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Formation of the State of Bhutan ('Brug gzhung) in the 17th Century and its Tibetan Antecedents Ardussi, John 2004-12

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 Formation of the State of Bhutan ('Brug gzhung) in the 17th
Century and its Tibetan Antecedents*
John Ardussi
The relationship between religion and the state has remained
a perennial issue of the Tibetan cultural presence since the
7th century. The question is how the definition and actuality
of that relationship evolved over fourteen centuries, both
theoretically and in the practical implementation of governing
structures. On what moral or normative religious grounds
have the various Tibetan governments justified their
existence? Conversely, what political assertions or
compromises have religious institutions made to achieve a
privileged, or at least defined and workable, relationship with
the entities of civil governance?
These are questions that in India and the West were framed
in the context of debate over political theory, by such authors
as Kautilya, Plato, Machiavelli, Montesquieu, Locke and a
host of others. In the Buddhism-dominated intellectual
universe of traditional Tibet, debates over politics and
government were more likely to be argued in the pages of
religious or quasi-religious tracts. Biography, poetry and
religious history were literary genres which Tibetans used to
expound views on government, often linking important events
and leaders of the present with archetypes, both good and evil,
from canonical antiquity and the early monarchy.1 Prophecy
(including recovered gter-ma works and dream encounters
with deceased saints) was an especially potent Tibetan
cultural medium in which political criticism of contemporary
rulers could be articulated as an "authoritative voice from the
past." In the extreme were certain itinerant prophets who, like
* Reprinted from Christoph Cuppers (ed.) 2005. Proceedings of the
Seminar on The Relationship Between Religion and State (chos srid
zung 'brel) in Traditional Tibet; Lumbini 4-7 March 2000. Lumbini
International Research Institute, Monograph Series, vol. 4.
 their Biblical counterparts, sometimes described their visions
in voices deemed too politically strident, becoming thereby the
targets of imprisonment or assassination."
Although the phrase 'union of religion and state' chos srid
zung 'brel was widely invoked as an abstract theory of
governance in Tibet, its actual implementation varied
considerably. m During the 17-year period 1625-42, three
governments were formed in Tibetan cultural regions of the
Himalayas that endured into the 20th century, each with a
distinctive religion-state basis. We refer to the dGa'-ldan Pho-
brang government of the 5th Dalai Lama (1642), the state of
Sikkim or 'Bras-ljongs (1642), and the state of Bhutan
(1625/26) later called 'Brug-gzhung Phyogs-las-mam-rgyal. In
the case of Bhutan, some fifty years after its founding in
1625/26 an elaborate theoretical justification of the state's
mission was written, describing it as an earthly realm
founded by the Zhabs-drung Rin-po-che Ngag-dbang rNam-
rgyal (1594-1651), an emanation of the Bodhisattva
Avalokitesvara, to rule for the welfare and ultimate salvation
of his citizens in The Southern Land of Medicinal Plants.™
Eighteen years later the 5th Dalai Lama's regent, sDe-srid
Sangs-rgyas rGya-mtsho, published a similar manifesto on
behalf of the government in Lhasa." Each claimed to have
inherited the mandate and chos srid zung 'brel mission of the
Sakya - Mongol government. By contrast, no such exalted
claims were made on behalf of the Chogyal of Sikkim, whose
small Nyingmapa kingdom became a territory of competition
between Bhutan and Tibet.
