His Holiness The 13th Dalai Lama and Bhutan House in Kalimpong, AKC Wangchuck

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Content: RESEARCH NOTE HIS HOLINESS THE 13TH DALAI LAMA AND BHUTAN HOUSE IN KALIMPONG Her Majesty The Queen Mother of Bhutan, Ashi Kesang Choden Wangchuck His Holiness the Great 13th Dalai Lama Ngawang Lobzang Thubten Gyamtso stayed in the newly built Bhutan House in Kalimpong for three months in 1912 as the guest of my grandfather Raja Ugyen Dorji1 and his sister Ayi Thubten Wongmo.2 His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama was most kind loving and generous to my grandfather and my grand-aunt, and before he returned to Tibet from Bhutan House, he gave them his beautiful great gilded carved wooden alter and two smaller gilded carved wooden alters filled with the most precious and sacred gilded statues, each of which he placed on his head and prayed deeply over them before placing them on the alter himself. His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama also left many other treasures, religious brocade robes and many personal robes to my grandfather and grand-aunt. From Lhasa, His Holiness send to them a large exquisite gilded bronze statue of himself to keep on his throne in the temple (lhakhang) in Bhutan House where he stayed. His Holiness named the temple Dechen Gatsal, 'The Happy Garden of Great Bliss'. His Holiness named the newly built Bhutan House Mingyur Ngonpar Gawai Phodrang, 'he Palace of Unchanging Supreme Joy'. 1
Journal of Bhutan Studies My grand-aunt gave some silver to Hi s Holiness and asked him to have a silver statue of the Thousand-armed and Thousand-eyed Avalokiteshvara (Chenrezi Chatong Chentong) made for her in Lhasa. His Holiness had a beautiful silver Chenrezi made for my grand-aunt which is the main central image on the alter in the temple in Bhutan House. After Raja Ugyen Dorji passed away on 22nd June 1916 my grand-aunt Ayi Thubten Wangmo who was herself ailing at the time, visited Lhasa in the year of the Fire Snake (1918), and had audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. She performed rites for Raja Ugyen Dorji in Lhasa, making tens of thousands of offerings in all the temples at the Potala and in Lhasa, and made large offerings, served tea and donated cash to the monks of the three large seats of learning (Sera, Drepung and Ganden) as well as to all other monasteries of various sects for the welfare of the state and the spread of the Dharma. At that time His Holiness the Great 13th Dalai Lama bestowed great loving, kindness and high honour upon my grand-aunt Ayi Thubten Wangmo, allowing her to be carried in her dandy3 right up to the door of His Holiness's Kalzang Phodrang Palace in Norbu Lingka in Lhasa. His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama gave to our family a decree (kashog) written on yellow silk and sealed with His Holiness's great seal. In the kashog His Holiness expresses his gratitude to my grandfather and grand-aunt for their help and hospitality to His Holiness and his entrourage during the time His Holiness was residing in Darjeeling (1910-1912), and for working for the state and well-being of Tibet and her people. 2
H.H the 13th Dalai Lama and Bhutan House in Kalimpong Thereafter, on His Holiness's way back to Tibet, gratitude is also expressed for inviting His Holiness to their home, and extending excellent hospitality for several months in the newly built Mingyur Ngonpar Gawai Phodrang Palace, `The Palace of Unchanging Supreme Joy' at Kalimpong. His Holiness expressed thanks to them for their matchless virtuous deeds. His Holiness writes in the kashog that in future Sonam Tobgye, son of Raja Ugyen Dorji will be the next zimpon4 of Bhutan in succession to his father. His Holiness awarded Zimpon Sonam Tobgye honouring status of nobility and appointed him 4th rank officer (Deputy Minister), and along with presents of promotion, Sonam Tobgye received the title or citation 'eminent and wise' and the square seal with red stamp. 5 His Holiness ends the kashog with his prayers and blessings for those who honour this order at present and in the future. His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama's kashog was issued in the later part of the 12th month of the Fire Snake Year (1918) from the Kalzang Phodrang Palace at the court of the Secular and Religious Seat at Norbulingka where the Dharma victory banner of both teachings and pratices of the Three Disciplines is flying high to uphold the Doctrine. A translation of the kashog is presented in Appendix I, and a transliteration of the same by Prof. Per K. Sшrensen in Appendix II. Notes 1 Ugyen Dorji received the title of raja around 1910. 2 Ayi, lit., `mother', is a honorific term for a lady. 3 Dandy, a chair attached to one or two staffs, and carried by four or more men. 4 Zimpon, Lord Chamberlain. 3
Journal of Bhutan Studies 5 The original reads ching sbi lig zhes pa'I cho lo, i.e. the title or citation (cho lo> Mongolian иola) and ching sbi lig (> Mongolian иing bilig), meaning 'eminent and wise' (Prof. Per K. S rensen, personal communication). Appendix I Translation of the kashog presented by His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama to Raja Ugyen Dorji and his sister Ayi Thubten Wangmo: [Title] The decree of the one called Ocean Lama [i.e. Dalai Lama], the immutable Vajradhara [Thunderbolt-Holder], the Allknowing One, the sovereign Ruler of the entire [realm of] the Teaching of Buddha, covering all times and places, the Lord of the three worlds, the Sovereign [i.e. Jinendra] reigning [upon the] injunction of the Buddha stemming from the Noble Country [i.e. India]. [Text] "This decree is dispatched to all people who enjoy the blazing light of the sun with their head facing towards the sky and in particular, all high and low ranking chiefs, including headmen, elders and general public of the provices of U and Tsang [Central Tibet] under the administration of the great Government (of Tibet) and also the people of Bhutan [lHo 'Brug]. Raja Ugen Dorji, Zimpon, [residing at] Bhutan House ['brug nang] [in] Kalimpong [ka sbug] and his sister Ayi Thubten Wangmo extended their help and hospitality to me [the 13th Dalai Lama] and my entourage while we were residing in Darjeeling, working for the state and well-being of Tibet and her people. Thereafter, on our way back to Tibet, they had again invited us and extended excellent hospitality as earlier for several months in the new built palace Mingyur Ngonpar 4
H.H the 13th Dalai Lama and Bhutan House in Kalimpong Gawai Phodrang ['Palace of Unchangeable Perfect Joy'] at Kalimpong for which I express my thanks to them for their matchless virtuous deeds. Before her passing away, Ayi Thubten Wangmo arrived here in Lhasa in the Fire Snake Year [1918] and called on me. She made offerings surpassing myriads in number in all the temples at the Potala and in Lhasa. They also made large offerings, served tea and donated cash to the monks of the three large seats of learning ­ Sera, Drepung and Ganden ­ as well as to all other monasteries of various sects for several times for the welfare of the state and spread of the Doctrine for which there is no reason for anyone to be jealous and competition in the same. In the future, Sonam Tobgye, son of Raja Ugen Dorji, will be the next Zimpon of Bhutan in succession of his father. I hereby award Zimpon Sonam Tobgye honourary status of nobility and appoint him 4th rank officer of the Government (Deputy Minister) along with the citation 'eminent and wise' and the square seal with red stamp. All the above mentioned people should honour this and extend all services without any question. My prayers and blessings for those who honour this order at present and in future. Issued on later part of the 12th month of the Fire Snake Year [1918] from the Kalzang Phodrang Palace at the court of secular and religious seat at Norbulingka where the victorious banner of Dharma, both teachings and practices of the Three Disciplines is flying high to uphold the Doctrine." 5
Journal of Bhutan Studies Appendix II Transliteration of the decree By Prof. Per K. Sшrensen [Title] 'Phags pa'i yul nas sangs rgyas kyi bka' lung rgyal dbang 'jig rten gsum mgon dus kun sa steng gi kun khyab rgyal bstan yongs la mnga' dbang bsgyur pa thams cad mkhyen pa 'gyur med rdo rje 'chang rgya mtsho'i bla mar 'bod pa'i gtam [Seal of 13th Dalai Lama] [Text of decree:] rab 'bar nyin mo'i snang bar longs su spyod pa'i skye rgu spyi bo gnam bstan yod do chog dang bye brag dbus gtsang / lho 'brug gi sa'i char 'khod pa'i gnam bskos gzhung sa chen po'i mnga' zhabs su gtogs pa'i rdzong gzhis sne mo ba / spyir btang dmigs bsal gyi dpon 'go che chung / rgan bcu dmangs sogs drag zhan mtha' dag la springs pa / ka sbug 'brug nang gzim ra dza ogyan rdo rje dang / spun a yi thub bstan dbang mo de nyid nas ngos ston 'khor 'phags yul du ljongs bstan 'gro'i bde thabs khra tshugs 'du 'god bgyid sgor rdor gling du bskyod sdod ring dang / de rjes ka sbug tu mi 'gyur mngon par dga' ba'i pho brang gsar bskrun dang 'brel ba'i lta bskyod tshur lam zla shas gdan 'dren bkur bsti zhabs tog sogs bsod nams rnam par dkar ba gsum gyi lhag bsam dad 'dun che ba zhus rjes che zhing / da lam me sbrul lo a yi thub bstan dbang mo'ang 'das khar lha 'byor thog 'di ga'i mjal phyag dang 'brel lha ldan rtse shod rten khag la mchod sprin khri ra 6
H.H the 13th Dalai Lama and Bhutan House in Kalimpong brgal ba dang / gdan sa chen po gsum gyis mtshon ris med 'dus sde mchis so cog la bsnyen bkur mang 'gyed yang yang snga phyir du zab rgyas bstar ba bcas gang sa nas bstan pa chab srid kyi lar rgyar dad 'dun lhag bsam snying zhen brtsi su che bar bzos sgo mi dman pa dgos nges ma zad / gzhan 'gran yong don med cing / slad kyang pha shul bu 'dzin slad la 'tsho skyong gang ci 'brug nang gzim bu 'di nyid kyi skabs su babs par brten 'brug nang gzim ka sbug ra dza ogyan rdo rje de nyid kyi bu 'brug nang gzim bsod nams stobs rgyal 'di par gzhung zhabs mi drag rim bzhi spyi 'gro'i go gnas dang / gdan thob gsol ras thog ching sbi lig zhes pa'i cho lo dang / tham ka gru skor / rtags dam dmar po bcas kyi gzengs bstod bgyis pa yin gshis 'di pas 'gro 'dug bgyi pa yin lugs su spyod par khyod gong 'khod tshang mas lung dang mthun pa'i phan char gang 'gro las / gnod 'gal log par 'gro rigs gtan nas ma byed / tshul bzhin sgrub pa rnams la 'phral yun kun tu dge ba'i skyabs 'jug kyang bgyis pa yin / zhes go bar bya ba'i yi ge me mo sbrul lo'i rgyal zla'i dmar phyogs kyi gral tshes dge bar bslab gsum rnam par dkar ba bshad sgrub chos kyi rgyal mtshan mngon par sgrengs shing / lugs gnyis nyin mor spyod pa'i dge mtshan mchog tu bzhad pa'i mdun sa nor gling bde skyid kun dga' 'khyil pa'i bskal bzang pho brang nas bris / [Seal] 7
ON BHUTANESE AND TIBETAN DZONGS Ingun Bruskeland Amundsen "Seen from without, itґs a rocky escarpment! Seen from within, itґs all gold and treasure!"1 There used to be impressive dzong complexes in Tibet and areas of the Himalayas with Tibetan influence. Today most of them are lost or in ruins, a few are restored as museums, and it is only in Bhutan that we find the dzongs still alive today as administration centers and monasteries. This paper reviews some of what is known about the historical developments of the dzong type of buildings in Tibet and Bhutan, and I shall thus discuss towers, khars (mkhar) and dzongs (rdzong). The first two are included in this context as they are important in the broad picture of understanding the historical background and typological developments of the later dzongs. The etymological background for the term dzong is also to be elaborated. Backdrop What we call dzongs today have a long history of development through centuries of varying religious and socio-economic conditions. Bhutanese and Tibetan histories describe periods verging on civil and religious war while others were more peaceful. The living conditions were tough, even in peaceful times. Whatever wealth one possessed had to be very well protected, whether one was a layman or a lama, since warfare and strife appear to have been endemic. Security measures Paper presented at the workshop "The Lhasa valley: History, Conservation and Modernisation of Tibetan Architecture" at CNRS in Paris Nov. 1997, and submitted for publication in 1999. Ingun B. Amundsen, architect MNAL, lived and worked in Bhutan from 1987 until 1998. The topics of this paper are elaborated further in her coming Ph.D. dissertation to be concluded in 2001 with thanks to grants from the Oslo School of Architecture. 8
On Bhutanese and Tibetan Dzongs were a must, and this is apparent in all building types: in camp settlements and houses, in temples and forts. People seldom lived on the ground floor of their houses, and the stairs were simply made like ladders which could be drawn up like miniature drawbridges in case of raids. During warfare people could seek protection within local fortcomplexes. Such citadels were strategically located, and in early times they were usually on hilltops. Here they were the means for expansion and control for various rulers, and contributed to the domination of territories. During the Yarlung dynasty (7th-9th C.) "the districts were subject to the authority of the local forts."2 The annals of the Tґang dynasty (618-907) report of "one fortress for every 100 li (50 km) of territory."3 During King Songtsen Gampoґs (srong btsan sgam po) reign (627-650)4 the Tibetans regarded the geographical area that later became Bhutan as being inhabited by "the barbarians of the border and barbarians of the area beyond."5 In these areas there were often threats of looting and strife as is visible in the remains of defence towers in Lhodrak (lho brag) and many other places. In Tibet I have been told that people in Lhodrak say their towers were needed against the Bhutanese who came across the passes on raids. On the Bhutanese side of the border, the Tibetans are accused of the same. Here several fortifications and dzongs bear witness to the necessity for defence. Rinchen Dolma Taring describes in her autobiography how the villagers in Bhutan were terrified of being looted by refugees coming across the pass of Monla Karchung in 1959: "..these villagers were not rich at all and it was pathetic to see them hiding their little treasures, like aluminium bowls and copper plates. The monk in charge of the temple was also hiding the precious religious books under rocks."6 It may appear as if age-old instincts lay behind these actions, and even though she assured them that there would be no looting, nobody believed her, and she comments: "I donґt blame them". 9
Journal of Bhutan Studies Ancient Tower Structures The obvious function of ancient towers was defence, but at the same time they may also have been means for communication with heaven. The tower structures were utilized both in fortifications and in palaces as fortified dwellings. The so-called "demon-towers" (bdud khang) of Kongpo which I visited in 19967 are interestingly shaped as twelve cornered mandalas and clustered in groups of three. These towers are believed to have been built, not by humans, but by a Chung, the king of demons in the Gesar Epic. R.A. Stein writes in The World in Miniature how "such dwellings and defence towers are noted by Chinese texts from the Han, Sui, and Tґang (second to eighth centuries) in connection with independent kingdoms and peoples of Tibetan stock."8 The towers he describes have a small, square base measuring four to five meters. At the bottom level one enters through a small door, and then climbs upwards inside. "Each story is closed off by a ..notched tree trunk ..that can be pulled up."9 The interiors of the tower ruins at Kongpo are bare today, but the pattern of square holes in the stone walls shows where internal wooden structures have been fixed. The craftsmanship of the walls is impressive and obviously exceptionally solid as they have stood for centuries even without the internal structure to stabilize them. I was told there had even been unsuccessful attempts to demolish them during the Cultural Revolution. In many cases, ancient stone masonry in Bhutan and Tibe t appears to be of quite astounding quality, which may contribute to the common belief that some of these old structures were built by nonhumans. The fortified towers used as dwellings were more accommodating than defence towers. Some of the tower dwellings might have had a cantilevered upper floor resembling architectural traditions in Himachal Pradesh, as 10
On Bhutanese and Tibetan Dzongs visible for example in the Thakur castle in Gondhla. The drawings of the Baltit fort also show a cantilevered upper part on all towers, which may thereby have been a development characteristic of the western Himalayas. In Bhutan the only known evidence of a similar structure is found in a wash-drawing from 1783 by Samuel Davis; "View from the Bridge at Wandepore".10 This shows a tower with a minimum of openings, and a slightly cantilevered wooden structure called rabsey (rab gsal)11 on all four sides of the top floor. This was a bridge house by the river of Pho Chu in Wangdi, and a place for tax collection and control, and of obvious strategic importance. It is a characteristic of Tibetan and Bhutanese architecture that the amount of openings in the massive walls gradually increases upwards. This is especially visible in the central towers - the utsй (dbu rtse) of the dzongs in Bhutan. Even if the upper floors were not vastly cantilevered as in the traditions of Himachal Pradesh, this was the most accommodating place with many window openings and extra space created by the cantilevered rabseys. The typological precedent of the utsй-structures are positively the ancient towers. This is particularly visible in the utsй of Tongsa dzong called the Chorten Lhakhang, which is believed to be remains of an earlier structure at the site.12 Stein terms the towers "the prototypes of Tibetan architecture in general."13 The Ideal of Nine Stories Many of the old tower structures may originally have had nine floors, as this is an ideal, auspicious number with ancient roots in shamanistic mythology. Such symbolism is also described by Stein explaining how this ideal was applied to a vertical hierarchy revealed by the number of stories; "The king (or queen) had as many as nine, the people up to six."14 11
Journal of Bhutan Studies A similar numerology is also reflected in an old Bцnpo (bon po) text from the twelfth century published by Samten Karmay which relates how palaces are to be organized.15 This text describes how various functions are to be adapted horizontally within a 3x3 pattern, according to an ideal which buildings were striving to achieve. By following "the rules of Shenrab, the radiant clarity will cause blessings to descend."16 The buildings would then please the gods and attract divine presence. The strength of the ideal myth of nine stories also influenced Buddhist architecture. The historical precedent which is most frequently referred to, is the tower of Sekhar Gutok (sras mkhar dgu thog), `the nine storied son's castleґ in Lhodrak. This was the khar, which the saint Milarepa had to build over and over again for his master Marpa at the end of the 11th century. An earlier example is the Pabonkha monastery near Lhasa, which may be older than both the Jokhang temple and Ramoche. The legend reveals that "Songtsen Gampo went to the Pabonkha rock on the advice of Palden Lhamo and erected a nine storey tower."17 This is supposed to have been built out of bricks mixed with bronze, and with iron chains attached to the four sides.18 It was here Songtsen Gampo meditated and received divine guidance on how to suppress the female demon hampering the spread of Buddhism. With reference to the vertical hierarchy, an old Bhutanese text describes the ninth floor as being the reception room for the legendary King Sindhu Raja. He resided in Bumthang in central Bhutan in what is described as the nine -storied Iron Castle (lcags mkhar), and when Guru Rimpochй (Padmasambhava) came to visit "the King had great pleasure and he invited everybody to the ninth floor of the Iron Castle."19 12
On Bhutanese and Tibetan Dzongs In wall paintings there are many examples of towerlike structures, and many legends tell of ancient palaces having nine floors. As such, archetypes and myths are perhaps both created by and creating history. The History of a Building Complex The Baltit fort in the Hunza valley of the Karakoram mountain range has been found to be more than 700 years old, and at that time it was located within the area of Tibetan influence. Historical research which has been carried out during the conservation works suggests that the earliest part of this structure consisted of "one or two single-storey houses, one with an attached defensive tower."20 Richard Hughes, the conservation engineer for the restoration works, has made an interesting series of diagrams depicting hypothetically the various building stages the fort may have gone through based on related details observed in the historic structure. All in all more than seventy phases of construction were identified using archaeological techniques. Unfortunately, there are very few, if any similar building complexes within the pan-Tibetan area, which have undergone such thorough conservation and documentation processes allowing comparative studies. However, this process of growth from a small to a grand building complex will presumably apply to most of the monumental dzongs. One determining factor for such developments was the site which had to be superbly located and auspicious in relation to geomantic divination. The Khars The khars were fortified palaces for ruling lords built according to the tower typology. In the Yarlung valley we find the only known surviving example in Tibet of one such khar which was once a dwelling place for the early kings: namely "Yam-bu-bla-mkhar".21 Today it is often called Yambu 13
Journal of Bhutan Studies Lhakhang.22 When Hugh Richardson visited this building in 1936 it was a towering castle, but it was destroyed down to its foundations during the Cultural Revolution. A Cultural History of Tibet relates that the building "may well be an authentic survival from the seventh or eighth centuries, and the name Om-bu Tshal occurs in the Tun-huang Annals in connection with royal residences in that area."23 Most of what we see today is a reconstruction from the 1980s, and the authenticity of the reconstruction has been distorted by the fact that the height has been reduced by one floor. "The third floor remains unbuilt. It consisted of a front terrace and a rear chamber with a passage linking the tower to the chapels."24 Today the only way to reach the tower is by an outside terrace and across the roof; an arrangement which would not have been practical in a defence situation. Above what might have been a high guild-hall for the late kings, there is an elevated roof arranged as a huge skylight allowing light to filter through the mezzanine on the second floor. This space would otherwise have been in darkness due to the windowless walls, and the elevated roof may also have contributed to the ventilation of the large hall. This roof arrangement may be characterised as an early version of a type of roof - the yangtok (jam thog), ranging high in the hierarchy of roofs in Bhutan. Most noble families (gdung)25 in Bhutan trace their lineage back to the early Tibetan monarchs of the Yarlung dynasty. Lhasetsangma (lha sras gtsang ma),26 the Chronicle of Prince Tsangma tells the story of Lang Darmaґs brother who escaped the terror which stopped the first spread of Buddhism by fleeing south from Tibet. He travelled from west to east throughout Bhutan, where he appears to have had a series of female relationships on his way. The resulting children were thus all connected to the major royal lineage, and they created what evolved as noble families. In the chronicle one reads again and again that these men took over important royal sites (rgyal sa) and built royal castles (rgyal mkhar). 14
On Bhutanese and Tibetan Dzongs Sometimes they only had to take over existing ones. The text also mentions district castles (yul mkhar) and watchtowers or turrets (mkhar mthon). The many place names, which contain the term mkhar, describe feudal principalities named according to the fortpalaces of their lords. The feudal lords were often at war with each other, and they struggled with local resentment. Most of these local lords were overrun in the end in one way or another, and on some of the auspicious royal sites the ruins of their khars were replaced with dzongs. Background for the term Dzong (rdzong) The huge building structures today called dzongs, developed from historical precedents of towers and khars. One of the oldest known terms applied to these huge buildings are also phodrang (pho brang),27 which may have been the first term applied to these structures. According to one of the informants for my research, the Bhutanese scholar Khenpo Phuntsok Tashi, the term phodrang may have originated in India, and it is found several places in the Kanjur.28 But in Tibet and Bhutan there were and still are some simple landscape features like rocks and caves, which are also, termed dzongs. What is the explanation for these seemingly vastly different typologies, and thus the original meaning of the term dzong? The dictionaries give limited clues as both Jдschke and Das simply translate dzong as castle or fortress. Chandra Das adds that the meaning in modern times is "headquarters of a district magistrate and revenue officer."29 The meaning of related verbs does not appear relevant either for a discussion of etymological developments of the term. Khenpo Phuntsok Tashi has given a possible clue, since according to him, there are parallels between the term dzong and the Sanskrit word durga. Durga means `undestroyableґ 15
Journal of Bhutan Studies and applied to a place the meaning thus becomes an `undestroyable strongholdґ. An Indian book on the ancient canon of architecture VвstuSвstra, gives some supporting evidence for a connection, since the words for fort and durga here are used as synonymous.30 In an interview, Khenpo Phuntshok Tashi describes a dzong as a place where one is protected and the mind may flourish. He thus explains that a dzong refers to an undestroyable stronghold of mind power.31 This interpretation describes how the term dzong is conceived today among some Bhutanese. As will be elucidated below, the dzongs of Bhutan have played and still play a significant role in society, as strongholds housing both religious and political power from the 17th century onwards. To my present knowledge, the term dzong in literary sources seems to emerge during the second spread of Buddhism. In these documents the word dzong describes specific places which were visited by Guru Rimpochй also called Padmasambhava, in the 8th century. The factual historical role he played may have been very limited during his lifetime, but in later, mainly terma (gter ma) sources32, his importance has taken on mythical dimensions. Today he is regarded as a second Buddha for people in Bhutan and honoured for his leading role in the successful spread of Buddhism. Accordi ng to the legend, until he visited Tibet and Bhutan the spread of Buddhism was faced with several hindrances. One reason for this was believed to be that the whole geographical area was occupied by evil spirits. Guru Rimpochй who was a tantric master and exorcist, was thus called from India in order to subdue the pre-Buddhist spirits ruling the landscapes. He travelled extensively and visited many places where he performed rituals and meditated. Through his 16
