Bhutanese culture and principles of social harmony have been deeply rooted in the ancient Buddhist tradition since the dawn of Buddhism in the country. Buddhism first came to Bhutan in the seventh century when the Tibetan Dharma King songtsan Gampo miraculously built Jamya Lhakhang in Bumthan and Kichu Lhakhang in Paro.
In the 8th century, Guru Padmasambhava the Second Buddha, came to Bhutan for the first time before visiting Tibet followed by two further visits. During these visits, Guru Padmasambhava meditated in many holy places in Bhutan and hid many treasures for the benefit of the future beings and blessed the Kingdom of Bhutan as Holy Hidden Land.
During the 14th and 15th centuries, Kunkhyen Longchen Rabjam, an eminent Buddhist sage, and Terton Rigzin Pema Linga, the fourth from among five great treasure revealers, conducted many refigious discourses both on the Buddhist Cannon and the Treasure texts of Guru Padmasambhava. Their lineages stiff exist in the Kingdom.
Further in the 17th century, Zhabdung Ngawang Namgyal came to Bhutan and unified the country and established the dual system of government. From then on, the Nyingma and Drukya Kagyu Traditions flourished in the country with the latter becoming the state religion of the Kingdom of Bhutan.
It was in 1907, that Gongsa Ugyen Wangchuk was unanimously enthroned as the First Hereditary King of Bhutan. Since then, the successive Kings of Bhutan safeguarded the age old tradition and sovereignty of the Kingdom and their profound and farsighted policies brought about unprecedented socio-economic development in the country. In recent times, the philosophy of Gross National Happiness propounded by His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck the fourth King has become a subject of great interest and praise among the scholars around the world.
Over the years many international researchers have undertaken numerous studies on Bhutan and their findings have helped in fostering a greater understanding of Buddhism, culture and economy of the Kingdom of Bhutan.
Today, I am very happy that Prof. Seiji Kumagai is publishing a book titled "Buddhism, Culture and Society in Bhutan" and I am confident that it will certainly further the understanding of Bhutan and its people among the readers.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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