It is easy to overlook the influence that more than a century
of militancy between Bhutan and Tibet had on broader events
of the period 1616 to roughly 1736. It is our contention that
the two documents cited above were written and published as
essentially political statements, articulated in the language of
intellectual debate current in the greater Tibetan world, at a
time when Bhutan and Tibet were competing for influence
throughout the Himalayas. They were not intended as
unvarnished  biography   or   history,   but  rather  provided  a
 framework of canonical and prophetic Buddha-vacana, words
of the Buddha on which to interpret and justify the political
events taking place on the Yet, there is a more
complex story here. For how could two neighboring states
sharing the same scriptural etiology and constitutional intent,
whose heads of state were emanations of the same
bodhisattva, yet remain at war with one another for more
than one hundred years over such issues as boundary
alignments, control of trade routes, and the ownership of
The Historical Origin of the State of Bhutan
The founding of a centralized state in Bhutan was the
outcome of an unresolved dispute between competing
candidates for recognition as head of the 'Brug-pa sect in
Tibet. But at another level it was also a dispute over
competing theories of government. From the time of gTsang-
pa rGya-ras (1161-1211) until the 14th Ra-lung hierarch
rGyal-dbang Kun-dga' dPal-'byor (1428-1476), the 'Brug-pa
sect had been centered at 'Brug and Ra-lung monasteries
under the control of a single family, a branch of the ancient
rGya clan.™ Although Ra-lung was one of the major family
religious establishments (gdan-sa) in central Tibet, at one
time granted the control of some 1,900 tax-paying estates by
the emperor Yesiin Temiir, it never achieved the formal status
of a myriarchy (khri-skor) within the Mongol classification,
and much of its erstwhile political authority fell away by 1360,
allegedly out ofthe abbots' disinterest in secular affairs.viii
In the early 17th century, however, the sect was split in two by
a great court dispute that in today's terms could be called a
'constitutional question': "Who had the mandate to provide
continued leadership of the sect and control its material
patrimony, the descendants of gTsang-pa rGya-ras or his
reincarnations?" The first such reincarnation, called rGyal-
dbang 'Brug-chen, was Kun-dga' dPal-'byor (1428-1476), a
scion of the rGya hierarchs of Ra-lung. But the next two
rebirths Jam-dbyangs Chos-kyi-grags-pa (1478-1523) and
Padma-dkar-po (1527-1592) did not belong to the rGya family,
 which declined to invest either of them with control of 'Brug
or Ra-lung monasteries. The two candidates for recognition as
the rebirth of Padma-dkar-po were Zhabs-drung Ngag-dbang
rNam-rgyal (1594-1651), a scion of the family who had
already been installed as Ra-lung hierarch, and dPag-bsam
dBang-po (1593-1641) who was a bastard son of the
powerful 'Phyongs-rgyas myriarch. After several years of low-
level skirmishing, the dispute came to a head over possession
of the so-called "self-created" (rang-byon) Kharsapani image of
Avalokitesvara said to have emerged miraculously from the
cremated remains of gTsang-pa rGya-ras. The entire 'Brug-pa
community believed in the prophetic power of this image,
which had been used to certify Padma-dkar-po's status as the
legitimate rebirth of Jam-dbyangs Chos-kyi-grags-pa and was
expected to identify his successor.ix
The whole matter was brought before the court of the regional
strongman at bSam-grub-rtse, gTsang sDe-srid bsTan-
bsrungs-pa (d. 1611?) and his successor Phun-tshogs rNam-
rgyal (1597-1621?). Both seem to have been offended by the
Zhabs-drung's brusque behavior, and were heavily lobbied by
supporters of his opponent led by his tutor Lha-rtse-ba Ngag-
dbang bZang-po (1546-1615). When the court required the
Zhabs-drung to surrender the image he refused to do so, out
of family pride and certain that it would be used in a
politically contrived stunt to reject his position. In 1616 he
decided to take refuge with his patrons in what is now the
state of Bhutan, bringing the prophetic image with hrm.x
The Founding of the State of Bhutan
Before the 17th century, western Bhutan consisted of a small
number of agricultural communities, basically independent of
any higher civil authority but given to ever-changing factional
alliances and feuds over various issues, including sectarian
allegiance. With some variation, the social patterns were
similar in central and eastern Bhutan. However the
predominant religion there was Nyingmapa Buddhism, with
the exception of Merak in the far east which was allied to the
Gelugpa monasteries of Tibet. The 'Brug-pa were predominant
 in western Bhutan, where more than a dozen branch
monasteries of Ra-lung predated 1600, and strong marital
alliances between the rGya family of Ra-lung and local valley
chiefs had been forged during the 14th century.xi
From his new headquarters, the Zhabs-drung exchanged a
series of highly challenging letters with the young Sde-pa
Gtsang-pa Phun-tshogs rNam-rgyal, denouncing his enemies
and their claim to the sacred image.™ In what must be one of
the most openly aired cases of monastic infighting over a
contested rebirth, he laid out a detailed account of his
opponents' alleged forgery, sectarian corruption, threats,
bribery and nepotism. Then, in a tone of conciliation, he
offered to terminate the black magic rites he had been aiming
at the gTsang court since the time of the former sDe-pa
bsTan-bsrungs-pa, if the two men could now come to a
mutual agreement. But this did not happen. Instead, in 1618
Phun-tshogs rNam-rgyal launched an army into Bhutan.