On Bhutanese and Tibetan Dzongs magical skills he converted the evil-minded nature spirits and demons into protectors of Buddhism. He thus succeeded in turning the landscapes of Tibet and Bhutan into more peaceful environments. The landscape settings like caves and special rock formations he visited thus became his own strongholds inhabited by protective deities. These places were often termed dzongs to describe them as the power places they had become, and still are today. One possible interpretation of how the term dzong is used now, may be that since the meditation places of Guru Rimpochй, "the mind ruler" were termed dzongs, the term acquired a wider connotation. They were small in size, but strong in spiritual power. "Dzong" thus became a feasible term for other rulers to describe their impressive buildings, which were outstanding in scale, and for the efforts expended on them - especially since temporal power was always related to spiritual power. The dzongs of the rulers grew in sophistication as the societies experienced economic growth and centralisation, demonstrating physical and spiritual security. It is commonplace that words have one meaning on the religious level, and another on the everyday level. Thus the two uses of the term dzong as `sacred siteґ and as `place of worldly protectionґ can coexist and partly overlap especially since the later Buddhist dzongs also had religious functions. This use of the term dzong for Guru Rimpochйґs meditation sites creates confusion at times, since today we have become accustomed to dzongs as large building complexes. The British Political Officer John Claude White, who was usually very well informed, was on his way from Bhutan to Tibet in 1906 when he reached Senge Dzong in Lhuentse (lhun rtse). About Senge Dzong, one of Guru Rimpochйґs famous power places, he recorded: "I had a beautiful ride to Singhi-jong, a very small fort, hardly worthy of the name."33 Presumably disappointed, he did not even stop, but just rode past what is in fact one of the most revered sites in the whole country. 17
Journal of Bhutan Studies Origins of the Dzong System During the second spread of Buddhism from approximately the turn of the millennium onwards the pace of templebuilding increased rapidly. In the legend referred to above describing the meeting between Guru Rimpochй and King Sindhu Raja, the Guru gives the King the following advice: "Although you have built many castles, when the time of dying comes, only the bier will be yours! Therefore, from now on, you must no more build so many houses for yourself, but you must erect temples and present holy statues, (these are actions) which are helpful for the next life too!"34 Buddhism flourished after the turn of the millennium, and much due to the tradition of gaining merit, the temples and monasteries grew in size and importance. They also gained wealth, and their treasures needed protection. There was also increasing religious rivalry, and the following centuries experienced severe struggles where religious factions in Tibet were warring against each other. Initially it appears as if monasteries and forts of the pan-Tibetan area were built separately, as described in this sample from The Cultural History of Ladakh: "Below the fortress down in the valley just to the east there stand the bare walls of a temple of the kind that belongs to the time of Rin-chen bzang-po,35 and this in itself may be taken as a sufficient indication that a Tibetan fort was built there together with a monastery, just as at Chigtan, Alchi and Nyar-ma."36 However, later these two building types often merged into fortified monasteries built as defensive settlements. This implied that the outer buildings formed a perimeter, as closed-off as possible, and arrangements for its defence were applied. The first known Bhutanese source to use the word dzong is Phajo Drugom Zhigpo's (pha jo brug sgom zhig po) biography.37 Phajo (1208-76) was the first well-known lama of the powerful Drukpa Kagyu (brug pa bka brgyud) lineage, based at Ralung in Tibet, who came south to the area of 18
On Bhutanese and Tibetan Dzongs western Bhutan. It had been predicted that he would play an important role introducing the Drukpa faith in the south, which was to become the state religion of Bhutan from the seventeenth century onwards. Phajo Drugom Zhigpoґs namthar (rnam thar) describes the dream he had on his first night in the new country. In this dream a white lady tells him regarding his future that he will have "four caves, four dzongs and four rocks,"38 but the text reveals that the third of the four dzongs, namely Lingzhi Jagц Dzong, was already in existence close to where Phajo spent the night. This may have been one of the very first Bhutanese dzongs to be an actual building, though at least two of the other locations given in the text refer to meditation places. There are ruins of old buildings in this area,39 and we know there were fortresses in Bhutan in the 12th century as the Lhapas (lha pa bkaґ brgyud) had established such buildings. The Tibetan lama Gyalwa Lhanangpa (rgyal ba lha nang pa, 1164-1224) founded the Lhapa lineage, which according to Michael Aris was the first school to gain a broad measure of control in western Bhutan. They introduced a form of administration from forts, which we know was an established Tibetan tradition. According to their later rival Phajo Drugom Zhigpo, the local rulers opposed the obligations imposed by the Lhapas, and they complained of their plight: "Every year each district was made to supply huge quantities of rice, butter, cotton ..and iron, in addition to undertaking three periods of corvйe. If they failed, then `laws according to Tibetan practiceґ were exacted on them."40 In the 17th century the Lhapas became the chief enemy heading the "five groups of lamas" who cooperated with the Tibetans in the battles against Drukpa supremacy. Their final surrender took place when they had to hand over their old fortress of Do Ngon Dzong (rdo rngon rdzong) in Thimphu in 1641. Aris relates that the "other fortresses of the Lhapa, probably defensive monasteries, appear to have been destroyed by fire during the struggles."41 19
Journal of Bhutan Studies Phajo Drugom Zhigpoґs namthar may exemplify a stage in the process of how the term dzong may have merged from being used of meditation places to also cover fortified monasteries imposing rules and regulations on the surrounding districts according to traditions established by more secular rulers. Other buildings termed dzongs survive more or less intact today, which date back further than the seventeenth century. One sample of this is Dobji Dzong (rdo bji rdzong) in the district of Paro (spa gro) which was built on a sacred site presumably in the sixteenth century or earlier. The First Tibetan Dzongs According to some sources it was Jangchub Gyaltsen (byang chub rgyal mtshan, 1302-73) who pioneered the Tibetan system of dividing vast territorial holdings into districts, each administered from a fortress termed dzong.42 Shakabpaґs Tibet: A Political History relates how Jangchub Gyaltsen replaced "the thirteen myriarchies (Trikor), he divided the land into numerous districts (Dzong). He appointed those men among his followers, who were of unquestioned loyalty, to be masters (Dzongpon) of the districts."43 Jangchub Gyaltsen was the first abbot-prince of the Phakmo Drupa (phag mo gru pa) dynasty (1354 -1435), and he exercised both spiritual and secular authority, as had the Sakya rulers before him. During his reign he "urged the claim that he was restoring a real Tibetan kingship,"44 free from foreign suzerainty. His capital was at Nedong close to the cradle of the Yarlung kings, and he reinstalled the glory of the ancient royal traditions in several ways. Officials were made to wear the dress and ornaments of the former royal court, and he revived and amended the old code of laws of king Songtsen Gampo. He revised the revenue system, built bridges and established guard-posts on the frontiers. At the end of the 15th century, the princes of Tsang (gtsang) wrested political control from the Phakmo Drupa, signalling a return to secular monarchy. They ruled from 1435 to 1565 20
On Bhutanese and Tibetan Dzongs followed by the three kings of Tsang who held court at Shigatse (1566 -1642). Gyantse dzong45 was initially built as a palace for lay occupancy, and was founded in approximately 1365.46 "It had secular functions and no mention exists of temples."47 It was built on the hill where the last king of the Yarlung dynasty had built his palace. A great temple (tsuglag khang) was established near the palace in 1390, and later the walled monastic `cityґ of Palkor Chцde was established in the vicinity between 1418 and 1425.48 In Shigatse one finds the same separation between the huge monastic establishment of Tashilhunpo founde d in 1447 and the palace-fort of Shigatse towering on the ridge above. This was a flourishing period when, according to Giuseppe Tucci, one sees the palace architecture influencing the temple architecture.49 Tension rose between the faction of the Tsang kings and the Gelugpas with their Mongol patrons, and in 1640 Tibet was invaded by the Mongols. Two years later the head of the Gelugpa order, the fifth Dalai Lama, Ngawang Lobsang Gyamtso (1617-82) was enthroned at the palace-fort of Shigatse as the ruler of the country. During the theocratic rule of the Dalai Lamas, the castles in the unified Tibet ceased to be the domain of secular kings, and became integrated parts of the administrative dzong system and the seats of officials representing the central government. The Potala Palace The fifth Dalai Lama greatly admired Jangchub Gyaltsen of the Phagmo Drupa, and according to Fernand Meyer his entourage stressed "the necessity for the reunified territories to have a `navelґ in the ancient Tibetan tradition of fortresses."50 Tucci relates that the "cradle of Tibetґs political power had been in the area between Yarlung and Lhasa. ..a road had run joining Yarlung, the winter capital, with Lhasa, 21
Journal of Bhutan Studies the summer residence."51 The `Great Fifthґ chose Lhasa as the capi tal, and started shortly after the construction of the Potala Palace at the sacred site of King Songtsen Gampoґs nine storied palace on the Red Hill. The architecture of the Potala was inspired by the palace-fort of Shigatse according to oral Tibetan tradi tion, - only they wanted to make it even more impressive. Meyer also suggests a resemblance to the palace of Leh, which had been built some ten years earlier.52 The construction of the part of the Potala known as the White Palace took place between 1645 and 1648, and it was the regent Sangye Gyamtso who founded the Red Palace in 1690. The Dalai Lama had died in 1682, but his death was concealed for twelve years until the major parts of the Potala were completed. Meyer describes what a huge enterprise especially the construction of the Red Palace was: "It drew some 7,000 labourers - subjects who, owing to taxes and labour, had to work for the government - and more than 1,500 craftsmen, many likewise tied to the government by labour obligations. Emperor Kangxi (r.1662-1722) provided seven Chinese and ten Manchu and Mongol craftsmen, while 182 Nepali craftsmen contributed to the works."53 The monumental splendour of the Potala palace contributed to establishing Lhasa as a Mecca among all the Tibetan Buddhist orders.54 The building complex is termed the Potala Phodrang,55 thus underlining its main function as the residence of the Dalai Lama, and also all the previous incarnations in the Dalai Lama lineage are represented with mausoleums within its premises. In the warm season the Dalai Lama shifted to Norbu Lingka `the jewel gardenґ in the outskirts of Lhasa, where each had a summer residence built within this garden setting. 22
On Bhutanese and Tibetan Dzongs It was in the Potala Palace that the main religious and political events took place as the very centre for the theocratic rule, and at its feet, in Shцl, was the administrative centre of the Lhasa government. The significance of the Potala Palace thus resembles that of Punakha dzong in Bhutan, as will be elucidated later in the text. Punakha, which initially was also termed Phodrang, had been established in 1637 already, before the Potala was built. Punakha ranks highest in the hierarchy of dzongs in Bhutan as the Potala does in Tibet. The layout of the Potala palace has parallels to imperial Chinese planning models with walls surrounding the whole complex.56 In China the important buildings were lined up behind one another according to a strict north-south axis, while subsidiary buildings were placed on the eastern and western sides. These we re planned around courtyards or series of courtyards, and the buildings had their long walls facing south. The main entrances were also from the south with the emperor placed in the centre facing south, since all evils were expected to come from the north.57 However, the axes of the Potala are not applied in complete accordance with the Chinese model. In the rugged Tibetan terrain, several adjustments had to be made to such strict patterns. In the Potala the main entrance is from the south, but the main layout follows the ridge with an east-west axis. This is underlined with the sun- and moon-shaped turrets to the east and west. The same east-west axis is also applied in the scheme applied to tame the demoness mentioned earlier. Michael Aris comments that Songtsen Gampo here adapted a Tibetan version of the Chinese axis system by turning the north-south into an east-west axis. It was thus adjusted into a local and Buddhist context.58 In Tibet and Bhutan this is the pattern generally applied. However, the eastward orientation of a shrine is fairly common elsewhere in the world, and it appears rather to be the Chinese pattern that deviates in this context. 23
Journal of Bhutan Studies The Spread and Significance of the Tibetan Dzongs Geoffrey Samuel states that there were approximately 120 dzongs in Tibet in recent times: "Each had one or two dzongpцn59 appointed for a period of three years. These were generally laymen but in some cases one was a monk."60 Their rank depended on the importance of the dzong, and the most important was the Chief Commissioner of Shigatse. The dzongpцns could settle legal cases, but their primary function was the collection of revenue. In Tibet there were many huge monastic establishments. Especially famous were the main Gelugpa centres of Sera, Drepung and Ganden around Lhasa and Tashilhunpo in Shigatse. Each had several thousand monks. In Tibet, the great monasteries continued as major religious centres while the dzongs developed mainly as administrative centres.61 This focus is one of the main differences between the dzongs in Tibet and Bhutan, since within the dzong complexes of Bhutan religious and political power were integrated. The Bhutanese Dzongs Large monastic establishments are merged with the secular administration in the Bhutanese dzongs. One may say that in Bhutan the dzongs are physical expressions of the wellknown concept of chos srid gzhung `brel; `the harmonious blend of religion and politicsґ. As an administrative model it is known as chos srid gnyis ldan, or the `dual systemґ.62 The importance of the dzongs in Bhutan is reflected in the fact that the national language is called dzongkha, which literally means the language spoken in the dzongs, and each district is called a dzongkhag. A total of sixteen historical dzongs have been recorded in Bhutan. Most of them were built during and shortly after the reign of the founder of Bhutan as a unified state, Ngawang Namgyel (ngag dbang rnam rgyal), in the early 17th century. He united the dual power in one person, and set up a code of law and the Bhutanese dzong system. The dzongs he built were instrumental in his 24
On Bhutanese and Tibetan Dzongs successful struggles against enemies both within Bhutan and from Tibet. Ngawang Namgyel, who later took the honorific title Zhabdrung (zhabs drung) `at whose feet one submitsґ, was identi fied as the reincarnation of Pema Karpo (padma dkar po, 1527-92) who had died two years before his birth. He was installed as the 18th abbot of the powerful Drukpa monastery at Ralung in Tsang, but his recognition was challenged by a contestant supported by the Tsang ruler. As a result of the following conspiracies, he had to leave in 1616 and came to western Bhutan followed by other important scholars and followers forced to escape the strife in Tibet. The Tibetans made several attacks on the emerging Bhutanese state ruled by the Zhabdrung, but he grew in power, and with him the dzongs. The architecture of the dzongs became more and more elaborate, and with increasingly distinctive Bhutanese features. The most important of the Zhabdrungґs dzongs was as already mentioned above, the one built in Punakha (spu na kha) in 1636-37 named spung thang bde chen pho brang rdzong, `heap of field and great blissґ.63 It was the winter residence for the Zhabdrung and his court, and the Zhabdrung had his private quarters in the utsй. Here he went into retreat and probably died in 1651, but his death was concealed beyond the turn of the century. The remains of the Zhabdrung are kept in the Machen Lhakhang next to the utsй, which is revered for its outstanding importance. It was the Zhabdrung who established the ritual of the new year festival of Punakha, which has been described in detail by Michael Aris.64 This celebration of one of the victories won over invading Tibetan forces, was like a manifestation of the Zhabdrungґs rule. Envoys from all over Bhutan paid homage to the ruler on this occasion and donated the government's share of taxes. 25
Journal of Bhutan Studies The tradition of shifting the seats of the government between the dzongs of Punakha and Thimphu may have commenced in the 1640s.65 The Lhapas had to hand over their stronghold in 1641, and it was enlarged and renamed Tashichц Dzong (bkra shis chos rdzong) `dzong of the glorious religionґ. The state government was permanently relocated to Tashichц Dzong in the 1950s, but the seasonal migration between the dzongs in Punakha and Thimphu is maintained by the monkbody. Punakha still remains the most sacred of all the Bhutanese dzongs. The creation of Punakha dzong is described in a myth related to a carpenter, Zow Balip, who fell asleep at the Zhabdrungґs feet and dreamt about the future dzong. When he woke up, he related that he had seen an impressive building complex with many fine details, and he explained how it should be, level by level. The Zhabdrung explained that he wanted space for many monks, and Zow Balip asked why, because at that time the Zhabdrung had only few followers. The Zhabdrung explained that very soon there would be many.66 Michael Aris writes that "The building was designed to accommodate six hundred monks...By the end of Zhabs-drungґs reign the state monks who lived there numbered more than 360...The original target seems to have been reached about fifty years later and has remained fairly constant ever since."67 However, Samuel Turner writes in the narrative of his expedition in 1783 that there were 1,500 monks in Tashichц dzong: "Fifteen hundred Gylongs are contained within these walls, and not a female lodges under the same roof."68 Today there are also approximately 1,500 monks shifting between these dzongs.69 There are reasons to believe the population may have been larger in earlier times. The Jesuit Cacella, who visited Bhutan in 1627 gives a rough figure of more than 500,000 inhabitants in the Paro valley only,70 but this figure was probably just a wild guess. Today the total population of Bhutan is about 600,000. White in his book Sikkim and Bhutan comments on a previous larger population: "All the 26
On Bhutanese and Tibetan Dzongs valleys I have seen to the north of the watershed - viz., from Eastern Bhutan to some distance west of Sikhim - appear to have at some remote period been much more densely populated than at present."71 Tucci in To Lhasa and Beyond has similar comments.72 Southern Tibet may have had a larger population historically, but so far we know very little about the size and developm ents of the Bhutanese population in a historical perspective. Anyhow, there must have been reasons in the socio-economic basis of the society at Zhabdrungґs time for the quite sudden expansion visible in the extensive dzong-building. There must have been thousands contributing labour, and many both willing and able to contribute economically - which implies a considerable surplus of wealth enabling the young and embattled government to build such substantial structures. One clue may be the expansion of territories that took place in this period, and taxes and labour requisitioned from the Duars. The Physical layout of Bhutanese Dzongs The first dzong constructed by the Zhabdrung was at Simtokha (srin mo rdo kha), `the demoness stoneґ in the Thimphu valley in 1629, where it controlled the main eastwest trade route. The dzong was named `the palace of the profound meaning of the secret mantraґ - gsang snags zab don pho brang. It has a layout which quite strictly follows the basic structure of the Tibetan and Bhutanese temples in general. This resembles that of the mandala, the Buddhist cosmological model which is followed in the layout of Samye and most temples. The mandala represents an ideal shape, and by shaping physical structures to this pattern buildings relate to and express the spiritual plane. Buildings are seen as meaningful, with various degrees of importance, and the dzong-complexes in particular are structured according to principles derived from the mandala and geomancy - and as such both express the meaning in the Buddhist universe and derive power thereby. 27
Journal of Bhutan Studies This pattern in Simtokha dzong is largely unchanged today, whilst other dzongs have been progressively enlarged and modified. The complex forms a rectangle of 70 by 60 meters, and is located on a ridge with steep slopes on three sides. It commands the Thimphu valley, and is situated above the confluence of two rivers, confluences always being `power placesґ. From the only entrance, at the south, one enters the courtyard which surrounds the central tower structure. In this utsй, which is approximately square are the main shrines. At Simtokha the utsй has three stories, and the courtyard is enclosed by structures of two stories with the living quarters of the monks, all of which open on to the i nner courtyard. Most other Bhutanese dzongs are however organized with a system comprising two separate courtyards. The first to be entered is for the secular Dzongkhag administration, and the second, inner one is for the monks and the most sacred functions. In basements below the courtyard level there are rooms for storage of the space-consuming taxes in kind. New stocks of tax in kind arrived every year, and the old stock had to be dug out and put atop of the fresh. Dasho Shingkar Lam relates in The Hero with a Thousand Eyes, how one of his routine jobs as a servant for the second King of Bhutan was to take inventories at Tongsa dzong. To sort out the vast quantities involved took days of work for several people down in the cool, cavernous storerooms. There were mountains of rice, buckwheat, flour, mustard oil, daphne bark paper as well as items like butter and meat. He claims that butter accumulated for over five years. "Butter remained fresh within; its rancid exterior was peeled away every year. But the meat stockpiles became susceptible to meat worms. As the neatly piled meat packs were disturbed during rearrangement, the storeroom swarmed with black worms.."73 When the tax system changed from in kind and labour taxes to mainly cash payments, these were certainly easier to handle and needed less storage space. By the time this 28
On Bhutanese and Tibetan Dzongs process took place, mainly in the second half of the 20th century, the dzongs were already obsolete in relation to warfare, and the advantage of the huge quantities of food supplies in case of a siege were no longer relevant. The dzongs were defended by archers through narrow loopholes in the walls of the dzongs. David Rennie describes how the British attacked the fort of `Dalimkoteґ in the Himalayan foothills in 1865, and they were met with stones thrown from a catapult and with arrows, and "the men in the fort were observed making hurried preparations for defence, by removing the roofs and woodwork from the towers at the angles of the fort.."74 Many of the dzongs also had freestanding bastions nearby, and in particular the so-called Tadzongs (blta rdzong) which are located at strategic points in the surrounding landscape to support the defence, and the Chu-dzongs protecting the water supplies. At the time they were built, the dzongs were superb strongholds. Dzongs as Architectural Trendsetters In Europe the vertical stone fortifications of castles had been rendered obsolete by the fifteenth century due to gunpowder, but long after the castles stopped being used as fortresses, the forms were continued as an architectural fashion. Amy built palaces looking like castles, which were not truly fortified. Others rebuilt ruined castles, making them grander than they had been originally, resulting in 19th-century neogothic versions of medieval castles with extensively increased window openings. In Bhutan the dzongs became architectural trendsetters in the same way. Examples are the Domkhar palace in Chumй valley and Kunga Rabten in Trongsa. A quite recent book on traditional Bhutanese architecture wrongly includes the palace of Wangdichцling in Jakar among the dzong buildings.75 Wangdichцling was never a part of the dzong system, but a palace for the royal family, founded in 1856. It is built according to a general dzong layout, but with large window openings in the exterior walls, and interestingly, 29
Journal of Bhutan Studies its utsй was not provided with a kemar (ske dmar), the red band symbolizing a religious building. As the symbol of power, the dzong features gave those who were permitted to use them and could afford it, the image of being powerful. The Dzongs Today In Tibet the administrative rule from the dzongs collapsed in the wake of the Chinese take-over. During the Cultural Revolution the rage against the institutions of the old theocratic society resulted in the demolition of several thousand temples as well as many dzongs. The only remaining dzongs today are the Potala and the ruins of the dzong at Gyantse, which has been converted into a museum. Gyantse dzong was shelled by British Artillery and captured during the Younghusband expedition in 1904, but it was never fully reconstructed again. At the museum, the visitors are informed of the Tibetansґ heroic fight to defend "a part of the great motherland" against imperialist aggression. The dzong ruins are thus actively used as a propaganda case. None of the many other dzongs ruined during the Cultural Revolution, however, have so far to my knowledge been put in focus as museums. The Potala has been restored and is enlisted as a world heritage site, but this impressive building complex has lost some of its authentic aura in this process. Today even the Tibetans have to pay an entrance fee, and the approximately fifty monks still there are dressed in grey overcoats, looking more like museum guards than monks.76 In Bhutan the largest monastic establishments were always integrated into the dzongs as a part of the government system. The dual system is maintained to this day and each dzong has its monk body. The post of Je Khenpo (rje mkhan po), the head abbot of the state monks, equals in rank with the King. The dzong system is vibrantly alive. New dzongs are being constructed, and the old building complexes are slowly adapting to changing needs. Punakha dzong for example, has 30
On Bhutanese and Tibetan Dzongs been undergoing extensive rebuilding during the past twelve years, and as has usually been the case through history, during the rebuilding process it is evolving and being made more impressive.77 Its fortress appearance is changing, and it is partly taking on a more residential appearance. Tashichц dzong in Thimphu was extensively rebuilt in the 1960s. The rebuilding included large, new office wings for the modern, central government and this is clearly visible in its new look, with extensive use of windows in the outer walls. These works are carried out within the context of a traditional society which still has the knowledge and craftsmanship of traditional building intact.78 It is important to keep the dzongs alive, and avoid the creation of museums. Even so, the changes taking place today are now becoming so extensive that it is time steps were taken in order to enhance awareness of restoration and conservation issues and techniques. It is important not to undermine a living tradition, but perhaps one could agree that certain ancient examples be preserved for historical interest. I am here thinking in particular of Simtokha dzong, described above, and the Gasa dzong close to the Tibetan border. Gasa dzong was built in the 1650s and is named according to its auspicious outlook (bkra shis mthong smon rdzong). Since this dzong has had relatively little attention in recent years, it has to a large degree been maintained with its old fortress characteristics intact. It would be valuable for Bhutan and the international community, if it were preserved at least to some degree for its great historical interest. Archaeological excavations in the surrounding area may also uncover the supporting system of bastions, walls and underground passages which made up the strongholds of old. It is often assumed that traditional building is rather static, but the typological changes highlighted in this paper show how the traditional architecture in Tibet and Bhutan has undergone continuous changes through the centuries. However, it is important to note that these changes have been gradual, small changes taking place during long periods of 31
