The Great Lama Drukpa Kunley, the “Divine Madman”, was a hardcore radical anti-institutional 15th century skeptic who hated the establishment, challenged all manner of authority without fear or hesitation, and unflinchingly forced the people of the land to question everything they knew about Buddhism, the monastic system, Enlightenment, the priesthood, religion, nature, and the government. Known as “the Madman of the Dragon Lineage,” Kunley is the Patron Saint of the nation of Bhutan, where to this day he is honored in murals, religious services, and artwork all throughout the tiny Himalayan kingdom.
Ok, well being a 15th century Tibetan George Carlin is cool and all, but what makes Kunley extra-hardcore notable today is that he was also known as “The Saint of 5,000 Women,” and was best known for bringing Enlightenment to the world with his “Flaming Thunderbolt of Wisdom” – which is, I shit you not, a reference to his boner, which ancient texts take great care to describe as “fucking humongous”. According to the mythology surrounding this Saintly Lama, when this guy wasn’t bringing Enlightenment to maidens once drunken orgy at a time, he was swinging his dick around like a baseball bat and using it to bludgeon evil spirits and demons unconscious in a scene that I imagine to resemble something like that hammer-wielding fight scene from Oldboy if it was produced by Vivid Entertainment. And he was so damn successful at it that to this day women pray to him for fertility, and the people of Bhutan call for his help by painting his Flaming Thunderbolt of Wisdom on their homes to ward off evil spirits.
That’s right, folks – this guy was so fucking awesome that he literally has other people drawing dicks on their homes in his name 600 years after his death.
In the interests of full disclosure here, I should mention that my main incentive for writing this article was because I really just wanted to pack this article full of amazing Bhutanese Dong Art, but I eventually had to decide that I’d have a tough time posting this update from my work computer if I have to keep running image searches for Bhutanese murals depicting six-foot-tall cock-and-balls shooting jizz all over the place. Also I don’t really want to fuck up any of your guys’ jobs either, just in case your boss decides to pop her head over your cubicle wall while you’ve got a screen full of wood-carved boners… even if it is technically considered “religious art” and not “hardcore pornography that might legitimately get you fired”.
Do yourself a favor though, and once you’re in a secure location try running a Google Image Search for “Drukpa Kunley Phallus,” Because it really is goddamn tremendous that this is something that exists in real life in a country on Earth in the 21st century.
Drukpa Kunley was born in Tibet in the year of the wood-pig in the Eighth Cycle, which, I’ll spare you the math, was 1455 AD. As a kid he was brilliant and wise, remembering all of his previous incarnations, and he was also fun-loving, outgoing, and super chill. The same can’t be said for his dad, I guess, because when Kunley was just a boy his dad was murdered with a shovel during a hardcore inter-family feud that makes the Hatfields and McCoys look like a company softball game. Kunley peaced out and became a Buddhist Monk, moving into a badass monastery somewhere in the fucking Himalayas.
Bhutan is so rad
Well, as tends to be the case with medieval clergy, Kunley was pretty upset that a lot of the monks he met were more interested in wealth, power, and personal gain than they were in actually spreading the Good Word. Drukpa Kunley became incredibly disillusioned with the hypocrisy he witnessed, and he hated that these dudes were saying “oh yeah totally give up all material possessions and desires if you want to achieve Enlightenment,” and then they’d go off and hoard money, sleep with women, and screw their buddies over so they could get promoted. Drukpa Kunley hated that these guys were going through the motions without even following their own advice, so he said fuck this and decided he’d do this shit himself.
Still in his early 20s, Drukpa Kunley left the monastery, grabbed a bow and arrows, and became a mendicant, wandering the Earth like Samuel L. Jackson from Pulp Fiction. Wearing normal everyday clothes, with a cool dog at his side and a bow in his hands, Kunley would never again have a permanent residence – even though he would be offered huge plots of land, titles of nobility, castles, wealth, and even his own monastery. Nowadays there’s a temple in Punakha that was dedicated in his name (it was built by his cousin), and to this day women make a pilgrimage there if they want help trying to get pregnant. They have a festival every year where people go and get blessed by a Buddhist monk, who says a prayer and then taps them on the head with a foot-long wooden carving of a dick. I am not making this up.
“Kunley never tires of girls,
Monks never tire of wealth,
Girls never tire of sex:
That is the teaching on the Three Indefatigable.”
- Drukpa Kunley, “Writings”
As one of the “Mad Ones,” a series of medieval Tibetan Buddhists who took very unorthodox approaches to their ministry, Drukpa Kunley purposely said fuck this to the established way of teaching, and decided he was going to spread the good word of Enlightenment in his own special way. Mostly he did this by walking into a town, heading to the town square, and declaring his catchphrase: I have come without prejudice to help you, where can I find the best booze and most beautiful women. People would be super pumped to see him, and he’d get hammered on Tibetan booze called chang, sing a bunch of dirty karaoke jams about dicks and orgasms, talk shit about the government and the priesthood, and then bone everyone with his crazy Tantric powers (and yeah, he was one of the original gangsters of Tantra, even before Sting). Basically he was N.W.A.