However, the Zhabs-drung won this battle by relying upon
sorcery and the support of Bhutanese village militias. With
this victory and several later ones over combined Tibetan and
Mongol forces, the Zhabs-drung established his reputation
among the local chiefs and in Tibet as a tough-minded leader
and powerful magus (mthu-chen) able to rouse the local deities
to his defense.xiii
The Zhabs-drung's original intent, the evidence suggests, was
to win his court case and return to Tibet. But by 1623, with
the dispute still unresolved, an alternate plan was needed.
The Zhabs-drung entered a three-year retreat to consider his
future, in a cave north of Thimphu.xiv As he later explained to
attendants, one option was to follow the path of such former
saints as Mi-la-ras-pa and Lo-ras-pa, wandering and
meditating in obscurity as lonely mountain hermits. The
second was to follow the path taken by the Sakya
hierarch 'Phags-pa to found a new religious state.xv Prophetic
guidance from the sacred image of Avalokitesvara and dream
encounters with his deceased father bsTan-pa'i-nyi-ma both
convinced him that he should found a new religious state
 ruled according to the Tibetan tradition of uniting religion
and secular government in a single administrative apparatus,
the so-called 'two-fold system' (lugs gnyis). During the
eleventh month of the Wood-Ox year (1625/26), he emerged
from the cave and announced his decision to establish a new
government in the country then known as "Southern Mon
Land of Four Doors" (Lho-Mon Kha-bzhi).™
The Theoretical Foundations of the 'Brug-pa State
The governing structures of the Bhutan state seem to have
evolved gradually out of precedents at hand and the
temporary arrangements of the Zhabs-drung and his small
entourage. Initially, it was perhaps something of a clone of
the situation at Ra-lung, i.e. a monastic gdan-sa with a few
officials and a network of patrons and properties. Other than
personal attendants and his Tibetan teacher Lha-dbang Blo-
gros, whom he appointed to serve as chief monastic preceptor,
the principal officer known for certain to have been appointed
by the Zhabs-drung was his Bhutanese patron bsTan-
'dzin 'Brug-rgyas (1591-1656), who was delegated the
responsibilities of civil administration.xvii We shall say more
about this office in a moment. For several years the Zhabs-
drung operated out of small, pre-existing monasteries at Cheri,
Tango, and Pangri Zampa™1, all located just north of the
present capital, Thimphu. It required about twenty-five years
to construct major fortified monasteries at Paro Rinchenpung,
Wangdue Phodrang, Trongsa, Punakha, and Tashichhodzong.
The theoretical foundations of the Zhabs-drung's new
ecclesiastic state are presented in elaborate detail by his
biographer, gTsang mKhan-chen, himself a refugee Karma-pa
monk driven out of Tibet by Mongol troops loyal to the 5th
Dalai Lama.™ We have said that this work was a political
document, to the extent that its purpose was to justify his
subject's state-building mission and political position with
respect to Tibet. The archetypes of legitimate governance from
which the author drew were those that were accepted more or
less implicitly by the Tibetan intelligentsia, namely Buddhist
canonical and gter-ma precedents embedded within received
scripture, the hallowed kings of the early Tibetan monarchy,
 and the more recent example of the Sakya-Mongol alliance.
These sources provided a vocabulary of religious purpose and
governing process that could be combined, as needed, to
describe a variety of actual state entities. It is instructive to
see how they were differently interpreted in the case of
Bhutan and the dGa'-ldan Pho-brang government at Lhasa.
