Finally, he landed in Tourism and worked as a Guide specialised in birding and trekking. But his liquor addiction followed him everywhere.
He got married in 1997, yet he spent most of his life in bars and sedated with Marijuana. Doctors had given up hope. He was a lost case. A total loser. He was ashamed for not taking care of his family.

But as they say- “Hope, is being able to see that there is light, despite all of the darkness.”
Chimi was a born fighter. He didn’t give up. Family responsibilities kept knocking at his consciousness. 

The Turning Point in Chimi’s Life

One night, he had a dream. The dream completely changed his life. A white dress Dakini (sky dancer) holding a skull cup on her left hand appeared in his dream and said “Practice the Luminous Dharma” She vanished, leaving a solution.
All his authentic dharma teachers called Luminous Dharma as the only medicine, especially when all doctors gave up on him, modern and traditional, after treating him for two years. 

At 35 he looked like an 80 years old man.
He went deeper and deeper in the realms of understanding his Karma and what prophecy the Dakini had made for him and obvious changes could be seen by his well-wishers.

The dreams kept disturbing him. The calling was strong.
He, already 35 and not in good health; could hardly sit or stand up. And above all, was a married man with three children. He could not just renounce and become a monk like the great Siddhartha.
Great master suggested that look at the bigger picture, minor ailments will pass. That doesn’t mean that we should not seek medical care to cure certain illnesses but sometimes medicine is not the solution to cure everything. We should also investigate the root cause of our sickness.

This was the moment in his life when Chimi took the decision to follow the path of dharma and devote his life for his people.

His first teacher His Holiness the 7th Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche guided his practice which he started in 2004.

Within two months, he completed 1,11,000, in spite of poor health, bleeding and hurting, he didn’t give up. But he kept going for 18 to 20 hours a day. He slowly recovered from his illness. Soon, a huge feeling of achievement and gratitude set in and gave him encouragement to move forward.  

Chimi as a guide

After a few months of working as a guide, he made enough money for six months expenses for his family and his travel for further practice. He followed the guidance of his teachers and was committed to change his life path and serve humanity.

His teacher HH Rabjam Rinpoche and his brother Tenzin Drakpa took him to Dharamshala and had an audience with the great master Dalai Lama, and his teachings left a strong impact on Chimi. 

His personal life was going through a rough phase. He had to choose his path. His divorce with his wife went through in Thimpu. 

Seven years of struggle on the highways to cleanse himself from his past, from age 35 to 41, Chimi was ready to face the final challenge. The dream kept pushing him to take the prostration journey to heal himself and be an example of change for the world. Many masters and gurus who joined his initiatives and without their unconditional generosity, he could not have achieved what he did. 

The Start of the Prostration Journey: Chimi

He studied online and made plans with Google maps and started his journey doing physical prostration (stretching out with face on the ground in adoration or submission). It was an impossible task and humanly not possible for a man who had health, no mission and no will power just a few years back. But determination took over and he wanted to prove to all, where there is a will, there is a way.

So, he started his first prostration journey from Tsho Pema to Gasha Phakpa in HP and went on for 7 years covering all major holy places, throughout India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and covered 14,800 kilometres, doing prostrations. He carried his luggage with him on a trolley. Camped where he felt tired and spent the nights sleeping under a tree or made a makeshift tent to avoid the rains.

Chimi Says, “For me prostration is a perfect yoga. After a few years on the road prostrating, the art of prostration has become a mission in my life. Every being has a connection within, a desire to fight and desire to discover the depths of self. A journey like no other, helping my mind to find links between my own creative process to the spiritual world. Building Bridge between body, mind and speech. It Is like a fantasy in this 21st century.”

He wanted to receive blessings for himself, for such places have been blessed infinitely by great Buddha’s, Bodhisattvas and Saint’s. 

