The his­tory un­folds

Bhutan Times - - Editorial -

Zhab­drung Ngawang Nam­gyel was born in 1594 and was en­throned as the 18th Drukpa li­nage and hered­i­tary prince of the tra­di­tional Drukpa Kagyu seat and es­tate of Ralung in UTsang prov­ince of Ti­bet.

On the 10th day of the 3rd month of the lu­nar cal­en­dar which falls on 16th April in 2016, Bhutan com­mem­o­rates the death an­niver­sary of Zhab­drung and the peo­ple of the king­dom pay trib­ute to the man who united the country and laid the foun­da­tion for its laws and cus­toms.

At this time, leg­end states that a pro­tec­tive de­ity ap­peared be­fore him in the form of a raven and di­rected him to go south to Bhutan. He was 23 years old when he en­tered the country at Gasa.

As Western Bhutan al­ready had a strong Drukpa Kagyu pres­ence, the ab­bot-prince was wel­comed by many of the lead­ing fam­i­lies and soon he was able to es­tab­lish him­self as a spir­i­tual and tem­po­ral leader of the re­gion.

A sa­cred relic of Avolok­itsvara, known as the Rangjung Kasarpani1 that Zhab­drung had brought with him from Ti­bet and in­terred in a chapel at Pu­nakha Dzong.

Zhab­drung made it a pri­or­ity to con­struct a num­ber of fortresses (known as dzongs) at strate­gic sites. In ad­di­tion to serv­ing a de­fen­sive func­tion, th­ese dzongs also housed a monas­tic body and civil au­thor­ity. The first struc­ture of this kind was built in 1629 on a ridge over­look­ing the Thim­phu Val­ley at Sem­tokha, and it has con­tin­ued to serve as a tem­plate for all fu­ture dzongs right up to the present time. In­clud­ing Sem­tokha, seven dzongs were built by Zhab­drung. Th­ese were lo­cated at Pu­nakha, Wangdue Pho­drang, Thim­phu, Paro, Trongsa and Da­gana.

Zhab­drung had strongly con­sol­i­dated his con­trol of the western re­gions. He had not only made the area safe from out­side at­tack, but also es­tab­lished a sys­tem of laws based closely on Bud­dhist prin­ci­ples of virtue. Fur­ther­more, he in­tro­duced a tax sys­tem and es­tab­lished the Choesi (dual) sys­tem of gov­er­nance, whereby the tem­po­ral and the re­li­gious au­thor­ity were sep­a­rated.

In 1651, Zhab­drung was ill and he sub­se­quently passed away on 10th day of th 3rd Bhutanese month.

In or­der to pre­vent pos­si­ble civil un­rest or op­por­tunist at­tacks from Ti­bet, the death was kept se­cret for fifty-eight years. The pub­lic were merely in­formed that the leader had en­tered re­treat.

This year it has been 400 years since Zhab­drung ar­rival in Bhutan and Zab­drung Ku­choe is con­sid­ered very aus­pi­cious as we cel­e­brate to the nam­ing cer­e­mony of His Royal High­ness The Gyalsey in Pu­nakha. As His Majesty The King an­nounced the name of His Royal High­ness The Gyalsey his­tory un­folds and we have a have se­cured and bright fu­ture ahead.

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