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A Concise Religious History of Bhutan
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A Concise Religious History of Bhutan
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Preface

Professor Per Kvaerne, Department of Cultural Studies, University of Oslo, Norway reviewed my first book, revised version of PhD Thesis, titled "History of Bhutan based on Buddhism" published in 1994 and he published the book review report in ACTA ORIENT ALIA Volume 57 (November 1996). He said "While much of the information presented in the first five chapters may also be found in Michael Aris' fundamental study Bhutan, The Early History of a Himalayan Kingdom (Warminster, 1979), which covers Bhutanese history up to and including the life of the Shabdrung and his immediate successors, the following two chapters present much information which is not readily available elsewhere. Chapter, 6 dealt with the succession of the 54 Druk Desi ('Brug sdesrid), the hierarchs who, from the passing away of the Zhabdrung in 1651 and up to 1906, were the heads of the Bhutanese state. A short biographical sketch of each Desi is provided; likewise Chapter, 7 provides biographical sketches of the 66 Je Khenpo (rje mkhan po) who, from 1651 to the present day, have been the heads of the Drukpa Kagyu Tradition and thus are still the supreme spiritual authority in Bhutan. (The last three Je Khenpo are listed but not provided with biographical accounts as they are all alive)." And "The study of Bhutanese history is still a subject where much work remains to be done. The best results will be obtained if Bhutanese and Western scholars can complement each other's work. The present volume will serve not only as an introduction for those who are new to the field, but also as a useful point of departure for scholars."

The remarks made by Professor Per Kvaerne are very valuable for Bhutanese scholars. It is true that the study of Bhutanese history is still a subject where much work remains to be done. There was no classification of periods in the history of Bhutan and it is essential to have historical periods. Therefore, I made an attempt to classify into 6 periods i.e. Pre-historic period, Dawn .and Early period, Ancient period, Medieval period, Modern period and Post-modern period in my book titled "Sources of Bhutanese History" published by Prominent Publishers, New Delhi in 2004.

In this book, I made an attempt to write a concise history of Bhutan bifurcating horizontally and vertically into cultural history, religious history and political history and six periods respectively as mentioned above. As a student of Bhutanese history, I place this publication for review by the authorities on the subject. I hope, this publication will be useful and helpful to the students and teachers of Bhutanese history as a guidebook.

As a student of Bhutanese history, I have undertaken this modest work as a menas to broaden my own understanding and any flaws or inconsistencies it may contain are a reflection of my own ignorance. I must avail this opportunity to emphasize that the views expressed in the book are strictly and entirely my own and do not represent the views of any of the persons whose names have been mentioned. Therefore, I am wholly responsible for the views expressed in the book.

I have become increasingly aware of the unlimited scope of revising and improving this book. Therefore, comments, suggessions, advice and sympathetic cooperation of all students and teachers of Bhutanese history and others working in this subject will be of tremendous help to me and I sincerely welcome them.

Contents

LPSC EndorsementV
PreambleVII
ForewordIX
AcknowledgementsXI
PrefaceXIII
Chapter I:Country - Bhutan
ISituation1
IIOrigin1
IIILand1
IVDzongkhag (Districts)3
VMountains4
VIRivers4
VIIRace5
VIIIDifferent Names of the Country7
IXDerivation of Name "Bhutan"8
XDifferent Forms of Government9
XIEconomy9
Chapter II:Sources of Bhutanese History11
IBuddhist Texts12
11Religious and Devotional Literature12
IIIHistorical Literature13
IVBiographical Literature15
VEpics and Legends17
VIGuidebooks17
VIIEthnological Evidence19
VIIIArchaeological Evidence19
IXForeign Literature20
XState Papers and Official Records22
XINewsletters22
Chapter III:Religious History23
IPre-Historic Period25
1Life and Deeds of Lord Buddha25
IIDawn and Early Period
1Zamling Gyandug Chhognyi39
2Mahayana Buddhism and Development of Its Major Schools62
IIIAncient Period
1Establishment of the earliest Temples65
2Advent of Guru Padmasambhava65
3Chief Kagyu Masters68
4Singye Tshen-gu and Ri-sum Namtul77
5Sub-Schools of Kagyu Tradition82
IVMedieval Period
1Lam-Kha-Nga (Five Groups of Lamas)83
2Introduction of Drukpa Kagyu Tradition
by Lama Phajo Drugom Zhigpo88
3Visit of Drukpa Kagyu Hierarchs93
VModern Period
1Reincarnations of Zhabdrung Rinpochhe107
2Reincarnations of Dungsay Gyalsay Jampel Dorji108
3Reincarnations of Gyalsay Tenzin Rubgye108
463 Successive le Khenpos112
VIPost-Modem Period
17 Successive Je Khenpos139
2Other Buddhist Masters and Scholars (Monk and Laymen)145
3Bhutanese Buddhism151
4Present Status161
Appendices163
Glossary211
Chronology223
Bibliography243
Photo Plates247
Sample Pages















