Bhutan is predominantly a Buddhist kingdom. This is reflected in the thousands of monasteries, temples, stupas and prayer flags that mark the country’s rugged and beautiful mountainous terrain.
More than 70 percent of Bhutanese follow either the Drukpa Kagyu lineage or the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism.
The country’s monk population of around 8,000 is higher than the country’s standing army.
The Lhotshampa communities, who inhabit the southern foothills bordering India, follow Hinduism. Christians are present in small numbers and generally among the Lhotsham population.
The southern regions have numerous Hindu temples and a Patshala catering to the study of Sanskrit. The construction of the first Hindu temple in the capital, Thimphu, began toward the end of 2012 funded by the government.
According to the Constitution, Drukpa Kagyu is the state religion of Bhutan and Buddhism is the country’s spiritual heritage. Religious institutions and personalities bear the responsibility of promoting the country’s Buddhist heritage.
Religion and politics are separate according to the Constitution and religious personalities and people registered with religious institutions do not have a right to vote. This is to ensure that religion is above politics.
The constitution guarantees religious freedom and Bhutanese citizens can follow any faith they want proselytization is not permitted.
Bhutan has a religious organisations Act (2007), which aims to protect the country’s spiritual heritage. All religious organisations are required to register with the regulatory authority created by the Act. The authority has the responsibility of managing and regulating religious organisations expect the central monastic body.
In managing the religious organisations, the authority must do so to promote the values of peace, non -violence, tolerance and compassion. Religious organisations are required to be transparent and respect indigenous customs, identity, culture and values.