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    Religion in Bhutan

    Majority of the Bhutanese are Buddhists, and Buddhism is the state religion. Bhutan is today known as the last stronghold of Tantric Vajrayana form of Mahayana Buddhism. However, the Nepalese in the south are Hindus. There are a few Christians as well.

    The Bhutanese way of life revolves around the tenets of Buddhism. That is why the two major sects of Buddhism ­ Drukpa Kayugpa and Ningmapa are state-sponsored.

    Making the country a secular state, the Constitution grants freedom to people to choose their faith. However, the supreme law prohibits proselytizing.

    In Bhutan religion is considered above politics, and religious figures including ordinary monks do not participate in elections. They do not vote and are not allowed to field themselves as political candidates, and religious personalities are restricted from having any political association.

    However, there have been debates among some quarters of Bhutanese intelligentsia on whether the religious community should be kept immune to the impacts of political decisions. A few vocal monks have said they must be allowed to vote at least.

    Several monastic institutions are spread all over the country. Most are funded by the state and some function with monetary and in-kind contributions made by their benefactors and the people.

    The centers of the 20 districts (symbolized by the dzong or fortress) house both district administrative machinery and state monastic institution. This symbolizes a peaceful coexistence of ecclesiastical and the secular, a dual system of governance introduced by the founder of the country in the 17th century.