Phallus paintings in Bhutan are esoteric symbols, which have their origins in the Chimi Lhakhang monastery near Punakha, the former capital of Bhutan. The village monastery was built in honour of Lama Drukpa Kunley who lived in the 15-16th century and who was popularly known as the "Mad Saint" or “Divine Madman” for his unorthodox ways of teaching, which amounted to being bizarre and shocking. These explicit paintings, though embarrassing to many urbanites now (this folk culture is now informally discouraged in urban centres), can be seen painted on the walls of houses and buildings throughout Bhutan, particularly in villages, and are credited as Kunley's creations. Traditionally symbols of an erect penis in Bhutan have been intended to drive away the evil eye and malicious gossip.
While the history of use of phallus symbols is traced to Drukpa Kunley, the studies carried out at the Center of Bhutan Studies (CBS) have inferred that the phallus was an integral part of Bön tradition (an unorthodox form of religion), an animistic and shamanistic religion, which existed in Bhutan before Buddhism became the state religion. In Bonism, phallus was integral to all Bon rituals. Dasho Lam Sanga, a former principal of the Institute of Language and Culture Studies (ILCS), while stating that there are no written documents on it, elaborates: “But the worship of the phallus was believed to be in practice even before the arrival of Guru Rimpoche and Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal ... What we know about it is what we heard from our forefathers.