A Concise Religious History of Bhutan

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Preface

Professor Per Kvaerne, Department of Cultural Studies, University of Oslo, Norway reviewed my first book, revised version of PhD Thesis, titled "History of Bhutan based on Buddhism" published in 1994 and he published the book review report in ACTA ORIENT ALIA Volume 57 (November 1996). He said "While much of the information presented in the first five chapters may also be found in Michael Aris' fundamental study Bhutan, The Early History of a Himalayan Kingdom (Warminster, 1979), which covers Bhutanese history up to and including the life of the Shabdrung and his immediate successors, the following two chapters present much information which is not readily available elsewhere. Chapter, 6 dealt with the succession of the 54 Druk Desi ('Brug sdesrid), the hierarchs who, from the passing away of the Zhabdrung in 1651 and up to 1906, were the heads of the Bhutanese state. A short biographical sketch of each Desi is provided; likewise Chapter, 7 provides biographical sketches of the 66 Je Khenpo (rje mkhan po) who, from 1651 to the present day, have been the heads of the Drukpa Kagyu Tradition and thus are still the supreme spiritual authority in Bhutan. (The last three Je Khenpo are listed but not provided with biographical accounts as they are all alive)." And "The study of Bhutanese history is still a subject where much work remains to be done. The best results will be obtained if Bhutanese and Western scholars can complement each other's work. The present volume will serve not only as an introduction for those who are new to the field, but also as a useful point of departure for scholars."

The remarks made by Professor Per Kvaerne are very valuable for Bhutanese scholars. It is true that the study of Bhutanese history is still a subject where much work remains to be done. There was no classification of periods in the history of Bhutan and it is essential to have historical periods. Therefore, I made an attempt to classify into 6 periods i.e. Pre-historic period, Dawn .and Early period, Ancient period, Medieval period, Modern period and Post-modern period in my book titled "Sources of Bhutanese History" published by Prominent Publishers, New Delhi in 2004.

In this book, I made an attempt to write a concise history of Bhutan bifurcating horizontally and vertically into cultural history, religious history and political history and six periods respectively as mentioned above. As a student of Bhutanese history, I place this publication for review by the authorities on the subject. I hope, this publication will be useful and helpful to the students and teachers of Bhutanese history as a guidebook.

As a student of Bhutanese history, I have undertaken this modest work as a menas to broaden my own understanding and any flaws or inconsistencies it may contain are a reflection of my own ignorance. I must avail this opportunity to emphasize that the views expressed in the book are strictly and entirely my own and do not represent the views of any of the persons whose names have been mentioned. Therefore, I am wholly responsible for the views expressed in the book.

I have become increasingly aware of the unlimited scope of revising and improving this book. Therefore, comments, suggessions, advice and sympathetic cooperation of all students and teachers of Bhutanese history and others working in this subject will be of tremendous help to me and I sincerely welcome them.

Contents

LPSC EndorsementV
PreambleVII
ForewordIX
AcknowledgementsXI
PrefaceXIII
Chapter I:Country - Bhutan
ISituation1
IIOrigin1
IIILand1
IVDzongkhag (Districts)3
VMountains4
VIRivers4
VIIRace5
VIIIDifferent Names of the Country7
IXDerivation of Name "Bhutan"8
XDifferent Forms of Government9
XIEconomy9
Chapter II:Sources of Bhutanese History11
IBuddhist Texts12
11Religious and Devotional Literature12
IIIHistorical Literature13
IVBiographical Literature15
VEpics and Legends17
VIGuidebooks17
VIIEthnological Evidence19
VIIIArchaeological Evidence19
IXForeign Literature20
XState Papers and Official Records22
XINewsletters22
Chapter III:Religious History23
IPre-Historic Period25
1Life and Deeds of Lord Buddha25
IIDawn and Early Period
1Zamling Gyandug Chhognyi39
2Mahayana Buddhism and Development of Its Major Schools62
IIIAncient Period
1Establishment of the earliest Temples65
2Advent of Guru Padmasambhava65
3Chief Kagyu Masters68
4Singye Tshen-gu and Ri-sum Namtul77
5Sub-Schools of Kagyu Tradition82
IVMedieval Period
1Lam-Kha-Nga (Five Groups of Lamas)83
2Introduction of Drukpa Kagyu Tradition
by Lama Phajo Drugom Zhigpo88
3Visit of Drukpa Kagyu Hierarchs93
VModern Period
1Reincarnations of Zhabdrung Rinpochhe107
2Reincarnations of Dungsay Gyalsay Jampel Dorji108
3Reincarnations of Gyalsay Tenzin Rubgye108
463 Successive le Khenpos112
VIPost-Modem Period
17 Successive Je Khenpos139
2Other Buddhist Masters and Scholars (Monk and Laymen)145
3Bhutanese Buddhism151
4Present Status161
Appendices163
Glossary211
Chronology223
Bibliography243
Photo Plates247
Sample Pages















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