  A new birth of the ‘Prostration Man’:Chimi

After years on highways, he reached Srilanka and by then he had become famous. People started calling him the ‘Prostration man’. Reporters from magazines wrote about his journey, local TV and few took videos of his struggle.
Chimi says,” Prostration man is an unexpected brand name, earned by hard work… he needs no introduction anymore. Household name is Chimi, from Paro Jaba Tshedra Gompa.  A man who did a marathon like prostration cross country Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and India. “

But Chimi did not falter from his goal. He had to complete the route and get back to Bhutan alive and successful so that he could become an example for the others. 
It was the first time in Bhutanese history that someone was doing prostrations on the road.

The transformation and life after he returned home as the Prostration man.

He returned to Bhutan after 7 years, a changed man.
He says- ” Use your time and life opportunities very meaningfully. In between alphabet B for birth and D for death there is this very special alphabet called C for choice or choose to live wisely.”.
After returning from prostration journey, he decided to dedicate his life for the betterment of all beings and work towards upholding his traditions and culture. He had no family, no attachments or commitments. What could one call him?  A monk, a mystic, a sage? These terms are all over lapping. He says he is just a man, making good use of time now, so that I don’t have to worry about Samara or my next life. 

He spent years in isolation in Kurtey Singey Dzong, Gomdra, Jumolhari, Donkala and Paro Taktshang doing meditation and that’s when he saw monasteries and stupas in near collapse. Seeing the urgent need for reconstruction and refurbishment of Gomdrak, Jaba Tshedrak Gompa and Donkala chorten, he started doing restoring work and managed to transform all into a functioning retreat place cum monastery, to meet the needs and to serve as a spiritual focus for the people to accumulate merit and he handed over all to Zung Dratshang ‘government’. 

This was the start to his huge mission to bring back the glory of Bhutan and its heritage. He moved from one dilapidated stupa to another, restoring it and encouraging people to use them. This went a long way in building the religious enthusiasm amongst the locals. 

He spent years in these retreats across Bhutan, in silence.  He received tremendous appreciation and support from all the senior most teachers and gurus. 

Like King Ashoka built stupas to honour Gautam Buddha, Chimi restored them to honour his gurus.

Apart from his dedication to revive the heritage and culture of Bhutan, Chimi also attended to medical emergencies and mental health of his people. 

He has started writing about his experiences and hopes his words may inspire the future generation to lead a life on the right path.

Prostration man the mystic says

Use your time and life opportunities very meaningfully. Never wait for the right time, that may not happen, never waste time, time will never wait for us. Be wise. As we sow, so shall we reap.”
It is better to conquer myself than to win a thousand battles, if I can conquer myself, the victory is mine, it cannot be taken from me, not by any angels, or by any demons, heaven, or hell.”

“Before I was a tour guide and known as Guide Chimi, today I am known as the Prostration Man. I want to show people in reality that we can achieve anything, with strong faith, wheel power, inspiration, and motivation, no matter how tough the journey. We as a species have unlimited power in our body, speech and mind. We can make anything happen. We can live up to our dreams. We can achieve that, in a very short period of time, we can get all the wisdom to manifest who we want to be.”

Prostration man, again disappeared in the mountains to do his retreat playing hide and seek game, staying away from people and social media. 

What an inspirational story.  Today, the same man who was shunned, is revered and respected. The preservation and reconstruction work carried out in monasteries will now leave a legacy for the next generation to come. 

Also watch: https://youtu.be/HMJdEjLmxQI

Team NomadLawyer salutes Chimi, the prostration man- a true hero for Bhutanese and his life story is considered as a motivation for many. 

TELL US YOUR STORY AT:  [email protected]

What is SalamatRaho

Team NomadLawyer’s ambition is to positively impact the world through the stories of HumanKind. We believe in the art of storytelling. Through “Salamat Raho ”, we are creating a database for social good in the form of “Impact Stories”, which will help us achieve our goal and reach out to the world at large. By contributing through your stories and experience you create a significant impact on the community and an exceptional experience for yourself. Visit the NomadLawyer portal at nomadlawyer.org and you can also get in touch with us at [email protected] We will use hashtag #SalamatRaho for the series.

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