Journal of Bhutan Studies time, and that the overall impression is therefore that of a strong continuity in the typological pattern. Towers, fortified manors, castles and other structures in the Buddhist Himalayas all present particular typologies, having naturally their historical and regional variations. Such variations also apply to the dzongs, but as a typology, the case of the "dzong" is different. In this paper I have summarized my research on the etymological background of the term dzong, which indicates how it began with a very limited and entirely religious meaning, implying hardly anything in terms of buildings - it was often just a rock or a cave for meditation purposes. The term was then later utilized politically for power places both religious and secular, and especially in Bhutan the dzongs developed into magnificent building structures which are still vibrantly alive as the fulcrum of both religious and political power. However, it is fair to say that all these shades of meaning still survive. There are sites and buildings in Tibet and Bhutan today which are still termed dzongs, which range from simple landscape features which are spiritual power places to the huge architectural complexes of the dzongs. Notes 1 The verse continues: "But as for me and my opinion, I wonder, is it good to live in? How sad I am and lonely!" From an early song preserved in the Tun-huang documents, being the lament of a Tibetan princess who was married to the King of Zhang-zhung and living in the `Silver Castleґ(dngul mkhar ) of Khyung-lung. Snellgrove and Richardson 1968:60. 2 Snellgrove and Richardson 1968:32. They also render that ancient Tibetan forts have been excavated in the Taklamakan area, which were like frontier outposts. 3 Chan 1994:540. Parallel information is given by Tucci in Transhimalaya, but he gives a distance of 10 li (576 meters) between these towers (p.74), and the same is repeated by P.M.Vergara in 32
On Bhutanese and Tibetan Dzongs Demeures des Hommes, Sanctuaires des Dieux, (p.254). I have not been able to check the original source, but a tower by every 576 meters as specified by Tucci and Vergara appears too much and may be due to lacking a decimal. One tower for every 50 or 57,6 km. is still a lot. 4 Chan 1994:26 5 Aris 1979:18. From his description of King Songtsen Gampoґs scheme to tame the demoness hampering the spread of Buddhism in Tibet by pinning her down with temples on all major parts of her body - of which two presumably were in the area of today's Bhutan. 6 Taring (1970)1994:288. This occurred when she was waiting in the village of Shabje Thang in Bhutan just below the Monla Karchung pass during her flight in 1959. 7 These towers were studied when I was a visiting Research Scholar at the Academy of social sciences in Lhasa in 1996. 8 Stein (1987)1990:165 9 Ibid, p.166 10 Aris 1982:110, Plate 47. Wandepore refers to today's Wangdi Phodrang. 11 rab gsal literally means clear light or best light. 12 DWHR/RGOB, An Introduction to Traditional Architecture of Bhutan, 1993:67 13 Stein 1972:29 14 Stein (1987)1990:167 15 Karmay 1987:96-97. This text was published in Tibetan and translated into French and Italian in Demeures des Hommes, Sanctuaires des Dieux. 16 According to the text referred to above as translated from the Tibetan by Sarah Harding. 17 Chan 1994:129-130. According to Chan the building has undergone several devastations and rebuildings, but never again since its legendary beginning has it had nine stories. Most recently it was severely damaged during the cultural revolution, and then extensively repaired again in the 1980s. 18 Information from Chronicle of the Fifth Dalai Lama (of 1643), fol.25B, referred to by R.A. Stein in The World in Miniature, p.322 n.55. 19 From a translation of the Sindhu Raja text called "The clear mirror of mysticism". A vertical hierarchy is even displayed in the seating arrangement, as the Guru was seated on the top of three cushions, while the King sat on two. Ref. Olschak 1979:78. 33
Journal of Bhutan Studies 20 Karimabad and Baltit Project Development, 1996:10. One of the Baltitґs earliest phases was dated by Carbon-14 tests. 21 Aris 1979:92. In Snellgrove and Richardson, A Cultural History of Tibet, they write the name; Yum-bu-bla-sgang , p.51. And there are other variant spellings. 22 Here, as so often in the Tibetan sources, one finds how similar sounding words such as khang, mkhar and sgang - all of which can refer to places - become confused and corrupted in the course of time. 23 Snellgrove and Richardson 1968:51. The origin of this building is hidden in myths, and it may be that construction at this site dates back as far as 2100 years. For more information see the article "Le Tibet a lґepoque de la Monarchie du VIIиme au IXиme Siиcle" by P. M. Vergara in Demeures des Hommes, Sanctuaries des Dieux, p.258. 24 Chan 1994:542 25 gdung is honorific for `boneґ. The term itself functions as a kind of title of the head of the family. Ref. Aris 1979:116 26 Prince Tsangma was a son of King Trisong Detsen who ruled approx. 800-815. The manuscript of Lhasetsangma also shortly called rgyal rigs was written in the early 18th century, approx. 1728 by Wagindra. Translated by Khenpo Phuntshok Tashi and Chris Butters, 1992. Previously translated by Aris 1980:12-85, but some parts were missing. 27 Literally meaning pho - male hero, and brang - centre, place, residence. 28 Interview 07.02.1998 29 Das (1902)1987:1060, and Jдschke (1881)1998:469 30 Shukla 1995:52 31 Interview 24.01.98 32 Termas are spiritual treasures mainly said to have been hidden in the eight century by Guru Rimpochй, which began to be rediscovered from about the eleventh century onwards. Thermas may be religious texts etc. connected to "the terma tradition" with its sophisticated set of doctrines. "The text-scrolls or objects found serve only by way of keys which awaken a message in the mind of the discoverers.." P.Tshewang et al 1995:7 33 White (1909)1992:197 34 Olschak 1979:79 35 Rinchen Zangpo (958-1055) was a distinguished personality who promoted widespread construction of temples and the necessity of making them attractive. He brought artists and craftsmen to Ladakh from Kashmir who contributed to this beautification process. 34
On Bhutanese and Tibetan Dzongs 36 Snellgrove and Skorupski 1977:93 37 The type of biography termed namthar is a religious biography, and I am referring to Phajo Drugom Zhigpoґs Namthar published by The National Library of Bhutan, Thimphu - undated, but approx. 1995. Thanks to Khenpo Phuntshok Tashi (then a senior researcher at The National Library) for going through and translating this namthar for me. The colophon states that the namthar was dictated by Phajo Drugom Zhigpo himself to his son Dampa in the 12th century. Still if this is disputed information, Michael Aris writes regarding this namthar that "it must be based in part on historical facts," 1979:174. The equivalent namthar then in Arisґ possession was rediscovered by Drukpa Kunlegґs son in approx.1580, op.cit., p.169. 38 According to the text of folio 33.3, these dzongs were: Taktsang Senge Samdrup Dzong (the famous meditation place of Guru Rimpochй in Paro valley which was severely damaged in a fire in the spring of 1998) and Tango Chцying Dzong (one of Phajo Drugom Zhigpoґs meditation places about two hours walk above the well known Tango monastery in the Thimphu valley). The last two: Lingzhi Jagц Dzong and Yar-tse Thu-wo Dzong do not appear to be known today. 39 A photo by A.Gansser of one ruin is printed in Olschak 1979:21. The caption suggests this was a small frontier fortress. 40 Aris 1979:169. Corvйe was forced labour contributions. 41 Aris 1979:170 42 Meyer 1987:15, Chan 1994:98 and Shakabpa see below. Unfortunately neither provides the source for this information. 43 Shakabpa 1984:81 44 Snellgrove and Richardson 1968:153 45 "Gyantse (Rgyal-rtse) which the local tradition considers as having been the seat of the Chos-rgyal Dpal-hkhor-btsan (grandson of Glandar-ma). It seems that originally it was called Sel-dkar-rgyal-rtse." Tucci (1941)1993:61. It is written rGyal -mkhar-rtse `peak of the royal fortressґ in Ricco and Lo Bue 1993:11. 46 Ref. Tucci op.cit. p.80. 47 Chan 1994:417 48 Ibid, p.419 49 Tucci (1941)1989:38 50 Meyer 1987:15 51 Tucci 1983:164 52 Meyer 1987:16 35
Journal of Bhutan Studies 53 Ibid, p.17. On the Potala see also Meyerґs article "Le Tibet a l'Epoque des Dalailamas du XVeme au XXeme Siecle" in Demeures des Hommes, Sanctuaries des Dieux, pp. 395-399. 54 But most important for all orders is the "heart" - the Jokhang temple in Lhasa dating back to the 7th century. 55 Ref. note 27. The name Potala is linked to Thцnmi Sambhota, the first Tibetan to be sent to India for advanced Buddhist studies by King Songsten Gampo. In one of his translations from Sanskrit, he mentions the mystical abode of Chenrezig in South India named Riwo Potala. Songsten Gampo was later regarded as the reincarnation of Chenrezig, as are the Dalai Lamas, and thus the connection to Chenrezigґs Potala. Chan 1994:98 Chenrezig or Avalokiteshvara in Sanskrit is the Bodhisattva of Compassion. 56 In Chinese there is the same word - chґeng - for both `cityґ and `wallґ. Boyd 1962:49 57 Boyd op.cit. pp. 49-50 58 Aris 1979:15-22 59 A dzongpцn is the term for the fort governor or head official. 60 Samuel 1995:54 61 This is as referred by Chandra Das, ref. note 29. 62 Ardussi 1977:212 63 Today the dzongs are usually named according to the place where they are situated i.e. Punakha dzong, Gasa dzong etc. I have included their original names in this context as it reveals the intentions and hopes of those who created them. 64 Aris 1976 65 Ardussi 1977:228 66 The myth as told by Dr. Corneille Jest 1.12.1997, to whom it had been related by Lyonpo Sonam Tobgye. 67 Aris 1979:221 68 Turner (1800)1991:83. `Gylongsґ or gelongs is a term for monks. Due to rules of the monastic order, females have never been allowed to spend the nights inside the dzongs. Those who were married among the secular, administrative staff thus lived outside the dzongs. 69 Ministry of Home Affairs, Dzongs in Bhutan, p.14. 70 From the part of the Relacвo of Estevao Cacella (1627) translated by Aris 1986:170. 71 White (1909)1992:209 72 Tucci (1956)1987:191 and 225 73 Ura 1995:89. This historical novel authored by Karma Ura is mainly based on information related by Dasho Shingkar Lam. His 36
On Bhutanese and Tibetan Dzongs knowledge is very special as he worked his way up through the court hierarchy and served three kings during his long tenure in government service. 74 Rennie (1866)1970:169-170 75 DWHR/RGOB, An Introduction to Traditional Architecture of Bhutan, 1993:76-78. Wangdichцling served as the summer residence for the second king, and in this limited period also as government quarters. The life at Wangdichцling during this period is described in Ura 1995: chapters 2,3 and 4. 76 The article "Bhutan and Tibet. On tradition and modernity in conflict and harmony " discuss this and similar issues more in depth. It also compare the cultural and architectural developments in Tibet with those of Bhutan. Ref. Amundsen 1997. 77 The `livingґ architectural traditions of Bhutan and among these the rebuilding-processes and their religious significance related to the concept of `impermance,ґ were further elucidated in Amundsen 1994/1995 "Bhutan: Living Culture and Cultural Preservation." 78 Regarding traditional building skills see Amundsen 95 pp. 89-90. The article "A sustainable society? Impressions from Bhutan" by Amundsen and Butters 1995, discusses a holistic approach to sustainability involving the whole culture not only "material sustainability" in relation to the increasing pace of change taking place in Bhutan. 37
Journal of Bhutan Studies Bibliography Bhutanese sources: Department of Works, Housing and Roads (1993). An Introduction to Traditional Architecture of Bhutan, Thimphu: Royal Government of Bhutan Lhasetsangma; bod rje mngaґ bdag khri ral pa can gyi sku mched lha sras gtsang maґi gdung brgyud `phel rabs dang `bangs kyi mi rabs mched khungs lo rgyus gsal baґi sgron me, The Chronicle of Prince Tsangma, translated by Khenpo Phuntshok Tashi and Chris Butters, National Library of Bhutan, unpublished typescript 1992 Ministry of Home Affairs (1991). Dzongs in Bhutan. Vol.1. Thimphu, report by the Royal Government of Bhutan Phajo (rdo rje gdan pa) Mi-pham Tshe -dbang-bstan-ґdzin (1547-1643), Pha ґbrug sgom zhig poґi rnam par thar pa thugs rjeґi chu rgyun. The National Library of Bhutan, Thimphu undated, but approx. 1995 Ura, Karma (1995). The Hero with a Thousand Eyes-A Historical Novel, Thimphu Other Sources Amundsen, Ingun B (1994). Bhutan: Living Culture and Cultural Preservation In Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Working Paper Series Vol.67/IASTE 67-94, pp.9-34, CEDR, Berkeley, University of California. An elaboration of this paper was published in I.B.Amundsen and H.Dunin-Woyseth (eds.) 1995. Research Magazine no.2. pp.80-93, Oslo School of Architecture 38
On Bhutanese and Tibetan Dzongs ________(1997). "Bhutan og Tibet: Om tradisjon og modernitet i konflikt og harmoni" in Nordic Journal of Architectural Research, No. 1997:4, pp. 21-37. Gothenburg: Nordic Association for Architectural Research Amundsen, Ingun B. and Butters, Chris (1995). "Et bжrekraftig samfunn? Inntrykk fra Bhutan" in Byggekunst. The Norwegian Review of Architecture, no.6, pp. 348-353, Oslo: National Association of Norwegian Architects Ardussi, John A (1977). Bhutan before the British. A Historical Study, Australian National University. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation Aris, Michael (1976). "The Admonition of the Thunderbolt Cannon-Ball" and its Place in the Bhutanese New Year Festival in Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 39, pp.601-35, London ________(1979). Bhutan. The Early History of a Himalayan Kingdom, London: Aris & Philips ________(1982). Views of Medieval Bhutan: The Diary and Drawings of Samuel Davis, 1783, London: Serindia ________(1986). Sources for the History of Bhutan. Wien, Arbeitskreis fьr Tibetische und Buddhistische Studien Universitдt Wien Beguin, G. and Vergara, P. M (eds.) (1987). Demeures des Hommes, Sanctuaires des Dieux. Paris, Musйe Guimet, and Rome, University of Roma, Dept. of Oriental Studies, Il Bagatto Boyd, Andrew (1962). Chinese Architecture and Town Planning, London: Alec Tiranti 39
Journal of Bhutan Studies Das, S.C. (1902) (1987). A Tibetan-English Dictionary. Reprint Kathmandu: Ratna Pustak Bhandar Historic Cities Support Programme (1996). Karimabad and Baltit Project Development, Geneva: The Aga Khan Trust for Culture Jдschke, H.A (1881) (1998). A Tibetan-English Dictionary, Reprint Delhi: Montilal Banarsiddas Karmay, Samten G (1987). Lґorganisation de lґespace selon un texte Tibetain du XIIeme siecle. In Beguin & Vergara (eds.) Demeures des Hommes, Sanctuaires des Dieux, pp.92-98 Meyer, Fernand (1987). The Potala Palace of the Dalai Lamas in Lhasa, Hongkong: In Orientations, July 1987, pp. 14-32 Olschak, Blanche C (1979). Ancient Bhutan. A Study of Early Buddhism in the Himalayas, Zьrich: Swiss Foundation for Alpine Research Pichard, Pierre (1990). Bhutan. Conservation of Simtokha Dzong, Paris: UNESCO Rennie, David Field (1866) (1970). Bhotan and the story of the Doar war, London, Reprint New Delhi: Manjusri Publ. House Ricco, Franco and Lo Bue, Erberto (1993). The Great Stupa of Gyantse, London: Serindia Publications Samuel, Geoffrey (1995). Civilized Shamans. Buddhism in Tibetan Societies, Kathmandu: Mandala Book Point Shukla, D.N (1995). Vвstu-Sвstra Vol.1 Hindu Science of Architecture, New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Snellgrove, David and Richardson, H.E (1968). A Cultural History of Tibet, Boston & London: Shambala 40
On Bhutanese and Tibetan Dzongs Snellgrove, David and Skorupski, Tadeusz (1977). The Cultural Heritage of Ladakh. Vol.1. New Delhi: Vikas Publ. House Tshewang, Padma, Tashi, Phuntsok, Butters, Chris and Sжtreng, Sigmund (1995). The Treasure Revealer of Bhutan, Kathmandu: Bibliothecha Himalayica Tucci, Giuseppe (1941) (1993). Gyantse and its monasteries, Part 1, Indo-Tibetica IV.1. Roma 1941, English edition, New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan ________(1956) (1987). To Lhasa and Beyond. Diary of the Expedition to Tibet in the Year 1948, Reprint, New York: Snow Lion Publications ________(1973). Transhimalaya. London: Barrie & Jenkins Turner, Samuel (1800) (1991). An Account of an Embassy. London, Reprint, New Delhi: Asian Educational Series White, J.C (1909)(1992). Sikkim and Bhutan, London, Reprint, Delhi: A.Sagar Book House 41
GUIDE TO CHARI MONASTERY- A BRIEF HISTORY OF CHARI VAJRAYA MONASTERY His Holiness Nawang Tenzin OM! I pay obeisance to the invincible Guru of Palden Drukpa. I will now relate: · How the Chari monastery has begun and established; · The accounts of religious activities undertaken by Phajo Drukgom Zhigpo and the invincible Ngawang Namgyal; · How their successive incarnations meditated there and performed miraculous activities; and · How the sacred properties of the monastery were acquired. How the Chari Monastery was begun and established At Dodenang, at the confluence of three rivers, there is a ferocious mandala which sprang up on its own. Here, at the mouth of the river, there is a little rock. Above the rock there lies a chorten whose wall-paintings, which were miraculously created by Phajo Drukgom Zhigpo, can be seen till today. At the nose of the bridge there is a two-legged chorten, under which people pass to obtain blessings. The Lhakhang or temple above was constructed by Pandita Tenzin Chogyal. On this or the Chari monastery side of the bridge, in the area of the small chorten, Phajo Drukgom Zhigpo's son Lama, when he was the head of the Drupdey (meditational class), 68th Chief Abbot of Central Monastic Body. H.H wrote this article on the 9th month of the Water Hog Year (1983). 42
Guide to Chari Monastery constructed a monastery with five doors. He also constructed more than 30 drupkhangs or houses of solitary retreat. Meditational practices flourished greatly at the Drupdey during the time, and the remains of the aforementioned structures can be seen till today, though now hidden amidst dense forest. A little further up, by the side of the path, there are the remains of a circular wall which was Phajo Drukgom Zhigpo's drupkhang (retreating apartment). It is mentioned in the namthar (biography) that this fact was revealed by Pandita Tenzin Chogyal, reincarnation of Phajo Drukgom Zhigpo, during the consecration ceremony of the chorten. In front of the wall, on the other side of the streams, can be seen the remains of a garden where sheela-puspa (a kind of fragrant flower) bloom even today. The garden is said to have belonged to Phajo Drukgom Zhigpo's consort Sonam Paldon. Further up, beside the rock above the road, there is a sign which is believed to be that of the tongue of the riding yak of Zhabdrung. Then there is a duedul (taming of mara) chorten. A little further up, just below the road, there is a drupkhang of the great abbot Khenchen Sonam 'Odzer. At the edge of the road, there is a rock where Gyaltse Tenzin Rabgye and his horse fell down, and which still carries the body impressions and footprints of Gyaltse Tenzin Rabgye. Though the horse died at the site, Gyaltse Tenzin was left unharmed. Since Guru Padmasambhava both personally and through his manifestations blessed the rugged valley of Bhutan, one can find here the wonderful door of hidden treasures. Near the Dzong, there is a big lump of stone carrying an impression of tersha of conchshell, which symbolizes the source of the propagation of the dharma. 43
Journal of Bhutan Studies The shape of the iron hill (Chari) is like that of the heart of Mahakala's palace. This is said in the Tandra of Gyonpo or Mahakala. Hence the Chari is logically an ideal place for meditation. In particular, there is a prophecy of Guru Rinpoche in which it is said that the life -valley of the Drukpas is established between the two rivers. Besides this, the funeral pyramid containing the mortal remains of Zhabdrung Rinpoche's father Tenpai Nyima are also preserved here in the chorten, and constitute the main sacred object of Chari monastery. It is said that the Kharsapani predicted three times that the death of Tenpai Nyima should be kept at Chari as relics. Religious Activities undertaken by Phajo Drukgom Zhigpo and the invincible Ngawang Namgyal Phajo Drukgom Zhigpo's arrival in Bhutan was in consequence of his visualization that the religion of Buddha (Buddhism) would not endure in Tibet but would flourish in the country of the medicinal herbs in the form of Palden Drukpa. The coming of Phajo Drukgom Zhigpo to Bhutan was in accordance with a prophecy made by Tsangpa Jharey, who also predicted that he would come to Bhutan in the form of Ngawang Namgyal. The Prediction, which was made to Sangye Onray at the time of his passing away, is as follows: "In future, the Buddhist doctrine will disappear from the Ue and Tsang valleys of Tibet, but it will flourish and be everlasting in the southern valley. One boy from Kham will come to you. Give him my dharma upedesha. After this, send him to the south valley. Generally, it will serve like a tonic on the Drukpa Kargyudpa, and the sun of peace and happiness will shine on the southern valley. In future, I shall also be coming there, where I will introduce the system of spiritual and temporal rulership. Tell him that he should pray that we will meet at the time". 44
Guide to Chari Monastery Accordingly, Phajo Drukgom Zhigpo came to Bhutan around 1208 A.D., where he married Sonam Paldon. He begot a daughter, along with 7 sons contained in a flesh-bag. Phajo Drukgom Zhigpo lay the new-born sons in line on a wooden plank and flung them into the river, having prayed thus, 'if any of these sons will prove useful to the Dharma, then may the Devas, Gurus, dakinis and Dharmapalas protect them; but may those who will not serve the cause of Dharma be carried away by the water and die!' It is said that his wife could not tolerate this and with heartbroken, went in search of sons. She found four: Gartoen, Wangchuck, Nyima and Lama. The other three, who were manifestations of evil, had been carried away by the water. Zhabdrung Rinpoche was born in 1594 A.D. At the age of 23, that is, in the Fire Dragon Year, he was received by Lama Hoptshopa of Gyon and his troops, and came with them to Bhutan. At the age of 27, that is the Iron Monkey Year, on completion of the silver funeral pyramid containing the relics of his father, Zhabdrung Rinpoche established the monastic body with 30 monks initially. This was the beginning of the order of the Palden Drukpa in the country. At the age of 30, that is the Water Hog Year, Zhabdrung stayed in solitary retreat for 3 years, living on the essence of flowers. After that he decided to retire to the mountains for further retreat, in the same fashion of Milarepa and Gyalwa Lorepa. However, the statue of his father Tenpai Nyima started speaking and forbade him to undertake the journey, saying, "You shall look after the doctrine through temporal and spiritual systems." Besides that, the Devas and Gurus had predicted over and over again that the time had come for Zhabdrung to serve the sentient beings. Therefore, at the age of 34 or the Fire Rabbit 45
Journal of Bhutan Studies Year, Zhabdrung undertook the responsibility of turning the Golden Wheel of Spiritual and Temporal Laws. He then began issuing his commandments to all the deities of Bhutan. At the Gyonkhang at Chari monastery the wings of crow headed Mahakala sounded like thunder, and the fresh heart of Zhabdrung's enemies was offered to him. To celebrate the happy occasion, Zhabdrung introduced the Guonpoi Zorcham or the mask dance of Mahakala. Thus the dance originated at the Chari monastery. When Zhabdrung was 38 years, or in the Iron Sheep Year, his son Jampel Dorji was born at Chari. At the age of 40, Zhabdrung received injunctions on the Vinaya from the scholar-saint Lhawang Lodroe, who subsequently ordained him. Desi Umdzey Tenzin Drugyal, while leading the congregation during the performance of a ceremony, passed away suddenly without any sickness. The site where he was cremated can be seen clearly even today at the rock. Meditation of Successive Incarnations at the Temple and the Performance of their Miraculous Activities Lhawang Lodroe came to Dzongchung and practiced meditation at a small cave between the rocks. One day as he was calculating on the wooden tablet used for prognostication, he caused fire to issue out from the tablet. Lhawang Lodroe passed away at the age of 84. Gyaltse Tenzin Rabgye joined the monastery at the age of eight. At the age of 27, he passed quite some time in meditating on Dechog (Sambhara) and Guru Dragpo (Wrathful Guru). Pandita Jamyang Pladen Jamtsho of Tsang in Tibet also stayed at Chari. So did Khenchen Sonam 'Odzer, who studied here under Lhawang Lodore from the age of 10. Gyaltse Kunga Gyaltshen mediated here on Lhadrup (propitiation of a 46
Guide to Chari Monastery deity), Dechog (sambhara), Gyonpo (mahakala), and Lhamo (devi or mahakali). He attained the vision of Lhamo and her retinue, and also witnessed their dance. The dance, known as Tsomoi Garcham, which is originated here is performed annually at the Thimphu Dromchoe festival. Gyaltse Kunga Gyaltshen composed a book for the propitiation of Lhamo. Khenchen Damchoe Pekar mediated at Chari for three years, and the scholar-saint Tenzin Dendup also spent a considerable time here. The second Zhabdrung Sungtuel Chogle Namgyel meidated at Chari on Lhandrup, Dechog, Gyonpo and Lhamo. Zhabdrung Thugtuel Jigme Dragpa also mediated here for three years. Gyaltse Jigme Norbu did five years of meditation here, while Khenchen Zoepa Thinley and Ngawang Yonten Thaye also stayed here for quite a long time for the same purpose. Their experiences in religious practice are vividly described in their Namthars (biographies). How the Sacred Properties of the Monastery were Acquired The main sacred object of the monastery is the silver funeral pyramid containing the relics of Zhabdrung's father. Inside the chorten there is also the statue of Tenpai Nyima which was made by Zhabdrung himself, and which had miraculously spoken to him. Zhabdrung's personal belongings were also kept in the monastery. Besides, there is also a sacred oven, which Zhabdrung lifted with one hand during the performance of the homa ceremony after the completion of his retreat. In the chapel of Mahakala, the Tibetan commander Gula's heart and hands have been preserved as secret objects. 47
Journal of Bhutan Studies
The golden statue of Zhabdrung Rinpoche in the Duedulphug temple was made by the ninth Desi/Depa Geshey alias Chogyal Ngawang Jamtsho.
The golden statues of the Buddha, Tshepagme (Amitayus), Trulpai Chogyal, Thonmisambhota, and Lyonpo Gara were the main objects of the 13th Desi Sherub Wangchuck in his chamber, Kuensel Phodrang.
The golden statues of Guru Rinpoche and Phajo Drukgom Zhigpo in the Lama Lhakhang and the golden statue of Namse in the treasure -room were all presented by Kuzho Tashi Dorji.
The burnt down Sheydra apartments and the room in which Gyalse Kunga Gyaltshen saw his vision of Lhamo were fully renovated through the gracious patronage of Ashi Chuni Wangmo and her family. The Sangha Community here continues to receive support and flourishes as in the time of Zhabdrung Rinpoche. Every year, it performs following rituals out of the capital investment of Nu. 100,000 granted to the monastery for religious service:
Tshethro (wrathful amitayus) from the 1st to 3rd of
the first month;
Mithrugpa (akshobhaya) from the 8th to 10th of the
same month;
Neten Chudrug (16 Sthaviras) on the 15th day of the
first month;
Zhabdrung Kuchoe from the 8th to 10th of the third
Neten Chudrug on the 15th day of the fourth month;
Neten Chudrug on the 4th day of the sixth month; and
Neten Chudrug on the 22nd day of the ninth month.
In total, 13 da ys of ceremonies are performed annually for the well-being of all sentient beings.
