Bhutan is the only vajrayana independent kingdom left on this face of earth.
It was blessed entirely by Guru Padmasambhava (an Indian Tantric master) in 7th century. From there on, many Indian and Tibetan saints also meditated and blessed the country. Most notably Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal (founder of nation) unified the country in 16th century.
After this, through the monarchy’s selfless guidance in the twentieth century, Bhutan has achieved so much within the short span of 53 years time, from itself imposed isolation to modernisation.
It lies along the lofty ridges of the eastern Himalayas, bordering the Tibetan Autonomous region of China in the North and India in the South. With an area of 46500 km², Bhutan is comparable to Switzerland both in its size and topography, being largely mountainous.
It was the mighty Himalayas that protected Bhutan from the rest of the world and left the Kingdom blissfully untouched. The Bhutanese people protected this sacred heritage and unique identity for centuries by choosing to remain in a jealously guarded isolation. With a relatively small population of about 700,000 people, the Bhutanese enjoy a sustainable lifestyle which they inherited from their forefathers.
More than 80% of the population still live in small villages sparsely scattered over rugged mountain terrain. Everything revolves around culture in Bhutan; the way people eat, walk, sleep and almost all the daily activities.
The origin or the root of Bhutanese culture springs from Buddha Dharma, the philosophy of inner science which dates back to 2500 years ago.
What does inner science mean?
it is a method for viewing life, based on compassion, loving kindness and righteous actions. This has shaped the whole picture of culture in Bhutan throughout histories till now.
Viewing upon as the source of all life for centuries, Bhutanese has treasured its natural environment. This traditional reverence for nature has brought Bhutan into the 21th century with a pristine environment. More than 72% of the land area is under forest cover. On top of this, Bhutan is one of the ten bio-diversity hot spots in the world and one of the 221 global endemic bird areas. It‘s ecosystem harbors some of the most exotic species of the eastern Himalayas with an estimated 770 species of birds and 50 species of endangered animals.
The nature of Bhutanese politics.
It is distinctive because Bhutan is the only place to have retained the traditional institution of Buddhist monarchy and the prevailing regime appears to have been successful, particulary when interpreted within a regional context. It receives unwavering support from the mass as it has ensured good governance.
Respective monarchs are considered to be enlightened rulers. National politics coalesces around the monarch, whose traditional responsibilities focus on the maintenance of internal stability and the protection of territory and society from outside threats. This serves to both, promote a united national position and a clear division between internal and external affairs.
The development philosophy of Bhutan is Gross National Happiness (GNH). This idea has taken birth from His Majestry the fourth kings heart. He said “ gross national happiness is more important than gross national product“ in 1980´s.
The four pillars of GNH is as follows
1) conservation of natural environment.
2) promotion and preservation of culture
3) good governace
4) sustainable and equitable socio economic development.
This idea has guided Bhutan in every sphears of development till now and it has now reached to the notice of United nation organisation.