Journal of Bhutan Studies Volume 2. Number 1, Summer 2000

1. The House of ‘obs-mtsho – the History of a Bhutanese Gentry Family from the 13th to the 20th Century by John A. Ardussi

One of the most important threads of ongoing research in Bhutanese history is the documentation of the origin and historical interrelationships among its regional elite families. For most of its history, Bhutan has been characterized by relatively decentralized government, a geographically complex land of fragmented ecosystems in which such families shared habitat and competed for local dominance (the term “ruled” is probably too strong a generalization). The ’Brug-pa theocracy which began during the 17th century was the first successful attempt to impose national unity upon a constellation of local self-governing units of great variety, which in some cases trace their ancestry back as far as the 8th century AD. Even under the Zhabs-drung Rin-po-che and his successors, local elite families strongly influenced the direction of state policies.

2. Ancient Trade Partners: Bhutan, Cooch Bihar and Assam (17th-19th centuries) by

Françoise Pommaret

Western writers have often projected the image of Bhutan as an isolated country, a kind of autarchic mountainous island. This article is an attempt to show that, in fact, Bhutan carried out a substantial trade with her southern neighbours – Bengal (Cooch Bihar) and Assam (Kamrup) – at least from the 17th century, if not earlier. This trade is documented in British reports and Bhutanese historical sources, although for the latter, references have been found dispersed in biographies. Bhutan also appears to have been influenced by the weaving and silk techniques of north-east India. Because of trade links and the fact that Cooch Bihar minted money for Bhutan, the latter was able to play a political role in Cooch Bihar until this region was taken over by the British in 1773. From that date, Bhutan was pressed by the British to open her roads to traders, as it was the shortest route to Tibet and Lhasa. However, Bhutan resisted but continued trading in North Bengal and Assam, selling horses, wool products, and musk, while importing cotton cloth, broadcloth, tools, spices and tobacco.

3. Change in the Land Use System in Bhutan: Ecology, History, Culture, and Power by Tashi Wangchuk

This paper argues that in Bhutan, historically the land has been in most part held private, though the popular held view is that it was a feudal tenancy mode.

4. Economy of Yak Herders by Pema Gyamtsho

It is widely accepted that an understanding of the environmental and socio-economic conditions of an area is a prerequisite for the identification and formulation of appropriate research and development strategies. It is important to know ‘why people do what they do’ especially in traditional societies which have remained relatively unchanged by the forces of modern technological advancement.

5. A Brief History of Tango Monastery by Tshenyid Lopen Kuenleg

Generally speaking, this kingdom of the Sandalwood Valley is the second Copper-coloured celestial palace or the hidden holy land of the Second Buddha Guru Padmasambhava. Through the miraculous powers of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, the earth and all the rocks, stones, hills and mountains are manifested in the form of tutelary deities, both peaceful and wrathful, indicating how the sentient beings were subjugated and protected. Likewise, this is the place where the Compassionate Universal King Avalokitesvara revealed Himself in the self-emanated form of the Wrathful Hayagriva. Therefore, this is the holy place for retreats, the Siddhidhara, which was blessed by Guru Padmasambhava.

6. Consecration of New Ka-gong-phur-sum Lhangkhang in Kurjey, Bumthang by H.H. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche by Anonymous

The main consecration of the new Kurjey Temple was held on the 15 Day of the Fourth Month of the Wood Horse Year in the 17th Rabjung corresponding to June 8, 1990, which coincided with the anniversary of Lord Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and Mahaparnirvana. The consecration ceremony was performed by His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Trulkus and monks of Tongsa, Tharpaling, Nyimalung and Shechan Tennyi Dargyeling Monastery of His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche at Boudhnath, Nepal. His Majesty The King, Her Majesty The Queen Mother, Their Majesties The Queens, Their Royal Highnesses The Princes and Princesses, senior monks from the Central Monastic Body and officials of the Royal Government attended the consecration and offered prayers.