Guide to Chari Monastery Mayum Chuni Wangmo Dorji and Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Kesang Wangchuck graciously renovated the main and Duedul temples. The congregation hall of the Sangha community was greatly beautified by the paintings of the Buddha and the six ornaments of the Jambudvipa. In addition eight new apartments of Thuenkhang (prayer halls) and drupkhangs were constructed. Thanks to this great work that the drupdey could be revived. Other contemporary royal endowments to the monastery include internal objects necessary for the performance of ceremony, namely silver oil-burner 110, silver khoryug, silver bumpa, thankas of Neten Chudrug and decorations made of costly Chinese silk/brocade like Ladrey, Chodzey, Tenkhep and Chenzig. Thus the sheydras and drupdeys are now both internally and externally well equipped. For this, all credit goes to Ashi Chuni Wangmo and Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Kesang Wangchuck, to whom we humbly express our sincere and wholehearted gratitude. Their generous and devoted contributions will be engraved in the religious annals of the country. When we read the namthars of our saints, we find that this is the particular place where the greatness of the Palden Drukpa tradition flourished without decline. This is the sacred place where the Golden Wheel of Spiritual and Temporal laws were first turned, which brought glory to our country. Whatever is here recorded, though brief, has been written at the command of Her Majesty the Queen Mother. It is not a work of imagination, but has been scrupulously compiled by referring to authentic historical sources. To speak for myslef, however, I know nothing but what has been passed down through the histories and biographies of our revered scholars and saints. 49
HISTORY OF HAS (HA) VALLEY Ven. Lam Pema Tshewang Has (Ha) is situated in the west of the sandalwood Kingdom near Sikkim or the Hidden-Land Rice Valley. It is blessed with the presence of the three Boddhisatvas-Manjusri, Avalokitesvara and Vajrapani - the manifestations of all the Buddhas, who protect the three classes of beings, namely, the gods, the demi-gods and the humans that reside here. From this valley came forth sages who constructed two temples here, one of which was black and the other white. This sacred site, with its three ridges, is called Miri Punsum, meaning 'The Three Brothers' of Hills. When the statue of Amitabha Buddha was in the process of being erected as the main sacred object in the White Temple, a visitor came to sell the head of the statue. The sculptor tried to fit the head to the torso, to which it straightaway stuck as if drawn by a magnet. The head, as can be seen even today, is slightly bent and somewhat large in proportion to the body. The main object in the black Temple - Jovo (Buddha) - is likewise very sacred. It is said that both the Temples were built by a carpenter who was the manifestation of the Tibetan King Srongtsan Gampo. According to the story, the Temples were built at the same time as the Kyerchu Temple. However, it is certain that the Temples were constructed miraculously. Just near the rock called Ri-chabkha of Ha Gonpa, a long time ago, a man was making farm implements when he heard some orchestral sounds comprising oboes, trumpets, etc. coming from inside the rock. On looking at the rock, he saw seven pigeons feeding on grains. He carried on his work till he heard the sounds again. Looking up, he once more saw the Chief Abbot, Nimalung Monastery, Bumthang 50
History of Ha Valley seven pigeons. The whole process was repeated once again, at which the man hurled the fork of a plough at the pigeons, turning one lame while the rest flew away. In the evening the man returned home, and at night he saw a fire burning at the other side of his house at a place called Simipang. The next night he saw the same thing, so on the third morning he visited the site of the fire to find out what was happening. There he saw the lame pigeon and brought it home. He built a temple and offered the pigeon as the Jnanasattva of the main statue of the temple. It is said that the lame pigeon was one of the Bodhisattvas, but that in view of our ignorance it was not seen as such. Similarly, in earlier times Asanga (Thogme) saw Lord Matreya in the form of a diseased dog. Every year on the 10th day of the 11th month, liturgical ceremonies of Amitabha Buddha and Dharmapala Mahakala of old tradition, along with its dance, are performed at the temple of Ha Gonpa. Sri Kila Vajra Kumara, a tutelary deity, appeared with wings at the ground floor of a house at a place called 'Kipri' (corrupted form of Yipri, which derives its name from the phenomenon of the people there hiding themselves in shyness from the sight of Guru Rinpoche). The man in the house being unlucky and having no accumulation of merit threw some sticks to chase the deity away. The deity flew away and landed on an oak (bJishi) at Chubarna near the Black Temple. From there he again took off, flying above the Ha Dzong and perched on another oak tree at a village called Banyena. The inhabitants from two houses located infront of this oak tree invited Sri Vajra Kumara to their homes. The deity went to the upper house, at which the owner of the lower house became jealous and began quarrelling with his neighbour from the upper house. During the ensuing fight, one man 51
Journal of Bhutan Studies from the upper house was killed; and to compensate for the murder, a plot of land in front of the lower house was handed over to the owner of the upper house. Therefore, mystical practices of Kila Vajra are performed every year in the upper house for a week in the 11th month. Likewise, another Kila Vajra came flying to the Zang Lhakhang at Hechu. These miraculous Kila Vajra can be seen till today. On the left of Miri Punsum is a remarkable cave, from which, it is said that drops of real nectar can be seen falling when one prays there. On the upper side of the chorten, at a place called Kipri Buedokha, there is a big lump of stone on whose side there is a clear impression of Guru Padmasambhava's body and hat. The impression is exactly similar to that at the Kurje in Bumthang. It is also believed that the Guru's riding horse Balaha was tied to this stone, and the mark of the hold used for the purpose is still visible on the stone. In olden times, there was a demon who changed into a serpent and attempted to create obstacles in Guru Rinpoche's path. Guru Rinpoche subdued the demon and transformed the serpent into a smaller stone next to the big one mentioned above. Hence, Jungneydrag of Ha is also a part of Paro Bumdrag which is said to be the sacred residence of 100,000 dakinis. Below the bridge of Has (Ha) Samarpudung, there is the lake of a wishing cow containing a stone on which udders can be seen. Below this, at about the range of an arrow shot, there is the lake of the ox. One ox appeared from this lake and spread its breed in the five areas of Samar valley. That is why, even now, Samar has more cattle than other valleys of Ha. 52
History of Ha Valley On the other side of the rocky precipice of Has (Ha) Kartsho temple is another monastery called Tagchu monastery. If one looks out from Tagchu towards Kartsho rock, the shape of the rocky precipice is that of a lion sitting up with its head towards Kartsho and its tail towards Dumchog Dzong. The word 'Has' connotes esoterism: the valley was blessed as a hidden land by Guru Rinpoche, and is therefore like a mirror covered by the vapour of one's breathe. That is why phenomena like the hearing of orchestral sounds from the rock of Ri chabkha have been possible here. During the 8th century A.D. or towards the beginning of the 9th century, Guru Rinpoche performed the 5th series of Avalokitesvara's abhisekha ceremony at the cave of Gyon -yulpal. At that time the local deity Chungdue, accompanied by many other evil deities, created miraculous disasters like the falling of meteors, cyclones, fires, burning lakes, splitting of rocks, gnashing of forests, trembling of mountains, rolling down of hills, etc. In answer, Guru Rinpoche brandished the golden Vajra in space, at which all the evil spirits fell unconscious. When Chungdue became conscious, he turned out to be a small turquoise-coloured boy wearing the Vajratira, and prostrating himself before the Guru, addressed him thus, "We are all your subjects. We pledge to dedicate our lives to your service. We shall be the protectors of the Buddhist doctrine." Guru Rinpoche accepted the offer, and with the command "So be it", gave Chungdue his blessings. These references can be found in Pema Lingpa's Book of Revelations titled "Thuji Chenpo Muensel Droen-me". Since Chungdue received Guru Rinpoche's audience and his religious teachings, he is included among the deities of the Tantrik mandala. He is therefore the local deity of Has (Ha) valley at par with the local deity of Zorarakye of Hidden land of Khenpajong. 53
Journal of Bhutan Studies During the 15th century A.D. when Drubchen Thangtong Gyelpo was staying at Phari, Chungdue invited this great siddhi to Bhutan. Drubchen Thangtong Gyelpo visited Upper and Lower Has valley, Thimphu, Punakha and Paro. Also in the 15th century, Terton Sherab Mebar came to the Has valley from Kham. While discovering treasures from the Nup-tsho-na-pa-tra (name of a lake), he took the lake into his mouth through his miraculous powers. Then he took out a trumpet, a drum, and a pair of cymbals from the bed of the lake. Also there was a golden pillar inside, which Sherab Mebar asked a carpenter to cut out for him so that he could take it to Paro Dzong. As a reward for doing the job, the carpenter was asked to take the shavings of the pillar. But the carpenter was greedy and cuts the pillar in such a way that whole chunks dropped off from it. As ill luck would have it, the lake escaped from the mouth of Terton Sherab Mebar. The lake then ran after Terton. He threw away the drum while he tried to escape from it. But the lake followed in hot pursuit. Like he did with the drum, the Terton slowed down the onward rush of the lake by flinging before it, the drumstick, the trumpet, and a part of cymbal; and as he kept running, he eventually reached the Labdza of Tshellutsho. There, Chungdue appeared in person, and negotiated an agreement of peace whereby, it is said, the Terton and his followers should never set foot in Ha Shogona. In return, the deity of the lake was forbidden from crossing Labdza. Thus the followers of Terton of Paro Pangmisa do not have any relationship with the people of Ha Shogona. In later time, a man from Shogona married a girl from Pangmisa. The couple gave birth to a child. The couple thought that there would be no harm in going to Shogona as husband belonged to it. Accordingly, they set out. While crossing a footbridge over the river the knot of the wrapper in which the child was carried suddenly opened on its own in the middle of the wooden-bridge. The child fell into the river and was carried away. 54
History of Ha Valley It is therefore believed that anyone attempting to break the agreement negotiated by Chungdue does so at great personal risk. The remaining cymbal of the pair discovered by Terton Sherab Mebar from the bed of Nuptshonapatra is one of the main internal sacred objects of Rinpung dzong of Paro. It is taken out once annually during the Tshechu festival in the second month, and can be seen on the occasion even today. At the bank of the rivulet of rJangana under the block of Ha Samarpudung, the She-Devil of Bjengana was subdued by sacred vajra lingam of Drukpa Kunley, the impression of which, like a mark made on clay, can be seen till today on a big chunk of stone. The tail of the Kuptshonapatra comes through the rock of Nyangtoekha. In ancient times, a boy of herdsman wearing a coarse yak-hair gho was tending cattle on the banks of the lake, when he accidentally drowned in it. The boy's gho was found three months later in the water coming through the rock of Nyangtoekha. As this place abounded in fish, many fishermen used to come here, and one day one of them caught the gho while fishing. In this way, it was proved that the water coming through the rock of Nyangtoekha is the tail of the Nuptshonapatra. In the Ha valley, there are four great monasteries, namely, Tangchu Gonpa, Gyadue Gonpa, Kartsho Gonpa and Yangdag Gonpa, and four other small Gonpas: Goensarkha, Tsuenpitshangna, Dragnadhingkha and Jungneydrag. According to Drubthob Thangtong Gyelpo, the name of the valley is Has (pronounced Hay). Likewise, a saying of rJe Yonten Thaye has it that there is no trace of impediments of obstacles in the Hidden-Land valley of Has. 55
Journal of Bhutan Studies The origin of this name is further stated to have been confirmed by the Venerable Polokhen Rinpoche Dorji through his disciple Geshey Lungrig Nima. This brief history of Has has been prepared on the command of Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Kesang Choden Wangchuck, in consultation with Geshey Lungrig Nima, Lopon Zhuedagpa, and DzoeponWangchuk. 56
GUIDE TO CHANG GANGKHA MONASTERY Ven. Lam Pema Tshewang Obeisance to Drukgom Zhigpo, Forerunner of the Glorious Palden Drukpa tradition, manifestation of Avalokitesvara, and essence of compassion of all the Buddhas, who appeared in person in the land of the Glorious Drukpa to benefit sentient beings. Obeisance to the Zhigpo, manifestation of Buddha Samantabhadra or Kuntu Zangmo's embodiment Macik Lapdroen, who appeared in this land of Ten Accomplished Virtues and left this earthly existence for her heavenly abode without losing her human form. Obeisance to Nyima (Surya) who excelled in both means and wisdom and continued both the religious and family lineages. Having paid my deep respects to the Father, Mother and the sons who introduced the spiritual and temporal traditions of the pe erless Palden Drukpa, I shall now write down a brief history of the Chang Gangkha monastery in Thimphu Valley. Before writing about the monastery, we have to trace back its history to the father of its founder. Father of the Founder Phajo Drukgom Zhigpo, who was the incarnation of Avalokitesvara, was born in Tashigang Dokham (Eastern Tibet). After having taught him all the teachings of the Glorious Drukpa, Oenrey Dharma Sengye spoke to him thus: "Before passing away, my teacher Tsangpa Gyarey gave me Chief Abbot, Nimalung Monastery, Bumthang 57
Journal of Bhutan Studies the following instruction: "After my death a boy form Kham will come to meet me. Since I cannot meet him, send him to the Southern Valley blessed by Padmasambhava. He will benefit the Doctrine of the Buddha. However, I did not tell you about this until now, as I was afraid that it might make you arrogant". Oenrey Dharma Sengye then took a portion of the skull of a hero who had practised religion extensively. He filled it with nectar, dropped into it a hundred and eight nectar pills, and handed it over to Phajo Drukgom Zhigpo. He also gave him books like mani Kabum, Ronyom Kordrung and the rosary of Boddhichitta. Finally, he said, "These are my gifts on the auspicious occasion of your departure. The last teaching I gave you as a present is: recognize your mind as Dharmakaya (Chos -sku)". He continued, "Go to the valley called Thimphu. At the confluence of three rivers, construct a hut for meditation on the throne of the immutable Vajrasana, and raise the victory banner of realization. In future, the tutelary de ity will appear to you in person. Act according to his instruction. That is all I, Oenrey, have to say." Having finished speaking, he blessed Drukgom Zhigpo with his feet. While wishing him farewell, he remarked, "Any act which benefits sentient beings should be done even if it looks like a sin. Any act, which harms sentient beings, should not be committed even if it appears to be a virtuous deed on the face of it." Drukgom Zhigpo thus arrived in Bhutan in 1219 A.D. Mother of the Founder It is said in the book of Soedep: "Listen to the story of my successive lives. I, Macik, am called Sangwai Yeshey (GyhyaJnana = divine wisdom of the mystics) in the realm of Dharma; Yigye Drukma (the six-syllable prayer = OM-MA-NIPAD-ME-HUM) in the sphere of compassion; Sukhasiddhi in 58
Guide to Chang Gangkha Monastery India; Bhero Zangmo in Nepal; Macik Labdroen in Tibet; and Khandro Zhigmo in Bhutan. Thus I am the incarnate illusory dancer of both in appearance and in emptiness." Sonam Paldon, incarnation of Macid Labdroen, was born around 1199 A.D. at Wang-Sinmo in Thimphu district. Founder of the Monastery Drukgom Zhigpo begot seven children through Sonam Paldon. He placed them all on a slab of wood, and upturned them into the rushing river. While three of them were carried away by the river, the remaining four sons were miraculously saved. Among them was one who was found sitting in the serene posture of meditation on a hill, with the sun as his mat; and from the sky, a voice spoke thus: "The Protector of sentient beings, Essence of Compassion, is in the state of tranquility. The sun shines for the glory of all sentient beings. Nyima, the Incarnate One, is here." The place where he was found was previously known as Gangri, but after his appearance there, the name was changed to Boelgang (Hill of Tranquility). This was the son Nyima, where supernatural powers prevented him from drowning. When Drukgom Zhigpo was 65 to 66 years old, he appointed his sons as lamas and chieftains in different areas. Nyima was given to rule the two districts of Gung and Chang in addition to the border areas. Gyenyen Domtshangpa who, having been subjugated by Padmasambhava, took an oath of becoming the protector of the religion guards Chang Gangkha. It is the place where Drukgom Zhigpo and members of his family were protected. 59
Journal of Bhutan Studies In the book of Karchag it is said: "Thed (Punakha) and Thimphu are extraordinary places. The auspicious wealthy village (of Chang Gangkha) is like a statue. If we look up at it from below, it is like a country of gods that has descended to the earth. If we look down at it from above, it is like a country that has sprung up from the Naga's world, where horses and cattle abound. If we view it from the side, it looks like a smooth plain where peace and happiness are assembled. At its middle, it is like a king's palace where boys and girls romp around and play. In the forest of fruit trees in the upper valley, live animals like the tiger, leopard, and the monkey. In the lower valley, the water is possessed of eight attributes, and water-birds and fishes abound. In the middle valley, the land is extensively cultivated, and harvests of rice are good and plentiful. Oh, what a wonderful place it is." Because of Nyima's miraculous escape from death when he was thrown into the river, he first constructed his temple in the valley where this experience took place. When his father (Drukgom Zhigpo) was about to pass away, he sang a song to his sons to this effect: "Excellent sons, you incarnate ones who appeared in this world to benefit sentient beings, you are all practicing the Buddha's teaching with perfects understanding. You four, who are like lions and wish-fulfilling gems, listen to me. Thanks to the good karma of the past, I, Drukgom Zhigpo of Kham, entered into religious life and practised the essence of Great Perfection. Thanks to the power of prayer, I came to the central valley and met the master Oenrey Dharma Sengye. Under him, I practised the real essence of Sutras, Tantras, and Mahamudra. Dharma Sengye told me, "Manifestation of Avalokitesvara, Protector of sentient beings, do not stay here. Go to the south. Go to the country situated between India and Tibet and rich in incense and medicinal plants. Go to the upper valley of Thimphu, to the throne of the immutable Vajrasana where dakinis and dharmapalas gather like a cloud, and the wrathful tutelary deities reside in person. 60
Guide to Chang Gangkha Monastery Meditate there, and guide the sentient beings to the path of bliss. You, the lamp of religion, follow in the footsteps of other Bodhisattvas. Work diligently like a hero, and extend your activities everywhere. You, incarnate of the sons of the Buddhas, continue the work of your father." At dawn on the 5th day of the 1st month when Drukgom Zhigpo was 68 years old, four groups of dakinis appeared in the sky with white rainbows to receive Sonam Paldon, who ascended to heaven in her physical body. On the 15th day of the 8th month of the same year, Drukgom Zhigpo also passed away. To commemorate the death of his parents, Nyima undertook the task of enlarging the temple. Inside, he constructed a sitting statue of 11-faced Avalokitesvara. This life -size cast statue, made of either dzikshim or bronze, is quite unusual in so far as Drukgom Zhigpo had once manifested himself in this very sitting form, and the sculpture is said to be a faithful representation of this supernatural revelation. Nyima also made a statue of Hayafriva, which is the wrathful form of Avalokitesvara, tutelary deity of Drukgom Zhigpo. The Compassionate One manifests Himself in this form in order to subjugate the sentient beings whom it is difficult to convert by peaceful means. The statue is generally believed to be made of chuzang (copper), but the biography of Ngawang Pekar has it that the statue is made of dzikshim. The statue of Sonam Paldon was also made of the same material. He also made a slightly larger-than-life -size bronze statue of the Buddha, a life-size bronze statue of Manjusri, a gilded copper statue of Avalokitesvara in Nepalese style, a life -size clay statue of Vajrapani, clay statues of Avalokitesvara and Guru Rinpoche, and a life-size clay statue of Drukgom Zhigpo. 61
Journal of Bhutan Studies The holy scriptures of the monastery like the Boom GyeDring-Due-Sum the three i.e the detailed, the middling and the abridged compilations of both Satasahasrika and Astasahasrika Prajnaparamita Sutras (comprising 16 volumes of Satassahasrika Prajnaparamita Sutra: Nyingthri - 20,000 slokas in four volumes and 8,000 slokas in one volume respectively), and the Sangye Tshenbum (1,00,000 names of the Buddha) preserve the characteristics of the old Tibetan manuscripts, and are the original manuscripts of the 13th century A.D. In addition to these scriptures, the temple possesses a set of Narthang Kanjur in 100 volumes. The Temple was looked after by Successive Descendants of Nyima During the arrival of Jamyang Kunga Sengye in the 14th century A.D., he stayed at Chang Gangkha at the invitation of Lama Sonam Gyaltshen and gave religious teachings. In the 15th century, Ngawang Chogyal performed the consecration ceremony for the renovation work in the monastery. Also in the same century, Drukpa Kuenley came to Bhutan. He was invited to Chang Gangkha by Lama Penjor, who received from him many religious teachings. On the arrival of Ngagi Wangpo, elder son of Ngawang Chogyal, Kunga Zangpo, the Lama of Chang Gangkha offered religious services to him. Likewise, descendent upon descendent of Nyima took devoted care of the Monastery. In the 17th century, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal arrived in Bhutan and took as his spouse the young Damchoe Tenzin, sister of Choeje Kunga Pekar of Chang Gangkha. A daughter is said to have been born to them. Later, Damchoe Tenzin was married to Tshewang Tenzin. To them was born Gyalse Tenzin Rabgye, incarnation of Gyalpo Trisong Drutsan. Around this time, Druk Tshering was the Choeje of Chang 62
Guide to Chang Gangkha Monastery Gangkha. His son Ngawang Pekar entered the Monk Body, received the novitiate's vow (getshuel) from the 3rd rJe Khenpo Pekar Lhundup, and the full ordination (nyendzog = upasampada) from the 4th rJe Khenpo Damchoe Pekar. Having received from them numerous initiations, injunctions, etc. he subsequently became the tutor of Zhabdrung Choglay Namgyal and Choglay Sakya Tenzin. In the 18th century, during the reign of Gongsa Jigme Sangye and Lama Sherab Lhundrup, Choeje of Chang Gangkha at the ti me renovated the temple and made medicinal-clay statues of Amitayus, Drubchen Thangtong Gyalpo, and the incarnate son Nyima. This is the very same temple that survives today in Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan, where it remains one of the main centres for people's worship. I, Pema Tshewang, have collected the material for this account in consultation with various namthars and on the basis of interviews with sources knowledgeable on the matter. This history has been written under the command of Her Majesty The Queen Mother, Ashi Kesang Choden Wangchuck. 63
THE HIDDEN VALLEY-LANGDRANEY Lhundup Translator's Note This booklet on the Hidden Land of the Great Teacher and persevere of Buddhism, Ugyen Guru Padma Jungney (Lotus born) extracted by Lhundup from the mythological biography of Dorji Lingpa, the Discoverer of the Hidden Treasures, was presented to me by Lama, Lungten Tulku of Penjorechholing, Wangdiphodrang. According to his statement, he maintains that the Hidden Land of Hidden Treasures in Langdraney at Wangdiphodrang requires renovation and publicity for the pilgrimage. For the purpose of renovation, he intends to acquire individual contribution from the volunteers and because of its popularity, he desires that the text be translated into English also. In spite of my limited experience and knowledge on Bhutanese mythology, on Lama Lungten Tulku's request and my personal desire to give a helping hand, I have attempted this translation, which I trust is informative. I have also attempted to improve the interpretation with the view to reach the message of Guru Rinpoche to all readers. While I dedicate this booklet to the cause of Buddhist religion and to further strengthen the existing peace and tranquility in this Land of Medicines, I welcome any corrections and suggestions from readers. May the Blessing of The Great Teacher fall on all the readers. 64
The Hidden Valley-Langdraney Detailed Description of the Sacred Place, "Langdra" the Hidden Valley, for the Pilgrims The following is a detailed description of the Hidden Valley "Langdra" (The valley of the heavenly world) or "Wogmin Chhoing" of the Teacher Padma Jungney. The heavenly world has the nature of spiritual adoration and brings blessings to the faithful who shall be cleansed of the sins of this perishable life. Not having been born from the impurity of the womb, but emerging from the heart of the pure Lotus He had obtained his heavenly body from the rainbow and had been transformed into the Lotus. He is entertained by gatherings of heavenly be ings. Honour be to Ugyen, whose teachings are interpreted hereunder and are dedicated to the Great Teacher widely known as Padma Siddhi. The sacred place Wogmin Chhoing is blessed by the presence of the magnificent Kuntu Zangpo, while the enlightened Wodpagmey is firmly settled in Dewachen (valley of peace and tranquility) and Chenrezig, the affectionate one, presides over, Rirortala (Mountains of Potala) The Lotus born Padma Jungney, who is immortal, is now in Ngayabling (the land of the Yak's Tail). May the fortunate living beings of this world be guided to the palace of Zangdog Pelri (the peak of Copper Mountain) by you Lord Ugyen. 65
Journal of Bhutan Studies Living in this era of perishability (Buddha's Era) and in this place, which is superior to all other places of meditation (Drupney), where the mother of all the angels (Dakima) is gathered. This natural place of splendor and sanctity which is called "Langdraney" and which is similar to the burial ground of Silwaitshel in India (cool forest in India) is surrounded by five valleys, one region, three provinces and four mountains. There are hundreds and thousands of great sacred places and hidden treasures covering almost all the hills. Amongst all these places there is one distinctive rocky spot and anyone meditating there shall without doubt achieve the fulfillment of all his sacred dreams. There is no doubt that he who meditates here shall attain peace at the time of his departure from this world. The flesh, the blood and the body shall be transformed into the celestial colours of the rainbow and the soul shall ascend towards the heavenly world of Lord Buddha. The hill behind appears like Ugyen Padma on the throne. The hill in front is like a golden mandala offering, while the ones to the right and to the left are like rows of Pandits (learned ones) and the forest trees are like angels bearing offerings. Monkeys and Langoors are seen happily playing on the branches while the birds sing in many sweet voices; the whole of this place of heavenly meditation gives a vision of a heavenly world of natural creation. The central mountain which almost touches the sky forms the mighty figure of Lord Indra (Jajin) who is surrounded by Manaka the daughters of Amitabhs. They entertain and preach while on auspicious days the celestial beings (Amitabhs) from heaven and serpents (klu) bathe in the pond formed at the inner most part of the valley. On the slope of the hill, the demi gods and demi goddesses 66
The Hidden Valley-Langdraney (Pawo and Pamos) assemble by day and night and practice continually the teachings. And on the left side of this marvelous place flows the stream of immortality by the drinking of which one is bound to live for a hundred years. In this place there are three lonely places of meditation where gathers the heavenly beings who have attained nirvana. He who reaches this place is bound to achieve nirvana. Just having in mind the vision of this place is bound to close the gate of hell. He who sees it is bound to be purified of a lifetime's accumulation of sins. Should any fortunate be ings visit and meditate here they shall certainly have the opportunity to see their deities and increase the power of their knowledge. Honour be to the Great Teacher! There begins the next stage of interpretation relating to the sacred place. Maha Guru Padma Jungney the protector and the immortal while watching from the land of the Yak's Tail (Ngayabling) observed that the people, had degenerated and were forgetting the ten virtues and performing only the ten evil deeds whereby the life span was decreasing and poverty was spreading all over. He could not tolerate the situation. Especially when he happened to visit this land of medicines (Bhutan) at the very time of visiting Langdra province to prophesies his hidden treasures, he had assumed the physical appearance of a poor old man. The people of the village near to Langdraney said that they had a new guest among them whereby the village was named as Gongsakhar (village of new guest). 67
Journal of Bhutan Studies The Teacher had taken rest at a rocky place where he magically left the impression of his body in the rock. During the second month of the year when the land was dry Ugyen had magically drawn drinking water from dry soil. Thereafter he had visited the upper part of the village where the people had offered him milk and to this day the place is known as Momainang (milky place). Here one can even today see the secret cave of the Dakinis. He traveled further into the valley and at any place, which is now the hidden valley he had planted his walking stick at random with his prayer that it should grow if the prediction for his hidden treasure should be in order or else should wither and die. Even today it can be seen that his sandalwood walking stick has grown into a tree of prodigious height. Today the Tsenden Tsechu (religious performance in honour of sandal wood) is performed in his honour. Beyond the sandalwood trees, one can even today see in the stone the hand and foot prints of the Teacher, and the temple over there is now called (Temple of Foot Prints) Shabjey Lhakhang. At the far end of the valley one can see four sacred gates containing countless offerings and this place is called the sacred place of Ugyen Padma. On a later occasion he happened to be resting on a level piece of grassy ground naturally decorated by various type of flowers and trees. Here, the evil ones had attempted to harm the Teacher but the Teacher's miraculous flames burnt these evil spirits and since that time the place is known as Segpaithang (the burnt ground). As a symbolic of his teachings a conch shell trumpet in the centre of the ground has been transformed into a conch trumpet ­ like boulder, which is called the Dodungkar (the conch trumpet boulder). 68