Now, if you’re as fucking confused about this as I was when I first started reading about this, let me try to explain. I’m somewhat out of my depth trying to discuss Buddhist religious philosophy, but I am under the impression that his entire life was basically satire aimed at “pointing out the fallacies of conventional reality”. Basically, he was saying to let go of your pretention, stop pretending you’re someone you aren’t, and just give in to your basic human nature without being embarrassed or inhibited, because spiritual happiness only comes when you let go of earthly conventions. Or something. Like I said, I don’t really understand a ton of it, but it appears that he was an incredible thinker, speaker, and debater, with an iron-clad grasp on the teaching of Tibetan Buddhism, and any time someone would fuck with him he’d destroy them with some brain-meltingly badass argument that was like if you don’t understand why I do this then it’s YOU who are unenlightened, fool. Then everyone would oh snap and he’d bang a half-dozen nuns he just met five minutes ago and still have enough energy to thump an evil spirit unconscious by swinging his nuts like a medieval flail. Kunley could also apparently freestyle his ass off, and would do mock songs trashing any self-righteous religious jerk he met, but he was so good at it that in most of the stories the dude he’s ragging on just tips his hat, throws up his hands and is like yeah you got me bro.
One time an uptight monk asked Kunley:
“What crime did you commit that hell wasn’t deep enough for you?”
Kunley responded with something like:
“Yeah, I was headed that way, but the road to hell was so clogged
with phony priests that I had to turn back”
If it’s not random and awesome enough that this guy was sainted for drinking and humping and is depicted in murals beating the shit out of demons with his dick, I also love the fact that during his journeys through Tibet and Bhutan Drukpa Kunley met – and ruthlessly made fun of – basically every other important Buddhist Saint that was alive at the same time as him. One story claims he met the dude in charge of the Gelug School (the one the Dalai Lama runs today), and that guy gave Kunley a blessing cord to show support for what Kunley was doing. Kunley tied it to his dick and went around the marketplace showing everyone how “Enlightened” he was. Another time some pilgrim came to have him bless a banner (after walking hundreds of miles through the dang Himalayas to find Kunley), and instead of blessing it Drukpa Kunley took a leak on it to show the guy that yeah, this really isn’t how religion works, dude. Another time he saw some monk preaching in a marketplace, so Kunley jumped up onto a guy’s fruit stand and started singing a song about how full of shit that other monk was, because Kunley had totally busted that guy checking out a hot girl who was walking through the crowd.
“It would seem from your legs and muscular thighs that your
pelvic thrust is particularly efficient, let’s see how you perform?”
- Drukpa Kunley, to a Buddhist nun he just met two seconds earlier
There are plenty of magical and mystical feats attributed to Drukpa Kunley that only enhance his standing in the Pantheon of Dong Saints. Sure, most of these stories come to us orally through generations of Bhutanese scholars (btw dude, how any author can use a phrase like “the oral renderings of Drukpa Kunley’s exploits” with a straight face is beyond me), but they’re so amazing that I need to share them even though they can’t really be substantiated by any of the world’s greatest penis scholars. Most of his work was based on exorcising evil spirits, blessing good families, and placing curses on evil families (I love that so much!), but he could also teleport anywhere in the world instantaneously and bring farm animals back from the dead. One time he decapitated a herd of livestock (With his dick? The source isn’t clear.), cut them up, served the meat to a village, then magically turned the bones back into living animals. Another time he took a small handful of tea leaves and mighty morphed them into a fucking keg of booze so that everyone in town could get ripshit drunk.
Kunley also does battle with a big number of demons, usually by scaring the hell out of them by waving his dong around like Michelangelo’s nunchucks from the Ninja Turtles. I don’t have a ton of specific details on actual events where he needed to dick-slap evil with his Flaming Thunderbolt of Wisdom, but if you clicked that link to the Dong Art at the top of the page you’ll see plenty of images of this guy two-handing his junk like William Wallace charging the English Army with a Claymore.
Kunley meets a demon
And that, in a nutshell, is what makes Drukpa Kunley such a fucking over-the-top amazing and unique and badass figure in world history. The people of Bhutan are, generally speaking, a pretty reserved culture. They have fun, but they don’t typically show a lot of public displays of affection, and they take great care in their appearances. There is a national dress code and official way of conducting yourself in person, called the Rules for Disciplined Behavior, that lays out very specific rules for how a citizen should look, act, and behave.
Yet, thanks to Drukpa Kunley’s bizarre religious mission 600 years ago, many Bhutanese still paint gigantic winged dicks on the sides of their homes, calling for the Patron Saint of Cockslapping Demons to protect them from evil.
I'm not really sure what could be more badass than that.
Sorry sorry I couldn’t help it
The Flaming Thunderbolt of Wisdom
Divine Bhutan and the Well-hung Lama
The Divine Madman
Aris, Michael. Hidden Treasures and Secret Lives. New York: Routledge, 1989.
Bisht, Ramesh Chandra. International Encyclopedia of Himalayas, Vol. 2. New Delhi: Mittal Publications, 2008.
DiValerio, David M. The Holy Madmen of Tibet. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.
Feuerstein, Georg. The Deeper Dimension of Yoga. Boston: Shambhala, 2003.
Jestice, Phyllis G. Holy People of the World, Vol. 1. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2004.
Phuntsho, Karma. The History of Bhutan. London: Random House, 2013.