The Hidden Valley-Langdraney Here one can see the secret cave of medication, the holy water and the holy seat of the Teacher Ugyen. The Teacher had then meditated for seven days and nights in this place of Langdra. During this time the host demon Langdra had appeared in the form of a reddish black Bull with tremendous strength of destruction and had threatened to destroy the three worlds. Responding to the miraculous threat of the Bull the Teacher transformed himself into Padjung Dorji (Thunder Bolt Lotus Born) bearing a sword in his right hand and he destroyed the Bull by killing it and cutting it into pieces. The soul then begged mercy of the Teacher and promised to care for the well-being of the faithful. The Teacher had accepted his plea and had blessed the demon bull and awarded him the name Gaynyen Langdra meaning Deity Bull Rock. After his defeat the reddish black Bull was instructed by the Teacher to take care of the establishment of Buddhism forever. After instructing the reddish black Bull the Teacher had transformed him with his thunderbolt into a huge boulder. Even today one can see the Teachers sword and the reddish black Bull changed into a boulder at the northeastern side of this place. Thereafter the Teacher had hidden fifty different secret treasures. Honour be to the Teacher ! This place is roofed with golden religious wheels of a thousand spokes. The seven chiefs are on the right with the natural rock umbrella on top and on the left side are the eight lucky signs. In front of this marvelous rock is the natural scripture of Jangchub Tungshag. In the foreground is a rock naturally formed into the five signs of wisdom (Dodyon Nga). 69
Journal of Bhutan Studies On the east border of this sacred place is the gate of Manjushri guarded by Yama the destroyer. Cha-nga Dorji's gate is to the south with Dudtsi Khilwa as the guard while western gate of the goddess Yudonmo is guarded by Eka Zati. The northern border has the gate of Chenrezig (Awaloketaswaraya) with Tadin (Horse neck) as the guard. In the centre of the four gates are the Dakinis namely Dorji Khandu, Rinchen Khandu, Pema Khandu and Leki Khandu. And in the other four directions, there are four more gates. In the southeast is the gate of the sage Ngamjed. In the southwest that of the Demon figure (Srinmo) Rozen. In the northwest is that of Chongjed, the god of wind (Lunglha) and to the northeast is the gate of the powerful god of cleverness (Dagpo Tseljin). Outside these gates there are eight burial places surrounded by the flames of the thunderbolt. At the entrance to this place are boulders pointing to the sky inside which lies the sacred treasure of all the wild and sober teachings. At a distance of the three miles from this meditating place is the skull lake where the hermits have obtained peace of mind. At the end of the skull lake is the wild soul lake of the protector against devils where the evil foes are destroyed. Towards the northwest side lies the milky bath spring of the Dakini Leki Khandu. It is said that whoever bathes in this spring being the sacred place of all the Dakinis shall be cleansed of the sins committed by him. To the south rests the figure of Yama with its mouth wide open as if coated by a lake of reddish black blood. Inside is the seat of the dreadful Yamantaka. One can also see a rocky place giving a bright light like the eyes of the twin Dakinis (Nima and Dawa) the sun and the moon. At the end there is a black rock from where the wild surge of water like a curling mane falls down the lake of black Tiparatsa (The Naga Devil). One is not supposed to let his shadow fall on this lake nor should the water be drunk. One mile further on is a triangular poison lake of reddish black colour. If one sees this 70
The Hidden Valley-Langdraney lake he will suffer from unhappiness and hence one has to walk so as to avoid this lake. Here too, one should not let his shadow fall on the lake nor should one speak a word while beside it. To the left is the square shaped golden lake. If the person visiting this lake is fortunate enough he shall be blessed with something or other by way of a gift. But if one is a sinner, he is in danger of an untimely death. About one mile further on is the image of the Lake's Goddess Shelkar Dorji Tshodel holding the crystal bowl of nectar (amrit) which is the drink of gods. Honour be to the Teacher ! Inside the palace of this place of Wogmin Chhoing (the heavenly place) one can also see the distinctive red coloured figure of Awaloketeswaraya, which is also found in Mani Kaboom. Later, the founder of the great hidden treasure, Dorji Lingpa, had derived the sacred scripts such as Zabchoi Shhithro, Gongpa Rangdol, Ngyensong Kunchob, Khorwa Rangdol, Thori Dhedo, etc. The teachings of today in the Nyingmapa sect were spread from these scriptures. In this sacred place of heavenly beings Wogmin Chhoing one can also see a rock on which has been naturally formed an image of the thunderbolt (Dorji Jadrum). Underneath the image lies a detailed description of the place written with golden ink on black paper. At the junction of the hills is the lake Chabchen Tsho at the centre of which is the Teacher's Hat under which lies the Golden Horse Head, the key. At auspicious times in the future the hidden sacred place could be opened with this key and then a similar type of description of the sacred place would be discovered. Further more, sixty different hidden treasures will be discovered. 71
Journal of Bhutan Studies To the left side of this place is the place of meditation where we can see the elevated seat of the Teacher with the imprint of his hand and foot on the rock. During the nights of the Full Moon the Dakinis would gather there to make their offerings and play guiters, flutes and drums the sounds of which are said to be head only by those who are blessed and devoted. While listening to this music with a pious mind if one remembers the teachings of the Teacher he is sure to have a vision of the Teacher at once. In this sacred place one can see the natural formation of a fearsome lion; the natural formation of ferocious tiger poised to attack; the riding horse of the glorious Dorji Drolo. One can also see the natural formation of a hermit's cave and a hillock resembling a heap of precious jewels. When the Treasurer Dorji Lingpa had first visited here he had meditated for seven nights and on the seventh night had dreamed that a beautiful and attractive young woman adorned with all the finest of ornaments had come to him holding a bowl of treasure. She had then pointed her forefinger towards the rock and had guided his sight towards the rock where he had seen a princely being in the midst of a rainbow who had then spoken to him in the words: Dorji Lingpa, my son, do not leave this place; In the midst of these rocks you are destined to find the hidden treasure; These are the blessings of the mother and Dakinis. In this sacred place of Buddha The blessings of the Teacher Ugyen have brought you here And you are destined to attain salvation (Nirvana). So saying the figure had disappeared like the rainbow. Immediately he awoke and recollected his dreams, and understanding the teachings of the Teacher, the Treasurer had then continued his meditation for seven months. On the 72
The Hidden Valley-Langdraney morning of the tenth day of the eighth month (Monkey month) he had sensed the sweet smell of something that had never before existed. Suddenly he had a vision of the Teacher on the rock in front of him and in his sweet voice had spoken the following words: AH ! Not the one that shone on this earth But in the heavenly space; The most known transformation of Lord Buddha Is the Cheku, In solitude of this nature You should know that This can be felt everywhere And no where too. This is my secret talk to you! Human body ­ the product of ten virtues And eight stages of relaxation Is rarely obtained. (So), use it properly (spiritually) for the next life. Keep this in your mind as my secret advice! Life of human body Consisting of flesh, blood, warmth and respiration, Is as uncertain as your presence in a market place; So buy the best at the earliest For the rope of Yama (The Lord of Death) May catch you any time. This life is like a dream Keep this in your mind as my secret talk. Worries in these six worlds Are like that of the whirl of a spindle; No matter how much peace you see It is surrounded by worries Think about this world's misery And guide these beings to the world of Cheku; This is my secret advice to you. 73
Journal of Bhutan Studies While guiding these beings Towards tranquility of mind, Never relax and look for happiness And make sure to meditate regularly; Which is my secret advice to you. Three steps of meditation performed in two ways Is the best path. Which will bring you to eighteen Zungjugs And enable you to transform. And attain the peace of mind. This is my secret advice. These teachings may thus be spread to all And be naturalized For the well being of living ones; This is my secret advice. ALALA HO ! I am the Teacher Lotus Born. I have the power to see the three tenses The attendant demi gods and goddesses have supernatural power of blessing with superior values; At the far end of the semicircular rock there is the treasure of teachings on immortality; In the rock like the lion the footprint of the Teacher exists; Towards the left hand of this sacred place At the lonely and fearful side is the Boar Headed Queen's Dorji (thunderbolt). In the rock like heaps of scriptures is the graceful sword of Namchag Wangmo. At the foot of the rock like offerings you will find Mother's sealed commandments and the ornaments for ears and hearts. In the demon-like rock the idol of Mila is seated; Further up above this place in the heaps of semicircular rock The scriptures of three classes are hidden 74
The Hidden Valley-Langdraney In the rock spread like that of religious cloths, the naked rocks spring You will see the pot of immortality. He who is fortunate enough to drink this water shall be blessed to live for a hundred years. In the abode of the relics of Buddha the Protector, the crystal box is full of offerings. In the hills clustered like weapons in war. The obedient Terdag (Treasure Owner) takes the seat. In front of this place is grassy land where the prints of dancing Dakinis can be seen. There is also the meditational seat of Namkha Nyingpo; There is the footprint of Dorji Phagmo (female thunde rbolt pig). In the secret place of the Dakinis There is treasure, the solution to poverty The treasures of purity and awareness are spread all over. Devotees with faith shall without doubt be able meet me (Urgyan) in the world of Lotus. Devotees with due honours and offering in any form, Shall not only have peace and receive the worldly blessings But shall also be born in the palace of Zangdog Pelri (heavenly World). In Devachen (heaven) shall they be born at their next birth. I have hidden sixty different types of treasures human beings, Wealth, Grains, Jewellery, Cattle, Cloths, Gold, Silver and various other valuables. So saying the Teacher had vanished alongwith the rainbow. The scripture Zab Choi Ngyensong Kun Chob was also derived by Dorji Lingpa at that time from the Rocks of Langdragney. Later, the meditatory place for hermits at Langdragney was ruined and His Holiness Jeykhempo Tenzin Namgyel had renovated the temple with idols and scriptures. The troublesome devils of that place were then cursed and handed 75
Journal of Bhutan Studies over to the Pamo (Demi-Goddess) Khamsum Sengye Dogma. Preserved until today is the nine pointed Dorji of the Dorji Lingpa who had received it in his dream from the (dancing) Padma Gargi Wangchuk. Also the foot and handprints of Dorji Lingpa are on the rock. His Holiness Jekhenpo Kuenga Sengye had also stayed in this place. The statement of the (Transformer) Tulku Jurmed Lhendup is under: Listen to me living beings; Blessed for certain actions This secret, hidden, peaceful place is blessed by the immortal Lotus Born for the prosperity of all livings beings; The place is blessed to give high values and high degrees during this lifetime. Just by staying in this place shall give love and affection, wisdom and peace of mind. Three years meditation in this place is better than meditating for a hundred years in other places; One month's meditation in this place is better than a year of meditation in other places; three nights meditation in this place is better than a month of meditation in other place. Whoever makes offerings over here is bound to be free from accidents and attain the world of immortality in the next incarnation. All generations are bound to live prosperously and attain the desired power. Especially in this land of medicines the seasons shall not fail and shall bring prosperity to the people. All types of diseases, draught, famine and wars shall decrease. The life span of the people shall increase and power and felicity shall be increasingly spread. Thus shall luck and happiness and good deeds be all over. 76
The Hidden Valley-Langdraney OH ! I, Lhundup having born in this era of perishability while at my young age of twenty-five years is blessed with this opportunity to go through the mythological biography of Dorji Lingpa. On the 15th day of this Monkey month, I set my pen to inscribe an extract of the above mythological biography about the sacred hidden land of Langdra for the benefit of the perishable beings. SARWAMANGALAM ! 77
PUBLICATIONS IN BHUTAN SINCE THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE ISBN AGENCY Sonam Kinga Introduction There has been a direct co-relationship between the printing industry and volume of publication in the country. Printing is not a new art. Traditional xylographic printing has been in existence for hundred of years in dzong and lhakhang. There, indigenous printing presses were established. Some of them still exist today. The National Library has a mini xylographic printing press and has about 10,000 wooden blocks covering about 20 religious texts. The construction of dzong in the 17th century and introduction of monastic syllabus across the country promoted the writings and publications of religious texts. The publishing industry in Bhutan has been gradually expanding and increasing their output over the last few years. The number of printers has shot up from just one in 1983 to about 65 as of June 2000 although 64% of them are concentrated in Thimphu. The approximate total output in the last ten years has been just over 600 publications (excluding school TEXT BOOKS). However, the rate of output has increased every year. Many printing and publishing houses are being established. But there has been no agency in Bhutan to co-ordinate and standardize use of identifying numbers for various publications. The need to streamline system of identification for publications along international standard has been long felt. Researcher, The Centre for Bhutan Studies 78
Publications in Bhutan The National ISBN Agency for Bhutan In many countries, the ISBN group agencies are located within national libraries or at publishers' associations. The Royal Government of Bhutan designated the Centre for Bhutan Studies as the ISBN agency responsible for the implementation of International Standard Book Numbering in Bhutan. In a circular issued on 9 August 1999, the Royal Government authorized the Centre to enter into contract with the International ISBN Agency in Berlin, Germany. Consequently, the Centre signed the contract in August 1999 whereby it undertook to fulfil the functions of the agency as postulated in the General Contract. Scope of ISBN The purpose of this International Standard is to co-ordinate and standardize the use of identifying numbers so that each international standard book number (ISBN) is unique to a title or edition of a book or other monographic publication published or produced by a spe cific publisher or producer. It specifies the construction of an international standard book number and the location of the printed number on the publication. This International Standard is applicable to books and other monographic publications, which may include: printed books and pamphlets (and their various bindings or formats), mixed media publications, other similar media including educational films/videos and transparencies, books on cassettes, microcomputer software, electronic publications, microform publications, braille publications, and maps. ISBN Seminar A seminar was organized at the Centre for Bhutan Studies on April 28, 2000 to introduce the concept and use of ISBN to publishers in Bhutan. About 40 participants attended the seminar. Authors, publishers and printers have been 79
Journal of Bhutan Studies enquiring and applying for ISBN numbers ever since. In administering the ISBN system in Bhutan, the Centre for Bhutan Studies has been able to fulfil one of its mandates as a clearinghouse for various information and publications in Bhutan. An in-house seminar was held in September 2001 to enhance capabilities of the staff of the Centre to improve ISBN administration. Popularity of ISBN It is only two years since the National ISBN Agency for Bhutan was established. When the agency submitted its annual report in September last year, one year after its formal establishment, there were only 12 ISBNs issued to a total of six publishers. The second year saw a 100 % increase with 25 ISBN issued to different publishers. This does include the 200 ISBN issued to the Curriculum and Professional Support Division of the Department of Education, which is the largest publisher in the country. So far, 17 publishers have registered with the Agency. They comprise of commercial, governmental, non-governmental, institutional and international organizations. The Functions of the Agency The ISBN system is administered at three levels: international, national and within publishing houses. The National ISBN Agency is the Local Authority in ISBN matters and the interlocutor for all interested persons. The agency is responsible for promoting International Standard Book Numbering. Allocation of Publisher Prefixes to each Publisher - Commercial, Governmental and NonGovernmental, and Private, validation of ISBNs, Maintenance of Master Files and Registers, and Provision of individual ISBNs upon request are the main functions of the Agency. Allocating of ISBNs to Bhutan's Publishers is a free service 80
Publications in Bhutan undertaken by the Centre for Bhutan Studies to promote bibliographic standardization of Bhutan's Publishing output. Group Identifier for Bhutan An international standard book number consists of ten digits made up of four parts: a group identifier, publisher identifier, title identifier and a check digit. The group identifier is allocated by the International ISBN Agency. A group is a national or geographical entity or one based on language or other conveniences. It varies in length from group to group according to the volume of publication of the group concerned. The publisher or producer identifier is allocated internally within the group, by the national agencies. It varies in length according to the title output of the publisher or producer concerned. After considering the approximate volume of publication in the last ten years, Bhutan has been given the group identifier 99936. Hence, all books published in the country will have their ISBNs beginning with these five digits. The Publisher Prefix Range In consultation with the publishing houses, the group/national agency has to decide and fix the Publisher Prefix Ranges. The fixing of the range is necessary because various computerized order fulfilment and inventory control systems in many countries are set up based on the ISBN system. These ranges are not equal in every country, because they are adapted to the local circumstances of publishing houses: a country with only a few large publishing houses needs only a few one or two digit publisher prefixes and more with three or four digits. The ranges should be fixed in a manner that there are enough publisher prefixes with ISBNs being sufficient for book numbering within a period of about 10 to 15 years. Publisher should be assigned a one-digit prefix in case the publisher publishes a lot of titles in a year, 81
Journal of Bhutan Studies
or a prefix with more digits in case only a few titles are published in several years. Publisher Prefix Range for Bhutan
The following is the range fixed for Bhutan. 0 10-59 600-999
Publisher Prefix Title Identifiers Number of
ISBNs available to
(Identifier) Range (from..to)
publishers prefixes each publisher
The distribution of publisher prefix ranges gives Bhutan 451 publisher prefixes. In other words, the range can accommodate 451 publishers in the country.
1 publisher prefix with 1000 ISBNs, i.e 0 has been given to the Curriculum and Professional Support Division of the Department of Education. It is assumed that in a period of ten years, the Division would publish books with 1000 different titles.
50 publisher prefixes with 100 ISBNs are 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 etc...58, 59. This prefix is given to those publishers who would publish books with hundred different titles in a period of ten years.
400 prefixes with 10 ISBNs: 600, 601, 602, 603 etc...998, 999
Based on the volume of production from 1990-1999, which approximately adds up to 628 titles, it has been assumed that a total of 10,000 different books would be published in the country. The publisher prefix range for Bhutan would therefore, accommodate 451 publishers and 10,000 titles in the next ten years.
Publications in Bhutan Conclusion Modern printing began when Kuensel was first started as an internal government bulletin in 1967. The Royal Government also started developing and publishing books for schools beginning 1985. The responsibility was delegated to the Text Book Division of the Education Department. It is now taken over by the Curriculum and the Profession Support Division. Although the government encourages printing industry by making it mandatory for all government departments to award printing works to them, the scope of such industry is still limited. Many printing presses are poorly equipped and cannot meet technical printing requirements. However, publishers in the country overcome technical limitations by having publications printed in India. So far, 11 publishers have been issued ISBN in the publisher prefix range 600-999, five in the range 10-59 and 1 under the prefix 0. Of the 17 publishers listed with the National ISBN Agency, seven are author -publishers, two commercial, six governmental and two non-governmental publishers. Although private and commercial publishers are now taking over, the government organizations have been the major publishers in the country. 83
Journal of Bhutan Studies
List of ISBNs Issued to Publishers in Bhutan Between September 1999 and August 2001
ISBN Issued within the Publishers Prefix Range 600-999
Karma Temphel 1 ISBN 99936-601-0-8 N. Gyamtsho
Department of Aid and 2 ISBN 99936-602-0-5 Debt Management
Title Bhutan-The Odiyan Development Towards Gross National Happiness
3 ISBN 99936-604-0-X Chang Dorji
Druk Gi Datsed
4 ISBN 99936-605-0-7 World Wildlife Fund
My Picture Dictionary
Sales Tax, Customs
and Exchange Act of
Department of Revenue & The Kingdom of
5 ISBN 99936-606-0-4 Customs
Bhutan, 2000
6 ISBN 99936-607-0-1 Pema Graphics
Ngi Ming Tsig
7 ISBN 99936-607-1-X Pema Graphics
8 ISBN 99936-607-2-8 Pema Graphics
Ga Ti Dhug
9 ISBN 99936-607-3-6 Pema Graphics
Dhi Ga Chi Ina
10 ISBN 99936-610-0-7 Aum Rabecca Pradhan 11 ISBN 99936-610-1-5 Aum Rabecca Pradhan 12 ISBN 99936-612-0-1 Dasho Sherub Thayee
Wild Rhododendron of Bhutan Threatened Birds In Bhutan Drukgi Lozay
13 ISBN 99936-612-1-X Dasho Sherub Thayee
Jidpai Lekshed Dhang Lapja
14 ISBN 99936-615-0-3 Ministry of Agriculture 15 ISBN 99936-615-1-1 Ministry of Agriculture
The Pesticides Act of Bhutan, 2000 The Seeds Act of Bhutan 2000
16 ISBN 99936-616-0-0 Dr.Yonten Dargye
History of Drukpa Kagyud School in Bhutan
17 ISBN 99936-618-0-5 Dasho Sithey Dorji
Mask Dances of Bhutan
Publications in Bhutan
ISBN Issued within the Publisher Range 10-59
1 ISBN 99936-10-00-3 KMT Press
Title Drukpai Chamgi Goden Selshed
2 ISBN 99936-10-00-3 KMT Press
Drugpai Chamgi Goden Selshed
3 ISBN 99936-10-01-1 KMT Press 4 ISBN 99936-10-02-X KMT Press 5 ISBN 99936-10-03-8 KMT Press 6 ISBN 99936-10-04-6 KMT Press 7 ISBN 99936-10-05-4 KMT Press 8 ISBN 99936-10-06-2 KMT Press 9 ISBN 99936-10-06-2 KMT Press 10 ISBN 99936-10-07-0 KMT Press 11 ISBN 99936-10-08-9 KMT Press
English-Dzongkha Tsigzed Sarp Thakor Lopjong Losar Thakor Lopdep Dangpa Thakor Lopedep Ngipa Thakor Lopdep Sumpa A Dance in the Clouds Tenpai Zedpa Dhordhi Dzongkhai Inkur NamZhag Nyerkhoi Namshed
12 ISBN 99936-11-00-5 Helvetas 13 ISBN 99936-12-00-6 DSB Enterprise 14 ISBN 99936-12-01-4 DSB Enterprise 15 ISBN 99936-12-02-2 DSB Enterprise 16 ISBN 99936-12-03-0 DSB Enterprise 17 ISBN 99936-12-04-9 DSB Enterprise
Swiss-Bhutan partnershipDevelopment Cooperation in Changing world The Divine and the Diabolic Dok Sel Dren Med Sherub Selwai Melong Yangchen Juedmang Tog Tog Gamo
The Biography of Phajo 18 ISBN 99936-17-00-8 National Library Drugom Zhigpo
Royal Audit 19 ISBN 99936-18-00-4 Authority
Report on the proceedings of the 4th Annual Conference
Royal Audit 20 ISBN 99936-18-01-2 Authority
In- house Training on professional development in Auditing
Royal Audit 21 ISBN 99936-18-02-0 Authority
Training on the Rule of Law and Auditing
Journal of Bhutan Studies
ISBN Issued to CAPSD, Department of EducationPublisher Prefix Range: 0
1 ISBN 99936-0-000-8 Losar Lobdep
2 ISBN 99936-0-001-6 Lopdep Dangpa
3 ISBN 99936-0-002-4 Lopdep Zhepa
4 ISBN 99936-0-003-2 Lopdep Ngapa
5 ISBN 99936-0-004-0 Lopdep Drukpa
6 ISBN 99936-0-005-9 Lopdep Duenpa
7 ISBN 99936-0-006-7 Lopdep Gaypa
8 ISBN 99936-0-007-5 Gaysel Laglen
9 ISBN 99936-0-008-3 Ashi Nangsa
10 ISBN 99936-0-009-1 Lekshey Langdor Shinjey
11 ISBN 99936-0-010-5 Khandro Drowa Zangmo
12 ISBN 99936-0-011-3 Shetring
13 ISBN 99936-0-012-1 Chushingi Toenchoe
14 ISBN 99936-0-013-X Chim Nangi La, Class I - X
15 ISBN 99936-0-014-8 Dechen and Dorji (Big Book)
16 ISBN 99936-0-015-6 Dechen and Dorji's Father (Big Book)
17 ISBN 99936-0-016-4 The Dog and the Monkey (Big Book)
18 ISBN 99936-0-017-2 Look for Me (Big Book)
19 ISBN 99936-0-018-0 DEDP Teacher's Manual (II)
20 ISBN 99936-0-019-9 DEDP Teacher's Manual (III)
21 ISBN 99936-0-020-2 DEDP Teacher's Manual (IV)
22 ISBN 99936-0-021-0 DEDP Teacher's Manual (V)
23 ISBN 99936-0-022-9 Poetry Booklet for Class VI
24 ISBN 99936-0-023-7 ELT Handbook
25 ISBN 99936-0-024-5 Poetry Booklet for Class VII
26 ISBN 99936-0-025-3 Collection of Short Stories, Class IX-X
27 ISBN 99936-0-026-1 Poetry Booklet for Class IX-X
Pry. Science, Class IV, Activities Guide for 28 ISBN 99936-0-027-X Teachers 29 ISBN 99936-0-028-8 Science Class V Pry. Science, Class V, Activities Guide for 30 ISBN 99936-0-029-6 Teachers
Publications in Bhutan
31 ISBN 99936-0-030-X Science Class VI
Pry. Science, Class VI, Activities Guide for 32 ISBN 99936-0-031-8 Teachers 33 ISBN 99936-0-032-6 Social Studies, Student Book, Class V 34 ISBN 99936-0-033-4 Social Studies, Teachers' Manual Class V
A Geography of Bhutan, Introductory Course 35 ISBN 99936-0-034-2 Book for Class VI
A History of Bhutan, Introductory Course 36 ISBN 99936-0-035-0 Book for Class VI
A Geography of Bhutan, Our Natural 37 ISBN 99936-0-036-9 Environment Course Book for Class VII
A History of Bhutan, Introductory Course 38 ISBN 99936-0-037-7 Book for Class VII
A Geography of Bhutan, Our Natural 39 ISBN 99936-0-038-5 Environment Course Book for Class VIII
A History of Bhutan, Introductory Course 40 ISBN 99936-0-039-3 Book for Class VIII 41 ISBN 99936-0-040-7 Bhutan Civics, Class IX-X
Introductory Economics, A Course Book for 42 ISBN 99936-0-041-5 Class IX
Introductory Economics, A Course Book for 43 ISBN 99936-0-042-3 Class X 44 ISBN 99936-0-043-1 Dzongkha EVS Manual (PP) 45 ISBN 99936-0-044-X Dzongkha EVS Manual (I) 46 ISBN 99936-0-045-8 Dzongkha EVS Manual (II) 47 ISBN 99936-0-046-6 Dzongkha EVS Manual (III) 48 ISBN 99936-0-047-4 DEDP Teacher's Manual, Class I 49 ISBN 99936-0-048-2 The Poor Boy's Fortune 50 ISBN 99936-0-049-0 Poetry Book for Class VIII 51 ISBN 99936-0-050-4 The Light of My Life 52 ISBN 99936-0-051-2 Losar Loprim Lopengi Lagdep 53 ISBN 99936-0-052-0 Kuenzang Dang Dechen
Journal of Bhutan Studies
54 ISBN 99936-0-053-9 Nima Dang Dawa
55 ISBN 99936-0-054-7 Chimla Metog Tshoeme
56 ISBN 99936-0-055-5 Alui Trolu
57 ISBN 99936-0-056-3 Losar Loprim Jongdep (Ka)
58 ISBN 99936-0-057-1 Losar Loprim, Jongdep (Kha)
59 ISBN 99936-0-058-X Lopdep Dangpa, Lopengi Laddep
60 ISBN 99936-0-059-8 Acho Dakar
61 ISBN 99936-0-060-1 Kakur Dang Totsang Tsu
62 ISBN 99936-0-061-X Ap Yangkhu Tashi
63 ISBN 99936-0-062-8 Alo Lu Aaigi Om
64 ISBN 99936-0-063-6 Ngyen Maha
65 ISBN 99936-0-064-4 Men khap Tsu
66 ISBN 99936-0-065-2 Thung chu Tsang Tokto
67 ISBN 99936-0-066-0 Loprim Dangpa, Jongdep (Ka)
68 ISBN 99936-0-067-9 Loprim Dangpa, Jongdep (Kha)
69 ISBN 99936-0-068-7 Lopdep Nyipa
70 ISBN 99936-0-069-5 Loprim Nyipa, Lopengi Lagdep
71 ISBN 99936-0-070-9 Ap Tag Dang Amchum Jili
72 ISBN 99936-0-071-7 Totshang Nga Dang Migoe
73 ISBN 99936-0-072-5 Goye Dilbu Ting Ting
74 ISBN 99936-0-073-3 Zey Chuchen
75 ISBN 99936-0-074-1 Du Nyung Thab
76 ISBN 99936-0-075-X Tha Damtse
77 ISBN 99936-0-076-8 Thakor Hing Sang Sa
78 ISBN 99936-0-077-6 Nagtsel Dagzin
79 ISBN 99936-0-078-4 Lopdep Sumpa
80 ISBN 99936-0-079-2 Loprim Sumpa, Lopengi Lagdep
81 ISBN 99936-0-080-6 Chok thab Tsholmi
82 ISBN 99936-0-081-4 Wangmo Dang Charotsu
83 ISBN 99936-0-082-2 Zatshang Nyungsu
84 ISBN 99936-0-083-0 Aloi Aye Throten
85 ISBN 99936-0-084-9 Zey Chuchen
86 ISBN 99936-0-085-7 Tsangdra
Publications in Bhutan
87 ISBN 99936-0-086-5 Tshoshing Dumra
88 ISBN 99936-0-087-3 Kha Thuen Pecha
89 ISBN 99936-0-088-1 Bja Sochong
90 ISBN 99936-0-089-X Nagtsel Sungchop
91 ISBN 99936-0-090-3 Ngul Tshog
92 ISBN 99936-0-091-1 Lagzo
93 ISBN 99936-0-092-X Nga Che Raye Gyelkhap
94 ISBN 99936-0-093-8 Daw Butsu Dang Rochi Kongzen
95 ISBN 99936-0-094-6 Thakor Lobjong Losar Lagdep, Class PP
96 ISBN 99936-0-095-4 Thrung Thrung Keynag, Class III
97 ISBN 99936-0-096-2 Kuendang Thuenlam
98 ISBN 99936-0-097-0 Sa Lu Phenpi Lu
99 ISBN 99936-0-098-9 Milop Sheyon
100 ISBN 99936-0-099-7 Rangshin Nyetang
101 ISBN 99936-0-100-4 Tsangdra Throten Dang Choe
102 ISBN 99936-0-101-2 Shamo Dang Ngakhak Chu
103 ISBN 99936-0-102-0 Dri Lhag Ghi Goepa
104 ISBN 99936-0-103-9 Gonor Sochong
105 ISBN 99936-0-104-7 Nyenkha Chengi Nay Zhi
106 ISBN 99936-0-105-5 Nga Che Raye Lamlug
107 ISBN 99936-0-106-3 Yathra Gola, Class III
The Suggested Guidelines on Physical 108 ISBN 99936-0-107-1 Education, Stages I and II 109 ISBN 99936-0-108-X DEDP Workbook A, Class PP 110 ISBN 99936-0-109-8 DEDP Workbook B, Class PP 111 ISBN 99936-0-110-1 The Dog and the Cat 112 ISBN 99936-0-111-X Dechen's Cat and Dorji's Dog 113 ISBN 99936-0-112-8 Where is Dechen? 114 ISBN 99936-0-113-6 Momo the Monkey 115 ISBN 99936-0-114-4 Momo and the Elephant 116 ISBN 99936-0-115-2 The Small Red Hen 117 ISBN 99936-0-116-0 I Can Count 118 ISBN 99936-0-117-9 DEDP Teacher's Manual, Class PP
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119 ISBN 99936-0-118-7 DEDP Workbook A, Class I
120 ISBN 99936-0-119-5 DEDP Workbook B, Class I
121 ISBN 99936-0-120-9 The School
122 ISBN 99936-0-121-7 Momo and the Bananas
123 ISBN 99936-0-122-5 Work
124 ISBN 99936-0-123-3 Water
125 ISBN 99936-0-124-1 Cats
126 ISBN 99936-0-125-X Twelve Animals of Bhutan
127 ISBN 99936-0-126-8 What's the Time Momo?
128 ISBN 99936-0-127-6 The Elephant's Nose
129 ISBN 99936-0-128-4 Momo and the Leopards
130 ISBN 99936-0-129-2 DEDP English Book II
131 ISBN 99936-0-130-6 The Good Monkey
132 ISBN 99936-0-131-4 The Carpenter and the Painter
133 ISBN 99936-0-132-2 The Body Book
134 ISBN 99936-0-133-0 The Weather
135 ISBN 99936-0-134-9 The Blessed Rainy Day
136 ISBN 99936-0-135-7 Momo and the Mirror
137 ISBN 99936-0-136-5 The Golden Tree
138 ISBN 99936-0-137-3 Dechen Remembers her Lesson
139 ISBN 99936-0-138-1 Yaks
140 ISBN 99936-0-139-X Snow White
141 ISBN 99936-0-140-3 DEDP English Book III
142 ISBN 99936-0-141-1 The True Son
143 ISBN 99936-0-142-X Seeds and Fruits
144 ISBN 99936-0-143-8 The Monkey King and the Mango Tree
145 ISBN 99936-0-144-6 Pem and Tashi
146 ISBN 99936-0-145-4 The Princess and the Arrow
147 ISBN 99936-0-146-2 Daedalus and Icarus
148 ISBN 99936-0-147-0 Druk Air
149 ISBN 99936-0-148-9 Small Birds of Bhutan
150 ISBN 99936-0-149-7 The Lost Cow
151 ISBN 99936-0-150-0 Punakha Domchoe
Publications in Bhutan
152 ISBN 99936-0-151-9 English Songs and Rhymes for Primary School
153 ISBN 99936-0-152-7 DEDP English Book IV
154 ISBN 99936-0-153-5 DEDP English Book V
155 ISBN 99936-0-154-3 Druk English Series Book 1
156 ISBN 99936-0-155-1 Druk English Series Book 2
157 ISBN 99936-0-156-X Druk English Series Book 3
158 ISBN 99936-0-157-8 Mathematics Teacher's Manual, Class PP
159 ISBN 99936-0-158-6 Mathematics Teacher's Manual, Class I
160 ISBN 99936-0-159-4 Mathematics Teacher's Manual, Class II
161 ISBN 99936-0-160-8 Mathematics Teacher's Manual, Class III
162 ISBN 99936-0-161-6 Mathematics Teacher's Handbook, Class IV
163 ISBN 99936-0-162-4 Mathematics Teacher's Handbook, Class V
164 ISBN 99936-0-163-2 Mathematics Teacher's Handbook, Class VI
165 ISBN 99936-0-164-0 Mathematics Teacher's Handbook, Class VII
166 ISBN 99936-0-165-9 Mathematics Teacher's Handbook, Class VIII
167 ISBN 99936-0-166-7 Science Class IV
Teaching Primary Science in Bhutan for Class 168 ISBN 99936-0-167-5 IV, V and VI 169 ISBN 99936-0-168-3 Mathematics Teacher's Manual, Class I 170 ISBN 99936-0-169-1 Mathematics Teacher's Manual, Class II 171 ISBN 99936-0-170-5 Mathematics Teacher's Manual, Class III 172 ISBN 99936-0-171-3 Mathematics Teacher's Handbook, Class IV 173 ISBN 99936-0-172-1 Mathematics Teacher's Handbook, Class V 174 ISBN 99936-0-173-X Mathematics Teacher's Handbook, Class VI 175 ISBN 99936-0-174-8 Mathematics Teacher's Handbook, Class VII 176 ISBN 99936-0-175-6 Mathematics Teacher's Handbook, Class VIII 177 ISBN 99936-0-176-4 Science Class IV
Teaching Primary Science in Bhutan for Class 178 ISBN 99936-0-177-2 IV, V and VI
Science for Class VII-Learning Science 179 ISBN 99936-0-178-0 through Environment 180 ISBN 99936-0-179-9 Science Class VII Teachers' Manual
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Science for Class VIII-Learning Science
181 ISBN 99936-0-180-2 through Environment
182 ISBN 99936-0-181-0 Science Class VIII Teacher's Manual
Safety Rules and Guidelines for Science 183 ISBN 99936-0-182-9 Laboratories 184 ISBN 99936-0-183-7 Social Studies, Student Book, Class IV 185 ISBN 99936-0-184-5 Social Studies, Teacher's Manual, Class IV 186 ISBN 99936-0-185-3 Social Studies, Teacher's Manual, Class IV
Geography of Bhutan - Course Book for 187 ISBN 99936-0-186-1 Classes IX-X 188 ISBN 99936-0-187-X History of Bhutan, Course Book for Class IX 189 ISBN 99936-0-188-8 A History of Bhutan, Course Book for Class X 190 ISBN 99936-0-189-6 Thakhor Lobjoong Losar Lagdep (Dangpa) 191 ISBN 99936-0-190-X Thakhor Lobjoong Losar Lagdep (Nyipa) 192 ISBN 99936-0-191-8 Thakhor Lobjoong Losar Lagdep (Sumpa) 193 ISBN 99936-0-192-6 Continuous Assessment 194 ISBN 99936-0-193-4 Dueguen Ezhib
Teaching Learning To Be (Value Education)195 ISBN 99936-0-194-2 A Curriculum Guideline
Teaching Learning To Be - A Suggested Value 196 ISBN 99936-0-195-0 Education Lessons, Part I, Classes PP-VIII
Teaching Learning To Be - A Suggested Value 197 ISBN 99936-0-196-9 Education Lessons, Part II, Classes IX-XII
Running the School Library, A Teacher 198 ISBN 99936-0-197-7 Librarian's Guide
Dzongkha Thakor Lobjong, Par -ri Tshigzoed 199 ISBN 99936-0-198-5 Picture Dictionary 200 ISBN 99936-0-199-3 Outdoor Education, A Guidebook for Teachers
Publications in Bhutan Bibliography Rapten, Phuntsho. Advent of Publishing/Printing Industry, Kuensel (November 4-10) Vol.XV, No.43, Thimphu International Standard (ISO 2108). Information and Documentation - International Standard Book Numbering (ISBN), Reference Number:ISO 2108:1992 (E) International ISBN Agency. The ISBN System: Users' Manual, Berlin: International ISBN Agency, 1986 Royal Government of Bhutan. Circular No. COM/02/199, Thimphu, August9,1999 93
Phuntsho Rapten
Introduction This paper attempts to describe the typology, process of manufacture and symbolic status and honouring system of swords and scabbards particularly of ceremonial patag cast and used by the Bhutanese. Patag symbolises authority and recognition of high honour and is therefore highly regarded and valued. This study is purely based on the findings of interviews held with retired civil servants, government officials, blacksmiths, and from a few available literature, and physical observation of patags. Photographs of swords and scabbards are used to the extent possible to give pictorial ideas and provide basis of comparison for similar researches. Patags are no longer cast in Bhutan. The Bhutanese blacksmiths cast only knives and short swords used for domestic purposes.
Types of Swords Different types of swords were cast in different localities in Bhutan. Unlike some Chinese and Tibetan swords which are sharp, and have double-edged blade, curved sharp tip, and long double-edged tapering blade, Bhutanese swords are all straight and single-edged blade, with sharp arc tip.
Following are the swords cast in Bhutan:
Paksam Tenzin
Chukhap Tenzin
iii. Bumthang Tsen-dri
iv. Nagphala
Researcher, The Centre for Bhutan Studies, Thimphu
Patag-the Symbol of Heroes
Dungsum Thum
vi. Barshongpa
vii. Thum
viii. Chhu chenm
ix. Lungdri
It is believed that the first six swords were named according to the names of the blacksmiths and the locality where they were cast, and the rest, according to their appearances, designs and performances.
Paksam Tenzin
It derived its name both from the blacksmith, Tenzin, and local area Paksam, the present Pasakha town near Phuntsholing. The surface area of paksam tenzin is very smooth and shiny like a mirror and its blunt edge is round unlike other swords.
Hoshu chenm and paksam tenzin Except for the blade, the sword becomes thinner from its hilt towards tip like 'the tail of an ox' (langju). The sword is approximately 610 mm long from hilt to tip. The width of the blade is about 40mm at the hilt and about 33mm at the tip. The thickness of the edge is 5 mm near the hilt and 2mm at the tip. On the blade, it has usually three pairs of grooves (washos) running through the entire length of the blade. 95
Journal of Bhutan Studies Blade of paksam tenzin The washo covers about 2/3rd portion of the width of the blade. The blade is approximate 1mm sharp. The spaces between washo are larger compared to chukhap tenzin which make the sword lighter in weight.1 The blade and the blunt edge are cast out of hard iron (khado). The washo is a mixture of both hard and soft iron (nyencha). These mixtures make the sword resistant to high temperature, humidity and corrosion. The sword can be bent to meet both ends without breaking. It is therefore, considered the best among all swords in Bhutan. Being very special, it is generally put on by kings and nobles. Grooves (washo) engraved in paksam tenzin 96
Patag-the Symbol of Heroes Chukhap Tenzin The derivation of the name of this sword is similar to that of paksam tenzin. Tenzin referred here is the younger brother (?) of the one who cast paksam tenzin. The shape and size of the sword is identical to paksam tenzin, except that it's surface is not as smooth as paksam tenzin and it does not have a projecting washo like paksam tenzin. In the olden days, blacksmiths worked near the old Chukha dzong, which was located near outdoor 220KV switchyard at Chukha Hydro Power house.2 Many agree that this sword was cast later than the paksam tenzin. Chukhap tenzin and paksam tenzin can be differentiated from other swords by their sharp arc tip, the edge that looks like a tail of an ox and prominent washo. Buepa chen and chukhap tenzin Contradictory information from available literature describe that two brothers named Paksam and Tenzin from Dungsum in eastern Bhutan emerged as the best blacksmiths though the period is unknown. The swords cast by them at Khaling and Dungsum were named as paksam tenzin.3 According to another source4 paksam tenzin and chukhap tenzin were neither cast in Pasakha, nor in Chukha. Paksam is the name of the blacksmith and Tenzin, the supervisor. Hence, the name paksam tenzin. And Chukhap is the name of the blacksmith and Tenzin the same supervisor. 97
Journal of Bhutan Studies Bumthang Tsen-dri Nagpophala Terton5 Pema Lingpa (1450-1521), a Bhutanese treasure discoverer from Bumthang, learned the skill of blacksmith from Yonten Jangchub and cast different size of swords and Phurbas.6 The ruin of his forgery and unused irons can still be seen at Gartsang, near his seat at Kunzang Drag in Tang, Bumthang. Bumthang tsendri nagpo phala is his own work cast out of iron uncovered from the same place. It is distinct from other swords because it has a distinctive imprint of his thumb near the hilt.7 Having been forged by a Terton, it is considered the most sacred sword. Nagphala It was cast during the reign of desi Jigme Namgyal (187073).8 The sword derived its name from desi's nickname, Nagphala.9 It is characterised by its black metal tone (nag) and is reputed to be hard as dorji phalam10 referring to 'phala'. But other mention that the blacksmith was black in appearance and that he cast a sword which was like phalam. Hence the name nagphala. When it is bent and released, the blade oscillates.11 This gives an impression of how thin and light the sword is and it is equally considered best. The width of the blade is greater than paksam tenzin. Dungsum Thum It is not known from where the iron was extracted. But the remaining of forging of dungsum thum is still seen around the shore of a lake Dungtsho Karma Thang located at southeast of Deothang.12 Terton Pema Lingpa discovered the treasure of Dungkar Shogpachen from Dungtsho Karma Thang. It is believed that his followers cast it. But other source mentions that it was cast at the site of Polytechnic Institute of Deothang when desi Jigme Namgyal camped there to fight against British soldiers stationed at Assam.13 It is also reported that it was cast in Chimong, Dungsum Dosum.14 It is hard and shorter (thum) than other swords, and was 98
Patag-the Symbol of Heroes therefore named dungsum thum. The thickness of the edge does not vary like paksam tenzin. Dungsum thum Blade of dungsum thum Barshongpa Barshong at Khaling, Trashigang, was the main source of iron-ore for eastern Bhutan and bordering state of India. Many equipment made of iron in eastern Bhutan were cast in Barshong. People from Barshong traded home made agricultural and domestic tools for edible items like rice, maize, cheese, oil etc. with the people of neighbouring villages. The iron-ore were extracted from the upper and lower valley of Barshong. Barshong bechen and giring have slightly thinner edges and were cast by heating in the charcoal of Sisi15 and Gum16 to give strength to the sword. According to oral tradition, it is believed that they were cast after Dubthop Thangthong Gyalpo, commonly known as Chakzampa (13851464) built iron chain bridges in Trashigang. Dungsum thum and barshongpa were reportedly famous in Kham, Tibet. Khampas purchased them, and the ones cast in 99
Journal of Bhutan Studies
Barshong were believed to bless users with protective powers in warfare.17
It is plain without any chu.18 It is not as strong as paksam tenzin because it does not have a mixture of soft and hard irons. It can be easily broken if hit on a hard object.
Type of Swords
Items of dimension
Special Characteristics
Paksam tenzin
Blade Length
Thickness of edge*
Chukhap tenzin
Blade Length Thickness of edge
Chhu chenm
Blade Length Thickness of edge
washuchen Length m Thickness of edge
Blade Length
Thickness of edge
Bumthang tsendri Nagphala
Blade Length Thickness of edge Blade
1 mm 610 mm
It has langju and deeper washo
5 mm/2 mm 1 mm 680 mm 6 mm/2 mm
It has langju but does not have washo like paksam tenzin
1 mm 642 mm 8 mm/2 mm
It has chu instead of washo.
1 mm
594 mm
6 mm/2 mm
2 mm
610 mm
7 mm/2.5 mm
It has Terton's thumb imprint.
Black and hard
like plalam.
Patag-the Symbol of Heroes
Type of Swords
Items of dimension
Thickness of edge
Dungsum thum
Blade Length Thickness of edge
Blade Barshongpa Length
Thickness of edge
Blade Length
Thickness of edge
Blade Length
Thickness of edge
Dimension n.a n.a n.a n.a.
Special Characteristics n.a n.a Plain with out any chu. Very light like air.
* The first dimension represents its thickness at the hilt and the second for its thickness at the tip.
Chhu Chenm It is crude and stained. It has lines that run through the entire length of the blade and forms hexagonal shape. It is also cast out of hard and soft iron. Lungdri
It is very thin and light like lung19 and named lungdri. It can cut objects into pieces very swiftly.
Patag Giring
It is a ceremonial sword stuck horizontally across the belt at the back of attendants accompanying the king. It was customary for the attendants to put on this sword after they
Journal of Bhutan Studies have reached the tabab-chorten20 and carry till lunchtime and it is put off when they arrived at tabab-chorten again. Jadri Washuchenm Jadri literally means Indian sword. It has comparatively a bigger washo and greater width of the blade. During His Late Majesty's time, tenzin swords were sent to Calcutta for replication. However, replicates were light and of lower quality. Besides this information, nothing else is known. Boedri Boedri literally means Tibetan sword and was used in Bhutan. Except for the fact that some have washo while others don't, no other characteristics or features are known. Scabbards Bhutanese swords like churi chenm, ben chang, belpa chenm, hoshu chenm etc. derive their names from the descriptive designs of the scabbards. The main body of scabbard is made of wood usually Bashing21 and Dungshing.22 It is usually covered with silver case and with different colours of pelt: black, green and red. The silver cases of some scabbards are plated with gold. The scabbard is divided into three parts. Some do not have any designs while others have a wave-like or knitted design usually gold plated between each interval or partition. Churi chenm It has a silver scabbard and three layers of churi23 design in the middle. Hence the name churi chenm. The churi design is gold plated. This is considered one of the best scabbards. Although the changap24 of the king particularly wore it in olden days, many high officials today wear it during important occasion. Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuck wore it as is evident from his earlier group picture. 102
Patag-the Symbol of Heroes Churi chenm Ben chang It possesses all the components of churi chenm, except the churi pattern. It is plain without any design. Zimpon, changap and other attendents generally wear it. Ben chang Belpa chen It is similar to churi chenm, except that it has the frog's skin instead of the wavy design in the middle of the scabbard. Belpa means frog's skin and hence the name belpa chenm. The two other parts of the scabbard are covered with silver cases. Konag chenm and sernag chenm are similar to belpa chenm except that they are of different hide with different design. Officials of old age put them on. It is evident from the 103
Journal of Bhutan Studies following excerpt from the 'Ballad of Pemi Tshewand Tashi: A Wind Borne Feather' that Pemi Tshewang Tashi, Chamberlain to Dzongpon25 Angdruk Nim used belpa chenm when he went to the battle of Changmanyik, 1876 (?) I need not tell the tale of my sword. Should I tell the tale of my sword? This sword that is like thunderbolt and diamond, Was given as a gift by Lord Angdruk Nim When the quillon of the sword is seen The quillon is like rays beaming down the mountains; When the gobur of the sword is seen The frog skin is like blossoms of holly-hock; When the sword is drawn across the sky It pleases both Lha Tshangpa and Jajin;26 When the sword strikes against the earth It pleases Lu Tshukna Rinchen;27 When the sword is brandished through the space It pleases Lha Sin De Jay.28 Hoshu chenm It is different from other scabbards. The first and the middle parts of the scabbard are covered with pelt painted with red and green respectively. The remaining part covering the tip portion of the sword is covered with silver case. The portion between hilt and the opening of the scabbard and between second and the last portion are decorated with gold designs. Senior officials and elderly men wear it. Zhangshi chenm Zhang refers to bronze. The scabbard is all covered with bronze with out any decoration or design. Hence named zhangshi chenm. Ardung and the lower rank attendants of the king wore it before. There is no standard requirement for a particular sword to be put inside a particular scabbard. It depends on one's wealth and affordability. Some are inherited. A churi chenm may 104
Patag-the Symbol of Heroes contain paksam tenzin or chukhap tenzin and hoshu chenm may contain nagphala or vice versa. Metallurgy Chakor La at Geynekha in Thimphu and Barshong at Khaling in Trashigang were the main source of iron ores for the Blacksmiths of Bhutan. Chakor La literally means hill surrounded by iron ore. The people of Geynekha continued paying taxes in the form of pig iron until 1950. Barshongpas also paid taxes in the form of iron that was used to forge swords during the reign of Bjakar Dzongpon, Pema Tenzin.29 Iron ore is reportedly difficult to find. A depth equivalent to the height of at least one- storyed traditional Bhutanese house inside the earth must be dug to extract iron ore. It is found mixed with blackish soil. People dug the earth with crowbars and pickaxe. The crude iron ore is carried in a bamboo basket from the extraction site to the blast furnace. The furnace varies from household to household according to their preferences. It is usually square in shape. At different corners of the blast furnace, a circular hole is dug to hold the melted iron. Above the main fire hole, a layer of hard wood is piled. On top of it, soil containing crude iron ore is spread and the process is repeated until the blast furnace is full. Fire is lit continuously. It takes anywhere from one week to ten days or even one month to complete the process of melting iron depending upon the size of the blast furnace. The melted iron that is collected in different holes is only soft iron, called nyen cha. These iron balls are then put inside charcoal and heated continuously to make it hard. Swords and other domestic tools are then made out of this iron. Different grades of iron can be smelt by using different types of woods. A better quality of iron can be obtained if it is burnt with Sisi shing, Sokey shing30 and Thom shing.31 A medium quality can be obtained if it is burnt with Etho metho32, Tarshing33, Tsu-tsu shing34 and lower quality from Choka shing35 and Murshing. 105
Journal of Bhutan Studies Process of making Scabbard and Handle Dungshing is usually preferred for making scabbard because it can be cut straight with out getting cracked in between. Planks of two equal sizes are planned after taking measurement of the sword. It is curved inside in equal proportion to the sword. They are fixed together with fevicol after they are planned and kept for few hours to dry. It is then ready for covering. The scabbard is covered with different colours of red, green, black etc. pelt. It is also covered with silver and bronze cases. It is about 1.5 cm longer than the sword. Pelt is mostly of wild animals, frog and cow. It is dressed and then smoothened for dyeing. Indigenous dye is mixed with milk extracted from Seyshing36 and glue made out of cow's hide. They are stirred thoroughly and applied uniformly on the pelt. After it is dried, it is then put on the scabbard and stitched tightly. Today dyeing is no longer done because pelts are readily available in different colours from India. Hilt with cover of intricately knitted silver thread Hilt is made of willow or walnut or others. Both the hilt and gobur are eight sided. Hilt is about 12cm long and is mostly knitted with ngyulkid.37 Gobur is about 2.5 cm and is fitted with iron, bronze or silver cases. Some are decorated with gold plated designs. The economic value of gobur was very high in Tibet. One chagtey38 gobur fetched one mule.39 106
Patag-the Symbol of Heroes A special hilt of paksam tenzin Process of Polishing Swords40 The stained and newly cast swords are rubbed on a shobda41 to remove stains and other marks. Then it is rubbed with hide and sand soaked in water to remove satins and marks between grooves and narrow depression created while casting. Thereafter it is rubbed on dreyda42 to give ash-black colour to the sword. Chagchey43 wrapped in a piece of hide is then used to rub the sword in order to increase its lustre. It is further rubbed with green artemesia leaves and soot to remove dirt and patches created in earlier processes. Finally it is rubbed with powdered charcoal of pinewood wrapped in a piece of cloth, and with a soft and dry cloth to remove moisture from the sword. Honouring System of Contemporary use of Patag Initially His Majesty the King conferred patag and scarf to all the government officials even below the rank of red scarf officials. Although His Majesty continues to confer red, blue and orange scarves, the Minister for Ministry of Home Affairs was empowered to confer patag and scarf with stripes and fringes to Ramjams44 and Dungpas.45 Besides he also confers patag to Dzongdags who wear white kabneys (without fringes). Like wise, the appointment of the judges was 107
Journal of Bhutan Studies delegated to the High Court in 1976 through the promulgation of Kadyon46 'Nga' by His Majesty the King. Thrimpons47 of dzongkhag thrimkhangs are appointed on the recommendation of the Chief Justice. If His Majesty does not award red-scarf to the Thrimpon, the Chief Justice awards a white bura kabne without fringes. His Majesty the King also commanded the Chief Justice to appoint Thrimrab during the 75th session of the National Assembly. The Minister for Foreign affairs also confers patag and white scarf to kutshab48 since the inception of the new system of government in 1998. Conclusion Different types of swords were cast in different parts of the country. They were used extensively for different purposes and are the symbols of reverence today. However, the culture of casting of traditional swords has deteriorated over the years. Swords have become relics for the Bhutanese family and are often inherited. Many of the swords worn today by high officials are mostly family inheritance. During the reigns of desi Jigme Namgyal and Tongsa Penlop Ugyen Wangchuck, swords that killed people during wars were marked plus (+) on the blunt edge near the hilt and were preserved and revered as dripcha (defiled sword). Some of these swords were given to their best and most trusted attendants in recognition of their outstanding and loyal services.49 Patag still symbolises paw50 and is awarded as a symbol of honour. 108
Patag-the Symbol of Heroes
Anatomy of Patag Khaser Gongzho
Gi Tab
Khaser Gubor Losel
Gongzho Yangchi
Gi Kha Thaklab
Journal of Bhutan Studies Notes 1 Personal Communications: Jangwob Namgay Tshering, former teacher of Bronze Casting Unit, Thimphu. 2 Personal Communications: Dasho Khandu, High Court, Thimphu. 3 Lopen Nado. 1986. Druk Karpo, Tharpaling Monastery, Bumthang, pp.241-242. 4 Personal Communications: Kado, Former Dzongpoen of Tashigang Monastery, Thimphu. 5 Treasure discoverer. It is believed that he used his right hand as hammer and left knee as anvil while casting sword. 6 The triple-bladed dagger, nail or spike-known as a kila in Sanskrit and a phurba in Tibetan and Bhutanese is used as ritual dagger. 7 Lopen Nado, Druk Karpo, p.164. 8 Father of the first king of Bhutan, His Majesty Ugyen Wangchuck. 9 Information provided by Duba Yonten, Planning Officer, Pema Gatshel. (He communicated with Phuntsho Wangdi, Chungkhar, Pema Gatshel, 13.04.000). It is doubtful if Jigme Namgyal was known as Nagphala. However, he was known as Deb Nagpo because he was dark in complexion and rode on tanag tingkar (black horse with white hooves) with black gho and black hat. 10 The adamantine stone, which cannot be cut or broken. 11 Personal Communications: Dasho Shingkhar Lam, Former Secretary to His Majesty the King and the Speaker of National Assembly. 12 Personal Communications: Chorten Norbu, Lecturer, Sherubtse College. 13 Duba Yonten, Ibid. 14 Jigme Chogyel. 1997. Druk Yul Lamsel, p.49. In Proceedings of the first colloquium on "Dawn and Early History of Bhutan. National Museum of Bhutan, Paro. 15 Oak. 16 Quercus Lanata. 17 Chorten Norbu, Ibid. 18 Like washo but very narrow lines. 19 Air. 20 A chorten located a few yards away from the dzong. Every rider including the king must alight here. 21 Spruce. 22 Fir. 23 Wavy appearance. 24 Chief attendant to king. 110
Patag-the Symbol of Heroes 25 Fort-governor. 26 Brahma and Indra respectively. 27 King of Nagas who is fabulously rich. 28 They are nyen, tshen, sadag and lu who govern the world. 29 See Phuntsho Wangdi's article, a forgotten metal industry, buried in the past in Kuensel dated January 15, 000. 30 Castanopsis. 31 Quercus glauca. 32 Rhododendron. 33 Walnut. 34 Myrica. 35 Rhus simialata. 36 Rhus Scandens. 37 Silver thread. 38 Gold plated iron pommel. 39 Personal Communications: Dasho Tashi Phuntshog, Secretary of National Assembly. 40 Personal Communications: Pab Dorji, Ugyen and Pema, Bronze Casting Unit, Thimphu. 41 Hard and white whet-stone. 42 Black gravel whet-stone. 43 Small fragments and scales of iron which fall off in the process of hammering of hot iron. 44 Officers assisting Dzongdag or Thrimpon. 45 Head of sub-district. 46 Royal Edict. 47 Head of the district court. 48 Ambassador. 49 Jangwob Namgay Tshering, Ibid. 50 Hero or Excellence. 111
Journal of Bhutan Studies
Owner's Imputed Price of different Patags
Sl.No. Owner's Name 1 Dasho Ugyen
Type of swords Pasak Tenzin
Type of scabbards Hoshu chenm
Imputed price 60,000.00
2 Dasho Tashi Dorji 3 Dasho Pemba 4 Dasho Jambay
Chukhap Tenzin chenm
Chukhap Tenzin chenm
50,000.00 60,000.00 30,000.00
5 Dasho Phenchung Dungsa Thum Benchang
Dasho Nob
6 Tshering
Chukhap Tenzin Benchang
50,000.00 40,000.00
Karma Ura
As a bridgehead between two economic, demographic and geo-political giants ­ India and China - has had great influence on our perception of security, which changes in response to internal and external circumstances. Issues of security occupy a great deal of attention of the state even in peacetime. It has become somewhat customary to assess issues from the point of view security because of the heightened and staunch sense of security in the country. This habit has had a constructive impact. Bhutan has been politically a stable country having been kept out of colonial domination, cold war and regional rivalries1.
Different explanations apply to different periods of maintenance of our security, depending on the nature of threat and warfare. In the 17th and early 18th century, the security threat was mainly posed from Tibet. In the 19th century, it was threat from Imperial British Raj with whom Bhutan was embroiled over the Assam and Bengal Duars2.
The Bhutanese Foreign Policy, since the 1950s, has been clearly focused on forging a close relationship with India while broadening Bhutan's links with the international community. The latter is inescapable consequence also of globalisation. There is no choice to be made between close ties with India and the growth of Bhutan's international relationships: each track contributes to the national security and progress in its own way. This tenet of foreign policy has contributed to stability and progress in the country.
Director, The Centre for Bhutan Studies. The author is thankful to Lyonpo Jigmi Thinley, Lyonpo Dawa and John Ardussi for their comments on the draft. 113
Journal of Bhutan Studies Contemporary security concerns are primarily two: the territorial incursions by United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) and National Democratic Front for Bodoland (NDFB) cadres in southern Bhutanese jungles and the problem of southern dissidents. The southern problem is a by-product of immigrant's citizenship issue. The illicit intrusion of ULFA and NDFB cadres using Bhutanese jungles as sanctuaries is the result of internal conflict in Assam. Their intrusion points to the fact that the instabilities and unrest in the international border regions could spill over into Bhutan. Two Historical Advantages: Flexible Force (Pazap) and Inaccessible Terrain The newly formed Bhutanese state fended off persistent threats from Tibet for several decades in the 17th centuries. Both during and after the unification of Bhutan, frequent attacks were launched from Tibet. The unification of Bhutan by the Zhabdrung and consolidation of Gelugpa power in Tibet under the joint efforts of the Vth Dalai Lama and Gusri Khan, the Mongol leader from Kokonor region, were almost parallel processes which took place in the 17th century. The rule of Gelugpa sect (reformed sect), at whose head stood the Dalai Lama, over Tibet was forged mainly against the resistance of Princes of Tsang and Rinpung, just as the rule of the Zhabdrung over the whole of Bhutan was forged against the resistance of the lamas of western Bhutan and other provincial rulers. By mid-1730s, threats from Tibet eased off, after relationship was normalized between Tibetan ruler Pholha Sonam Tobgay and Sherab Wangchuk (1697-1767), the 13th Druk Desi (reign 1774-63) 3. The period of reconciliation with Tibet was followed by the emergence of a new threat arising from the colonial expansion of the British Imperial rule spreading across northern India, adjacent to Bhutan. The state's attention was directed, although in an interrupted manner, toward frequent disputes with the British Government about the Duars4. It was not until 1865 when a treaty signed 114
Perceptions of Security between the British Government and Bhutan brought a resolution to the conflict and stabilized the relationship. The treaty led to the slicing off of the Duars of Assam and Bengal by the British Government against an annual payment of compensation, known as subsidy, to Bhutan that is still honoured. The treaty, with certain amendments, was later renewed with the government of independent India. The military encounters with Tibet were more successful than with British India. It could have been due to similarity of the arsenal of fighting between the Tibetan and Bhutanese forces in the 17th century. Terrain and distance must have tipped the balance. The invading forces of Tibetans would have been at a disadvantage because of the depth of strike to reach places such as Paro, Punakha and Jakar. With the British in the 1864-65 war, Bhutanese militia faced ground troops armed in a superior way. Nevertheless, Bhutan remained one of the few uncolonized countries. However, the military engagements with both Tibetans and the British demonstrated the value of a certain mode of warfare that must have resembled methods followed by guerrillas, waged by the Bhutanese militia in rugged terrain. Though not written in accounts of any battles, the form of war oral sources describe suggest unconventional warfare. The natural defence position of the terrain combined with its intimate knowledge was a significant shield against successful invasion in the past. Rugged terrain by itself did not deter others; it seems that it offered an advantage to militias who were able to cut off enemy communications between the tail and the forward troops, especially when the expeditions stretched over seasons. Lack of written sources on military organization inhibits a clear inference about the extent of mobilization. But the pazap, a form of militia who could be called up for impromptu fighting, might have been as extensive as the swords, matchlock guns, steel helmets, shields, and other weapons 115
Journal of Bhutan Studies found in many households and goenkhang (house of protector deities) throughout Bhutan. Statistics on the number of tax paying households that existed in 1747 when combined with heuristic assumptions of non-tax paying households give rise to a total of nearly 28,000 households5. If we assume that every second household kept a reserve pazap, eighteen thousand combatants would have been raised quickly at any point in time. This example gives a size of pazap-force much larger than standing army today. This is an implausible number unless one remembers that there is no cost attached to having a large pazap-force. Pazaps were a flexible -force who were disbanded and returned to civilian life in normal times. As far back as 1774, it was noted by a British mission, with regard to future military operations by the British against Bhutan, that "the Bhutanese have only six hundred men in pay as soldiers; but though their government is elective, they hold their lands by military service, and every man in their country is a soldier when called upon"6. There is no information that we know of such means of mobilization in neighbouring Himalayan countries. Though it is purely conjectural, the formation of a pazap-force might have been stimulated by repeated external threats and internal factional conflicts. At the same time, flexibility and cost-effectiveness of a pazap-force compared to maintenance of a standing army would have contributed to the security of the country by allowing a size of force disproportionate to the population to be raised, for short periods of time. Guardian of Institutions ­ Protector Deities The belief in the preservation of the state by special protector deities of the country is an important aspect of morale and psychological power. Gods are invoked in national defence and security even in unlikely places. Some years ago, an American leader while ordering the ground attack on Iraq, began so by saying "God Bless America". 116
Perceptions of Security Legends about protector deities mysteriously coming to protect its adherents abound in many countries. With a hierarchy of deities of varying statures, cascading down from the national to the natal areas, strong faith in the deities protecting their adherents exists in our country. This is apparent from the following excerpt from the letter of 27th December 1864 the Deb Raja of Bhutan sent to the commanding officer of the invading British forces: "...if you will take possession of my country, which is small, without fighting, and attach it to your country, which is large, I shall send the divine forces of twelve gods..."7. Moreover, the hands of a British military officer severed in the 1864-65 battle in Deothang and preserved in the sanctum sanctorum of Gangtey Gonpa is a reminder of how much of our psychological security has been vested in the hands of divinities. In almost every valley in the Kingdom, people invest faith gods and Bodhisattva who are considered transcendent beings. But there are also numerous lesser known 'worldly' gods (jigtenpai lha) and protector deities (sungma, zhidag, yulha, keylha etc.), whose existences illustrate the polytheistic structure of Bhutanese belief system. Deities having regional stature, as examples, are Phola Masang Chungdue in Haa and Paro; Tsan Palnam Dorji, Jowo (brother) Drakey in Paro; Talo Gyalpo Pehar in Punakha; Dayphu and Gopola tsan in Mongar; Geynyen Jagpa Melen and Domtshangpa in Thimphu; Sang Sangrey Deva, and Phola Taktshang Gangpa, Naspo chenpo Gomo konchog, Lha Gyal Tongshog in Dagana; Gomo and Dragchen Phola in Gasa; Sha Radrakpa and Kaytshugpa in Wangdi Phodrang; Keybu Lungtsan and Jowo Ludud Drakpa Gyeltshen in Bumthang; Ode Gungyal in periphery Kheng; Jowo Dhurshing and Mutsan Dorji Drachom in Trongsa; Terdag Zora Rakay in Kurtoe; Zhidag Mongleng, Dangleng, Garap Wangchuk, and Tshongtshong in Trashigang; Aum Kanchim in Pasakha; Ama Jomo and her sisters in far eastern Bhutan; Dungpa Changlo and the Raja Brothers and Zangpo Brothers of Samdrup Jongkhar. There 117
Journal of Bhutan Studies are numerous other deities who are known only within the boundaries of small settlements. There seems to be two main styles of deities' invocations. The first method consists of elaborate rituals conducted by priests or monks, and the other mode involves recital and danceperformances by pawo (man-shaman) and nejom (ladyshaman). In the case of complex rituals by monks and lay priests, dough images, thrusel (water purification), saang (incense), serkem (golden beverage because a king of Tibet put a few gold nuggets at the bottom of the cup), thog buel (first food harvested in the year) are offered, while in the invocations by pawo and nejom, even marchoed (nonvegetarian) offerings are made. There are predetermined calendars of deities' invocations throughout the country. The number of days and the amount of resources devoted to invocations of deities is quite significant. The safeguards granted by deities of a particular place extend not only to the adherents but their properties, most importantly temple establishments. Pal Yeshey Gonpo are the guardian deities of Kargyud doctrines while Talo Pehar Gyalpo, Gaynyen Jagpa Melen and Gomo are the protector deities of the Zhabdrung incarnates. Gonpo Jangdue became the protector deities of Ponlop Jigme Namgyel and his descendants. By extension, the country these rulers governed became the domain of such deities. The first Zhabdrung invoked the help of his protector deities in his fight against the Tsang Desi. The death of Gusri Khan (Sokpo Tenzin Chogyal) in 1655 was supposedly caused by intervention of his protector deities. Gusri Khan, the Qoshot Mongol leader, who had helped the fifth Dalai Lama become the spiritual ruler of Tibet, had sent his troops to invade Bhutan in 1647. The de aths of several Tibetan personalities - Desi Tsangpa Phuntsho Namgyal and his wife in 1621 and Pagsam Wangpo in 1641 - who were ill disposed to the Zhabdrung, were attributed in Bhutanese sources to the Zhabdrung's magical power. Furthermore, it was claimed that Tibetan Regent Sonam Chophel died in 1658 due to the same cause. In equal 118
Perceptions of Security measure, Tibetan sources attributed the demise of several Bhutanese personalities to the magical powers of their deities. It is said that mutual hostilities were so bitter that the death of Desi Minjur Tenpa in 1680 was celebrated in Lhasa for three days. There is strong conviction in the safeguards assured by the deities among the Bhutanese. This is apparent in the proceedings of the National Assembly of Bhutan, which attribute the stability and peace in the country to two sources: the leadership of His Majesty the King and the sentinel of the protector deities, who look after the institutions the ancestral rulers established. Mystical reprisal in various ways, including sickness, fell on those who went against the interests of the key institutions. The concept of biological warfare comes to mind. So long as such perceived threats are credible to the adversaries, internal or external, it is as good a deterrent as any other. Though we cannot fathom the true military value of such beliefs, one can safely say that it is a vital source of morale and psychological power that certainly magnifies the capability of the people. Frontiers Defence in the 19th Century Solving internal problems of succession and regularising administration probably went hand in hand with securing the northern frontiers. Tibetan and combined Tibetan and Mongol armies invaded Bhutan seven times (1618, 1634, 1639, 164446, 1649, 1656-57, 1675-79) in the 17th century.8 Battles were fought involving both military campaigns and ritualmagic on both sides. The last Tibetan invasion in the 17th century took place in 1675-79; a treaty of peace was concluded in 1679. A Tibetan army invaded Bhutan again in 1730 and 1732 at the invitation of the chief of Paro valley, who declared Paro briefly independent during the civil war in Western Bhutan between 1729 and 1735. Though a Tibetan army defeated Bhutan for the first time, the two countries soon embarked on a process 119
Journal of Bhutan Studies of reconciliation through a multi-pronged diplomatic initiative taken by the marvellous 13th Desi of Bhutan, Sherab Wangchuk (1744-63) together with an equally farsighted Tibetan ruler, Pholanas. The 19-year rule of Desi Sherab Wangchuk was perhaps one of the most successful periods in the whole of medieval history. The rift between Bhutan and Tibet was not only healed, but there were many jointly implemented projects both in Bhutan and Tibet, symbolizing a new spirit of cooperation. The direction set by Desi Sherab Wangchuk to usher in peaceful and advantageous relationships with neighbours was lost, however, soon after he died in 1763. It is tempting to speculate how Desi Sherab Wangchuck's profound skills in leadership of enlightened selfinterest would have matched those of Warren Hastings, had he lived longer. For soon, in 1773, the first British mission to Bhutan was sent to Thimphu. The British began to express a motivated interest in Bhutan. The first British mission to Bhutan that took place in 1774 however speculated "as for keeping possession of any part of it if conquered, or forming a settlement there, I consider it impractical unless done with the consent of the Bhutanese, which I believe will never be obtained" 9. But over the next century, British interest transmuted from trading to security concerns, especially over the 18 Duars, an area measuring over 3000 sq miles, under Bhutan. A series of incidents occurred on the southern front, even though peace was finally secured on the northern frontiers. Britain took issue with the delinquencies of lower officials in the Duars, arrears in inkind payment for the Duars and alleged raids conducted by Bhutanese. To understand the events in the south, we must briefly turn to an earlier period in the history of the Duars. Besides fending off Tibetan-Mongol armies in the north, the Bhutanese theocracy continued to advance its borders in all directions and met with some success both in the 17th and 18th centuries. Conquest was directed not only toward the east but also toward south, in the direction of Assam and the Bengal Duars, which formed part of the Kingdom of Cooch 120
Perceptions of Security Behar. Campaigns were also conducted against the Lepchas of Sikkim, who lived to the west of Bhutan. Surely, the epithet Pelden Drukpa Chogley Namgyal, "victorious in all directions", rang true at that time. It is said that Ahom Raja ceded seven Assam Duars in Darrang and Kamrup to Bhutan against inkind annual payments. Darrang and Kamrup were under the jurisdiction of the Trongsa Ponlop. In addition, Bhutan already had claims on eleven Bengal Duars from Tista to Manas, the tract which included the districts of Ambari, Falakata and Jalpesh in Bengal, again given by the Cooch Behari Rajas in consideration of some in-kind annual payment. The Bengal Duars came under the jurisdiction of the Paro Ponlop. In the 18th and 19th centuries, it appears that Bhutan had an interesting administrative system. The Duars were administered by far off Ponlop; officials were appointed in Duars with titles like uzeers, kazis, kathams and subah. There was a brisk trade between the Duars and the interior of Bhutan. There is no reliable estimate of the revenue received from the Duars by the government through the two Ponlop. However, the British view that the Duars contributed several hundred thousands (lakhs) of Rupees of revenue to Bhutan and were fiscally and economically the most important part of Bhutan was probably correct. Hence the struggle to control the Duars might have been indeed based on crucial national economic interests. The alleged interference of the Bhutanese authorities in the affairs of Cooch Behar, which began in the 16th century, intensified in the 19th. Bhutan struggled to retain the Bengal Duars, which were now threatened by competing British power. In 1770, Desi Zhidarla's (alias Sonam Lhundup) forces advanced against Cooch Behar, a buffer between Bhutan and the British; it alarmed the British. Cooch Behar became a British protectorate after the first Anglo-Bhutan War in 177273. The Assam Duars were annexed to British territory in 1841, leaving a festering grievance against the British among a succession of Tongsa Ponlop, from Ugyen Phuntsho and 121
Journal of Bhutan Studies Tshoki Dorji to Jigme Namgyel (1824-1881), who were not reconciled to the territorial loss. After three campaigns conducted against Bhutan from November 1864 to November 1865, British succeeded in extending their frontier to the foothills. Economic blockade was imposed by closing twelve passes. In the second campaign, Jigme Namgyel and his 5000-strong troop, including logistic support, routed the British column in Dewangiri, and drove them back. The repulsion of British positions, from Chamorchee to Dewangiri, along the southern borders was carried out around the same time. British held several posts along the foothills since the first campaign. Tongsa Ponlop conducted the attack on Dewangiri post on the early hours of 30 January 1865. On 25th January, Bhutanese forces attacked Bishensing, and the next day Buxa was attacked. On 27th January Chamorchee in Samchi and Balla Pass in Chhukha were threatened by the Bhutanese. Fighting along these positions became entrenched; British prestige, it was said, was tarnished at Dewangiri and Balla. Reinforcement of munitions and troops were assigned. The third and the last expedition against Bhutan conducted with more than two brigades, and the economic blockade which lasting more than half a year; combined with a grave military threat to march to Punakha if negotiations were not held, led to the Treaty of Sinchula, 1865. We might not be able to ascertain which vital goods, if any, the blockade stopped from their regular flow, but it certainly affected the caravan trade that many of the high officials plied privately. Bhutan was represented in the negotiations at Sinchula by Tongsa Ponlop Jigme Namgyel (Ponlop from 1843-1866) and Debi Zimpon Samdrup Dorji and Zhung Donyere Damchoe Rinchen. Bhutan lost more than betel nut harvests from the plains, but the war did convey a different impression of the Bhutanese to the British. The Bhutanese were described as brave but inexperienced hillmen ready to fight to the last. All the Duars were formally ceded to Britain in 1865, and a subsidy of Rs. 50,000 was paid annually in lieu of the annexation. The release of the annual subsidy became a significant leverage to nurture a friendly attitude toward the British. This was the last war Bhutan 122
Perceptions of Security fought. The Duar Wars of 1864-65 brought the Anglo-Bhutan relationship to a turning point. The Treaty of Sinchula established a policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of Bhutan on the part of the British Raj. The Duar Wars were fought in the midst of increasing fragmentation of the Bhutanese polity. The fragmentation process really gained speed in the late 1850s and, it is doubtful whether there was a concerted effort to face the external challenge, in spite of the British comment that they acted in unison to resist foreign invasion. There were outbreaks of internecine conflict (nang khrug) generated by unregulated vying among the contenders for high positions. On the other hand, it seems that the conflicts, except in 1860s and 1870s, have been exaggerated by later historians: only six Desi were assassinated in the whole of Buddhacraticrepublican period ruled by some 54 Desi over a period of 245 years10. This is, by any standard, an index of stability. Relationship with the Pre- and Post-Independent India in the 20th Century For Bhutan, the 20th century commenced with a British proposal to open a route to Tibet up the Amochu and Dichu valleys, which reminds us of Bhutan's strategic role as one of the route control points. British government wanted to expand their relationship with Tibet, establish trade routes, negotiate a treaty that would secure British political influence in Tibet with respect to Tibet's third country relationship, and finalize the boundary between India and Tibet. One of initiatives in this direction was Young Husband expedition in which Ponlop Uygen Wangchuk played a key role. In accordance with prophetic divination revealed to the 13th Dalai Lama, Tongsa Ponlop Ugyen Wangchuk was accepted by Tibetans to mediate between Tibet and British Government of India. The offer of his mediation services appealed equally to Col. Young Husband. In the first month of the Wood Dragon Year (1905), trusted servants of Ponlop Ugyen Wangchuk were selected to accompany him. Among the fifty 123
Journal of Bhutan Studies people, the principle officials were Kazi Ugyen, Wangdi Donyer Kunzang Domchung, and Tsongpon Darjay of Trashigang. A Bhutanese source 11 points to the crucial negotiation that Ponlop Ugyen Wangchuk played in saving Drepung monastery from the point of being destroyed by Col. Young Husband's troops. The role of Bhutan in the expedition of 1905 enhanced the prestige of both Tongsa Ponlop and the country. Therefore, the British, who considered him favourably disposed to British interests, also welcomed change in the position of Ponlop Ugyen Wangchuk into hereditary Kingship of Bhutan, which was offered by the Council and people of Bhutan in 1907. At the same time, Ponlop Ugyen Wangchuk was tipped prophetically by contemporary lamas like first Khyentse, Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, and Kongtrul Yonten Jamtsho to become the King of Bhutan. The establishment of the institution of monarchy proved to be the most important factor in the stability and sovereignty of the country. Besides having a stable buffer, the British Raj's main interest in Bhutan was to secure peace along the Indo-Bhutan frontiers (and expand trade through the Himalayas). Later, t h e doctrine evolved, with the Great Game, to control the influences of competing powers in northern and central Asia. Pre-Independant India was concerned about possible Tibetan and Chinese influence in Bhutan. A provision to minimise such direct influence formed a part of the bilateral treaty between Bhutan and pre-Independent India. In postIndependent India's relationship with Bhutan, too, this precautionary doctrine was inherited. Likewise, the British Government in India, in the first two decades of the 20th century, sought a peaceful Tibetan status as a buffer between three powers: China, Russia and Britain. But its view of Tibet vacillated and shifted several times from one of recognizing special relationship between China and Tibet in 1906, autonomy in all respects in 1921, and back to suzerainty. British India initiated negotiations with the Tibetans and Chinese in an engagement to consolidate the 124
Perceptions of Security 1500 miles long frontier between Tibet and British India. This led to the Tripatrite Convention of 1914.12 The eastern boundary between Bhutan and Tibet, and between British India and Bhutan were defined, or more precisely redefined, in the first half of this century. For example, the questions about the Balipara Frontier Tract and about the eastern boundary of Bhutan, whether it was up to Deosham or Dhansiri rivers, cropped up frequently in the 1920s and 1930s. Deb Zimpon Raja Sonam Tobgay Dorji, the father of the Queen Mother of Bhutan, represented the country in the dealings. A clear demarcation of boundary between post-Independent India and Bhutan, it seems, was formally completed only in the early 1960s. The inevitable impression that is created from reading history is that in almost all border settlements in the 19th and 20th centuries, the territory of what was once considered Bhutan has contracted. In 20th century, Bhutanese strategists, chiefly late His Majesty, realized the relative obsolescence of isolationism, as a defensive power, that was natural to a landlocked country. This is, however, not to say that impedance of indomitable terrain does not provide natural defences. It always does. But late His Majesty had to take several fundamentally new decisions in the late 1950s. In the light of new reality in the Himalayan region, the post-1960s Bhutan came to share a certain degree of strategic interest with India, in the nature of deterrence. This prospect of shared security arrangements generated a sense of assurance for its territorial security, as well as better prospects for rapid development. Bhutanese strategic thinking13, therefore, led to a measured acceptance of overall Indian security arrangements as a means to protecting and strengthening its sovereignty. Prime Minister Nehru saw the Himalayas as natural barriers to enhancing the security of India14 and wanted to prevent the formation of a Sino-Bhutanese relationship in the image of Sino-Nepalese relationship that took place in the aftermath of 125
Journal of Bhutan Studies the visit of Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai to Kathmandu in 1957. The notion of a special relationship between India and Nepal was replaced by the Nepalese principle of equi-distance between China and India. But what transpired from the meeting of Pandit Nehru and King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk in Paro was far more than friendly neighbourliness. There began a process of development with assistance from India directed first at building roads. The construction of roads began a year before the Indo-China war of 1962 and picked up steam afterwards. The conflict between these two giant neighbours also led to the modernization of the Royal Bhutan Army, with light infantry weapons and training provided by the Indian Military Training Team (IMTRAT) in 1963. This is often referred to as the moment when "Bhutan for the first time accepted India's concept of broad security perimeter" 15. Described usually as a "special relationship"16, India and Bhutan have established a pragmatic and responsive relationship that was begun by the first Indian Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and King Jigmi Dorji Wangchuk, with the former's July, 1958 visit to the Kingdom on horseback. In the same year, there was a dispute about the Sino-Bhutan boundary, after China occupied 300 sq km of Bhutanese enclaves17. Sino-Indian relationships, which were already strained at that time, were soon to become hostile. Although there was already an overwhelming Chinese presence in Tibet, it was a period when Nehru advocated Panch shila18, in Asia19 and Non-alignment, a movement repudiated by Chairman Mao as "illusions about a third road" which did not fit with his theory of two camps20. Prime Minister Nehru articulated those same principles of panAsian idealism in his speech to the rural people of Paro, during his visit in 1958. 126
Perceptions of Security There is yet another geo-strategic dimension with respect to Indo-Bhutanese relationship. The creation of East Pakistan during the partition of India in 1947 and the independence of Bangladesh in 1971 left the mainland of India connected to its Northeast by a narrow 'choke-point', the Siliguri corridor, running between Bhutan and Bangladesh. The Northeast is hemmed in by Nepal, Burma, Bangladesh and Bhutan. The future scenario of development of the Northeast, as projected in the concept of a growth triangle, also depends on the participation of Bhutan21. In the same vein, Bhutan is landlocked and it is critically dependent on the seaport in Calcutta. Calcutta is closer to Bhutan than Guangzhou, a Chinese seaport nearest to Bhutan from the north. Thus, geography itself favours trade and transit ties with India. Over the last four decades, Indian aid has diversified into every sphere. Simultaneously, some of the programmes that were considered implicitly preserves of Indian assistance in the initial five year plans have gradually been opened for other donors. Mutual trust and confidence has allowed for a genial and frank relationship to emerge, along with the change of donor-recipient attitudes to cooperation for mutual benefit. On the whole, India has come to concentrate increasingly on investment in the hydropower sector, in accordance with a mutually beneficial economic strategy. The export of energy to India is seen as the key to achievement of Bhutan's economic self-reliance. India's economic assistance to Bhutan continues to be in quantitative terms the highest among all the donors. This is done on the premise that the security of Bhutan itself, and as an ally of India - a factor also in the security of India - is best served by a rich and prosperous Bhutan. Referring to Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh, the former Prime Minister I. K. Gujral, a highly respected figure in the region, said that "We have vested interest in their economic development, not in their nondevelopment" 22. Embracing post-cold war realism, he argued for non-reciprocal concessions to neighbours to promote greater economic and commercial cooperation. He was of the view that India should encourage improvement in the balance 127
Journal of Bhutan Studies of trade of these countries vis-а-vis itself. If the present overwhelming balance of trade in favour of India is allowed to continue, he said that "then in a way you are seeing that their economic development does not take place"23. In 1999, Bhutan's export to India, excluding electricity, was Nu. 2.7 billion while its import from India was Nu 7.8 billion. Bhutan's export to India including electricity in the same year was Nu 4.7 billion. Thus, for Bhutan, revenue earning and balancing of trade is staked on hydro-power export to India. Hydropower has come to play an epic role in the Bhutanese economy. Certain Indian states will be critically dependent on Bhutan, with whom the Government of India has long term supply contracts, to meet their rising electrical energy demand. For both the buyer and the seller, this commodity is of strategic interest, which adds another layer of stake in the economic and strategic relationship between the two countries. The same economic security consideration applies to all the vital supplies, ranging from oil to rice, that come from India to Bhutan. In 1999, Bhutan imported 38 MT of rice, 17 MT of wheat, 33 million litres of diesel and 5 million litres of petrol; the volume of such strategic supplies are increasing rapidly to fuel high rate of growth of the Bhutanese economy. China and Bhutan The strategic interests of both China and India in South Asia, within which Bhutan is sensitively located, revolve around India and China's wish to mutually contain each other. China and India had ideological differences during the Cold War. India sponsored its non-aligned movement while Mao criticized the non -aligned movement. The attempt, by Nehru and other leaders, of the non-alignment movement to restructure international relations ended with closer Indo -US relations24 after Sino-Indian war of 1962 and the Indo-USSR relations formalized in 197125. China's strategic view has been shaped by its fear of being encircled by its rivals ­ the US and USSR ­ and Indian allies and by its determination to reassert what it sees as its rightful dominant position in Asia. 128
Perceptions of Security Despite the century old Chinese -Russian rivalries, recent years have seen regular military exchanges between China and Russian since 1995. Beijing and Moscow have cooperation to foster multi-polarity and counter balance. Though there was a general improvement in Sino-Indian relations after the end of the cold war, question on the SinoIndian boundary remain to be resolved. A warming up of the relationship between China and India will produce a gradual change in the security perception in the region. The influx of Tibetans refugees and their potential to aggravate Sino-Bhutan relations led Bhutan to close its border with China in 1960. Cross border trade was brought to a standstill and has not yet been reopened formally. In the 1962 war between China and India, both China and India were keen to maintain the neutrality of Bhutan26. "China issued a statement professing peace and friendship with Bhutan and the latter refused to allow the use of her territories by the Indian soldiers"27. A bilateral agreement to maintain peace and tranquillity along the Sino-Bhutanese boundary was signed, finally, in 1998. A similar Border Peace and Tranquillity Treaty was signed between China and India in 1993. There is no formal diplomatic relationship with China. However, official contacts with Beijing have been growing through both direct and multilateral channels. Dialogues, particularly on the boundary, are conducted according to the five principles of co-existence. Protracted negotiations on the demarcation of the Sino-Bhutan border, initiated first in 1984, have reached the 14th round. The discussion is now close to final resolution. The Chinese approach on this matter with Bhutan is quite similar to the one it had taken earlier with Nepal, and as proposed once to India on the Sino-Indian boundary, with preference for a `package deal' rather than a sector-by-sector settlement. 129
Journal of Bhutan Studies Illicit Sanctuary by ULFA and NDFB In the early 1960s, the nature of Bhutanese army forces changed from a reserve militia-style pazap-force, accustomed more to mountain warfare, to a conventional army with light infantry weapons. Since its establishment along modern lines, the Royal Bhutanese Army has been concentrated mainly on the northern frontier with China. The Indo -Bhutan border was left open and porous. No military post was maintained along the southern border contiguous with India. Friendship precluded perceptions of threat from each other, and assistance provided by India was not allocated for defence against potential threats arising from any quarter within India. It adds to the irony that the security threat now facing Bhutan from ULFA and NDFB militant insurgents, against whom a large military does not necessarily enjoy superiority, came about from the unguarded southern frontier. The ULFA and NDFB militants have illicitly set up camps in the extensive mountain-forests of southern Bhutan. Their first entry was undetected in unbroken canopies of jungles. The rise of the southern immigration problem in the early 1990s further deflected the attention of the Royal Government from the infiltration of militants. Throughout the 1990s discussion in the National Assembly was more or less monopolized by the threat posed by the southern immigration problem. The ULFA and NDFB militants exploited the national focus elsewhere to set up their camps in the jungles and conduct covert operations. Some observers believe that the train of militants entering Bhutanese forests could have started during `Operation Bajrang' in 1990. Clear confirmation of the presence of make-shift camps came to the attention of the Royal Government as late as 1995, reportedly sighted by cattle-herders, whose annual migratory tracks take them through certain parts of terrain not frequented by anybody else, and whose knowledge of the landscape can barely be surpassed by professionals, military or otherwise. It was only as late as 1997 that the sanctuaries of ULFA and 130
Perceptions of Security NDFB militants in the country figured as a serious security threat in National Assembly discussions28. The implications of their illicit presence were disseminated to the citizenry by the media and by word of mouth. Immediately, people were strictly forbidden from offering any form of assistance to the militants in order to isolate them and deprive them of logistic support and supplies. Cutting off supplies to the militant camps; legal action against anyone helping the militants; peaceful dialogue to persuade the militants to leave the country; and military actions if all other measures failed were the four-step process outlined by the Royal Government29. The real question remains what to do with the militants taking shelter in the forests. Knowledge does not necessarily lead to action if the means to act do not exist. Lack of outposts in the south was the main cause of 'unpreparedness'. A few bases for the Royal Bhutan Army have been recently opened in southern Bhutan. The suggestion to mount joint operations between Indian and Bhutanese troops, to make up for possible incapacity of doing it alone, do not have the same appeal to Bhutan as it does to India. Even with the deployment of new generations of weapons, effectiveness against guerrilla forces and smallscale insurgents are uncertain and fighting them is often protracted. For Bhutan, the freedom for its search for a peaceful dialogue with the militants at its own pace inspired further confidence in close relationship between Bhutan and India. The National Assembly of Bhutan has resolved firmly that the security of Bhutan must be defended by the Bhutanese. The results of joint operations can be inconclusive, as demonstrated by past military operations involving many Indian divisions. Partnership between the troops of the two nations could also provoke retaliation against Bhutanese civilians who transit everyday through Assam, where depredations by militants occur regularly. Thus the Royal Government has taken recourse to talks with the militant leaders, urging them to leave Bhutan. Exhortations for the militants to leave the country, in the two rounds of talks with ULFA and one round of talk with NDFB, have been 131
Journal of Bhutan Studies fruitless. The ULFA militants apparently insist on staying on until Assam attains independence, a chimera in the present circumstances. In the royal speeches that His Majesty the King delivered in late 2000 and early 2001 during the district tours, it seems that peaceful options are getting exhausted, and armed confrontation between the militants and the Royal Bhutan Army more likely. The dilemma between increased security threat if their continued stay is tolerated, and reprisals against Bhutan civilians travelling through Assam, if an armed conflict is unavoidable, is indeed acute. Meanwhile an optimistic solution have been worked by the Royal Government of Bhutan. In the 79th session of the National Assembly of Bhutan held in the summer of 2001, the Royal Government of Bhutan reported that an agreement had been struck between the ULFA and Bhutan. According to this agreement, which was ratified by the National Assembly, ULFA will vacate and close four out of nine camps. Disturbance in the South The porous border in the South has been a factor in the rise of another major security threat. Undefended borders facilitate illicit migrations and a weak administration cannot detect them. But if the local population, who were prior immigrants, themselves favour the immigrants or unregulated entry of immigrants, even a strong administration can be impaired. These two factors essentially contributed to the arrival of Nepalese immigrants, drawn by favourable prospects of land and livelihoods. No doubt the British encouraged Nepalese immigration at the turn of the century as they did in Sikkim as a counterpoise to northern influence (of Bhutanese, Tibetan and Chinese) seeping down. At the beginning of 20th century, some Bhutanese authorities encouraged Nepali settlement in certain parts of southern Bhutan to work in commercial logging and clearing land. But the medieval subjects of the Druk Desi in the southern Duars were Assamese and Bengalese rather than Nepalese who arrived in mass relatively recently. The absence of significant Nepali settlement in southern Bhutan, until their initial 132
Perceptions of Security sightings in last stages of the 19th century, is reported by several British missions30. Bhutan could not have been spared the immigration when the immigrant Nepalese reached as far as India's North Eastern states of Mizoram, Manipur, Meghalaya and Assam. Between 1978-80, many agitation-groups calling for ouster of immigrant outsiders were formed throughout the North East. Thousands of immigrant-Nepalese were evicted in the late 1980s from various North Eastern states of India, and became the proximate cause of Gorkha National Liberation Front agitation demanding statehood, starting in 198531. The Gorkhaland movement was a stimulus to the southern problem that unfolded in the early 1990s. In fact, Gorkha National Organization and its affiliate Nepali Rasha Samity, and Darjeeling Pranta Parishad pledged their support to the rebels in late 1990. The triumph of Nepali Congress in Kathmandu, which ushered in a period of rapidly changing governments composed of various coalitions, had a bandwagon effect on the movement by dissidents. The competence of checking immigrants as well as the institutional capability to undertake demographic assessment and conduct a census grew quite late. The Citizenship Act of 1958 was amended and passed in the 46th session of the National Assembly in 1985 but its enforcement through census was delayed because of the resource constraint. The census of late 1988-90 reported an uncomfortably large illicit immigrant-population in the five southern districts. A demographic transformation was on the way if the census had not been carried out. The district of Samtse alone reported an illicit immigrant population of 13,00032. The people whose citizenships were in doubt fomented dissent. The census stirred political agitation. Cumbersome enumeration procedures, where an entire family had to report to the census field office several times heightened their sense of insecurity and anxiety during which people can find difficult to be rational and prudent. The controversy over gho and kira, dress for men and women respectively, and omission of Nepali as the third language in primary schools in 133
Journal of Bhutan Studies southern Bhutan in 1989 became opportunistic issues for dissidents to rally other Lhotshampas33. Insurgency was launched to bring `mob' and demographic pressures. The chronology of events spanning the critical years ­ 1988-93 has been recorded34. Several fractious and activist organizations like the Bhutan's People's Party, People's Forum for Human Rights, Bhutan Student's Union, and United Liberation Peoples Fronts were formed in camps in Nepal by dissidents who left Bhutan. From external bases, especially the tea estates where they camped, hotheads took up armed attacks and menaced Bhutanese villages close to the border. There were raids, extortion, destruction and even kidnaps and killings. Propaganda to join the dissidents flowed from various organizations including the Publicity Cell of People's Forum for Human Rights. There were scuffles at demonstrations in some southern towns in 199035. A solution process has finally emerged from agreement announced between Bhutan and Nepal in late 2000. It is contended that there are close to 100,000 refugees, including those born in the camps, from Bhutan. According to the agreed verification procedure, those in the camps who are evicted Bhutanese citizens in accordance with the Citizenship Act will be taken back. But it is suspected that the refugee camps have people who claim that they are Bhutanese citizens irrespective of the Citizenship Act. One of the demands that the dissidents wanted to impose forcibly, at the height of their movement in 1990, was an amendment to the Citizenship Act.36 There is a measure of contradiction in the dissidents' wish to define citizenship by repudiating the Citizenship Act. In the popular media in Nepal, there has been uni -focal focus on human rights, sidestepping the citizenship issue. This has led the Bhutanese readers to have a perception of the Nepalese media as a prejudicial factor in the international debate on refugee issue. 134
Perceptions of Security That illicit immigration did not take place at all after 1958, the legal cut-off date for Bhutanese citizenship, is one end in the spectrum of argument, while recognition of all those who are in the camps in Nepal as bona fide Bhutanese citizens is at the other end of the spectrum. Both governments have agreed on the four categories within which refugees will be classified, as well as on the criteria of verification. The verification process now agreed between Nepal and Bhutan will probe where the truth stands. The new millennium has begun with a major diplomatic advance between Bhutan and Nepal. Let us hope that a realistic solution emerges and realism prevails. Concluding Remarks Bhutan has seen that unless a small country is vitally important in the global balance of power, crises in small states usually do not get international media profile. Small states are left to cope on their own, with risks, threats and disasters, which are considered distant crises of no international significance. The interests of small states can be subordinated to contiguous powers, large corporations, big economies, and even external paramilitary outfits. The fact that Bhutan has steered away from such influences, and toward a development path of its own, is a tribute to the acumen of its leaders, in particular His Majesty the King, Jigmi Singye Wangchuck. Security poses inordinate challenges for Bhutan, as its security establishments for deterrence capacity is minimal. This fact is considered to predispose its sovereignty and security to risk. The lack of pre -emptive capability for counter measures has been amply demonstrated against the destabilising spill over effects of militancy in Assam, and cross-border immigration into Bhutan spurred by poverty and natural disasters. Neither militancy nor poverty in the areas adjacent to Bhutan, which are the ultimate causes of the current security problems Bhutan faces, are unfortunately on decline. 135
Journal of Bhutan Studies On the other hand, Bhutan, like several small states, has been part of the globally important strategic countries that function as geo-strategic bases, as route control points, as buffer between large neighbours, and as rims in the defence of larger neighbours. It is a positional good that gives an inherent security strength to the country. Lacking technology and military strength, Bhutan has attempted to rely on nonmilitary security alternatives such as national identity for cultural cohesion, and neutrality to renew its long-term security. The relevance and role of cultural cohesion, neutrality and other non-conventional factors in the maintenance of Bhutan's security and sovereignty in a region, where sharpening of military weapons systems and massification of troops has continued, unabated is subject to be investigated on its own. Notes 1 Notwithstanding its ancient sovereignty, there are belligerent and nebulous claims on it. For example in 1732 Tibetan ruler Lord Pholasnas conveyed the news to the Emperor of China that he had brought Nepal together with the Southern Drukpa state beneath the emperor's rule. This information, which occurs in the biography of the third Pachen Lama, has been brought to my notice by John Ardussi. This was the source of nebulous disinformation and claim China made on the kingdoms of Nepal, Sikkim and Bhutan in the 19th century. 2 For a detailed and authoritative account of frontier relations between Bhutan and India See Deb Arabinda, India and Bhutan A Study in Frontier Political Relations (1772-1865), Calcutta: Firma KLM Private Ltd. 1976. 3 Ardussi John A, "The Rapprochement between Bhutan and Tibet under the Enlightened rule of sDe-srid XIII Shes-rab-dbang-phyug (r. 1744-63)", Journal of Bhutan Studies, Autumn vol. 1 No. 1 Thimphu: Centre for Bhutan Studies, 1999, pp. 64-83. 4 For British account of the events leading to the Duar War See Rennie David Field, Bhotan and the Story of Duar War , first published 1866, New Delhi: Bibliotheca Himalayica Manjusri Publishing House, 1970. 5 Ardussi John and Karma Ura, "Population and Governance in the mid-18the Century Bhutan, as Revealed in the Enthronement Record of Thug-sprul 'Jigs med grags pa I (1725-1761)", Journal of 136
Perceptions of Security Bhutan Studies Vol. 2 Number 2. Winter 2000, Thimphu: The Centre for Bhutan Studies, 2000, pp. 39-84. 6 Markham Clements R, Narratives of the Mission of George Bogle to Tibet and of the Journey of Thomas Manning to Lhasa, 1st ed., 1876, Delhi: Reprinted by Asian Educational Services, 1999, p. 57. See pp. 62-63 for a brief description of soldiers in Bhutan. 7 See Rennie David Field, Bhotan and the Story of Duar War , first published 1866, New Delhi: Bibliotheca Himalayica Manjusri Publishing House, 1970. 8 Pema Tshewang, History of Bhutan ('brug gi rgyal rabs slob dpon padma tshe dbang gyis sbyar ba, 'brug gsal bai sgron me), 1st ed. Thimphu: National Library, 1994. 9 Markham Clements R, Ibid., p. 57. 10 For a clear list of the successive Desi, Ponlop, and Dzongpon and their tenures, See Nado, Druk Karpo (slob dpon gNag mDog, 'Brug dKarpo), Bhutan: Tharpaling Monastery, Bumthang, 1986, pp.143147. 11 I am grateful to Dasho Karma Gayleg for showing us the relevant portion of the History of Bhutan by Lame Gonpa Dasho Phuntsho Wangdi. This text, probably written in 1930s and 1940s have not yet been published nor available for research yet. 12 See chapter 51 in Richardson Hugh, High Peaks, Pure Earth: Collected Writings on Tibetan History and Culture, Lodon: Serendia Publications, 1998. See alo Geoff Child and Michael Walter, "SinoTibetan Relations and Tributary Ideology", The Tibet Journal, Vol XXV.No 1, Dharamsala, India, pp.51-62. 13 "...strategic doctrine must not become something theoretical or dogmatic. Its role is to define the likely dangers and how to deal with them, to project feasible goals and how to obtain them. It must furnish a mode of action for the circumstances it defines as "ordinary". See Kissinger Henry, "Power and Diplomacy",p.22. In Johnson E. A. J ed., The Dimensions of Diplomacy. Baltimore: John Hopkins Press, 1967. 14 On India's defence policy and Nehruvian security doctrine see Machanda Rita, "India", pp.28-74. In Banerjee Dipankar, ed., Security in South Asia Comprehensive and Cooperative. New Delhi: Manas Publications, 1999. 15 Lama Mahendra P, Ibid., p. 153 16 This term is also used to denote the relationship between the USA and Britain, particularly to refer to their defence-related cooperation "concerning intelligence, nuclear affairs and military matters." See 137
Journal of Bhutan Studies The Economist February 10th 2001, p. 26. But this is not what is meant by special relationship between Bhutan and India. 17 Lama Mahendra P, "Nepal and Bhutan", p.153. In Banerjee Dipankar, ed., Security in South Asia Comprehensive and Cooperative. New Delhi: Manas Publications, 1999. 18 These are "mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, noninterference in each other's internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence. See Tiwari Chitra K, Security in South Asia Internal and External Dimensions, p.236. London and New York: University Press of America. 19 Khilani Sunil, The Idea of India , Penguin, 1997, p. 39. 20 Tiwari Chitra K. Security in South Asia Internal and External Dimensions, p.235. London and New York: University Press of America. 21 For comprehensive account see Verghese B. G, India's Northeast Resurgent: Ethnicity, Insurgency, Governance, Development, 2nd ed. New Delhi: Konark Publishers, 1997. 22 Gujaral I. K, India in a Changng World, (Frontline Special Issue, August 1997) p. 13. 23 Ibid. 24 This is alleged in Indian analyses but not widely accepted outside. 25 Khilani Sunil, Ibid, p. 49. 26 Nehru had assured Bhutan that India will protect it against external aggression. See Lama Mahendra P. Ibid. 27 Lama Mahendra P, Ibid. p. 153. 28 National Assembly Secretariat, Proceedings and Resolutions of the 75th Session of the National Assembly held from the 20th June to 16th July, Vol. 11, 1997, Thimphu. 29 Briefing given by Foreign Minister of Bhutan, Lyonpo Jigmi Y. Thinley to the 7th Round Table Meeting between Bhutan and the donors at Thimphu, 7-9 November, 2000. 30 See Jigmi Y. Thinley, A Kingdom Beseiged in Bhutan: A Traditional Order and The Forces of Change, Thimphu: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 1993, pp. 1-36. 31 Verghese B. G, India's Northeast Resurgent Ethnicity, Insurgency, Governance, Development, New Delhi: Konark Publishers, pp. 204272. 32 Ura Karma, Untitled mimeograph on southern dissidents' movement, 1993. 33 A term in Dzongkha literally meaning southerners. 138
Perceptions of Security 34 See Dorji Kinley, A View from Thimphu in Bhutan: A Traditional Order and the Forces of Change, Thimphu: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, pp.55-77. 35 Ura Karma, Ibid. There were attempted intrusions en mass in Phuntsholing and marches into Samtse between 17-26 September 1990; marches in Tsirang on 4th October 1990; in Gaylegphug on 3rd December 1990. 36 This was made known as one of the 13 collections of demands in Tsirang in September 1990. The original 13-point demands were: 1. unconditional release of prisoners, 2. change of absolute monarchy to constitutional monarchy, 3. reform in the judiciary, 4. amendment to the Citizenship Act, 5 right to culture, dress, language and script, 6. freedom of religion, 7. freedom of press, speech and expression, 8. freedom of formation of unions and political parties, 9. freedom of trade and occupation, 10. right to equitable distribtuion of wealth and funds, 11. right to equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the state, 12. right to education, and 13. right against exploitation. 139

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