The precedents and arguments cited by gTsang mKhan-chen
to justify the Zhabs-drung's state-building initiative can be
grouped into three categories, all deriving from the context of
1. Legitimacy through Prophecy, Sorcery, and Karma
In gTsang mKhan-chen's analysis, every significant event in
the life of the Zhabs-drung Rin-po-che had been foretold in
prophecy or pre-ordained through the workings of karma. The
fruition of these prophecies was offered as proof of his
incarnate status. For example, his flight from Tibet to Bhutan
was interpreted as the fulfillment of several prophecies,
including one of Padma Sambhava:
Seek out repose in the Southern Valleys,
On the border, through the Southern Door;
If you do thus you will gain as much success in seven days of
meditation as in seven years in the land of Tibet.^
Other prophecies attributed to gTsang-pa rGya-ras were
interpreted as pointing to a reincarnate successor occurring
within the family line. But the Zhabs-drung's enemies
opposed this reasoning, pointing to the fact that the last two
incarnates had been recognized outside the family.xxi The
Zhabs-drung then escalated his offensive, employing black
magical rites for which he had a growing reputation. He
prophesied the death in 1641 of his Tibetan rival dPag-bsam
dBang-po whom he branded "the false incarnation." Gtsang
mKhan-chen suggests that his use of sorcery had caused
it.3™1 Earlier enemies who fell victim to his reputed magical
powers included the 'Phyongs-rgyas myriarch Ngag-dbang
bSod-nams Grags-pa, murdered in 1615 by a crazed Indian
 yogin, and the ruler of gTsang Phun-tshogs rNam-rgyal and
his wife who both died c. 1621  of smallpox blamed on the
The death of his rivals and continued victories over invading
Tibetan armies were interpreted by gTsang mKhan-chen as
the fruition of karma and the fulfillment of prophecies that an
emanation of Avalokiteovara should establish a new state for
the welfare of its sentient inhabitants.™v In the Baidurya-ser-
po, Sde-srid Sangs-rgyas rGya-mtsho made similar use of
prophecy and gter-ma texts recorded by such writers as
Nyang-ral, to define an identical mission for the 5th Dalai
Lama in Lhasa. These were potent arguments that resonated
with Tibetan cultural norms, and were widely resorted to in
historical works of that era.™
2. Scriptural Authority and Personality: The Bodhisattva as
Although the Zhabs-drung Rin-po-che's government was
claimed to be modeled upon that of Sakya,^^ in fact there
were significant differences in the actual organization. An
important difference was that the Zhabs-drung was an
independent entity. Unlike the figurehead Imperial Preceptor
or FH Shi of Sakya, his spiritual rule did not depend on an
external Mongol protector.xxvii No military strongman granted
him authority in Bhutan in the way that the Mongol Gushri
Khan did for the 5th Dalai Lama. Nor did the Chinese emperor
play-act a "lama-patron" role in the guise of Manjusri as
happened in Qing Dynasty Tibet.xxviii Bhutanese support for
the Zhabs-drung accrued gradually during his lifetime, in part
by willing patronage and in part by conquest and the
expulsion of rival Lamas.™
In gTsang mKhan-chen's interpretation, therefore, the head of
state in Bhutan was himself simultaneously a Bodhisattva
and a Dharmaraja, the embodiment of a militant
Avalokitesvara taking command as its chief of state,
Lokesvara ('Jig-rten mgon-po), in a world polluted by the "five
defilements" (snyigs-ma Inga). Scriptural authority was cited
 from texts in the Kanjur which interpreted the mission of
Ngag-dbang rNam-rgyal as that of turning the ten-fold wheel
of the Dharma in both a religious sense and as a Cakravartin,
that is to say as a monarch inspired by In Tibetan
governments, however, where civil and religious authority
were more clearly separated, the archetypal role of
Dharmaraja or Chos-kyi-rgyal-po was interpreted as being
filled by the civil rulers. At Sakya this was the office of dPon-
chen.xxxi For the 5th Dalai Lama, Gushri Khan and his
successors were specifically entitled Chos-rgyal of Tibet.
Thus, civil governance was a key difference. The Zhabs-drung
answered to no higher authority, but chose to create a
subordinate administrative position called sDe-srid (the so-
called 'Deb Raja' of British Indian sources), which was
originally quasi-monastic. The Zhabs-drung was clearly above
the sDe-srid and his successors always had the theoretical
(though seldom exercised) right to simultaneously fill both
positions.xxxii The first Bhutanese sDe-srid had been a monk
at Ra-lung, and came from an old and prominent Bhutanese
family with ancient ties to Tibet. His role under the Zhabs-
drung was to manage the civil responsibilities that began to
grow in complexity after 1626, and to organize the war efforts
against his Tibetan and local enemies. Owing to the
termination of the Zhabs-drung's family line and the fact that
his death in 1651 was kept a secret for more than fifty years,
however, the position of sDe-srid began a long evolutionary
drift towards greater independence until, by the late 19 th
century, the notion of its subordination to the Zhabs-drung
and his incarnate successors became thoroughly
Other differences between Sakya and Bhutan are explained
by contrasting temperament of their founders. The mercurial,
multi-faceted Zhabs-drung Rin-po-che demanded a bigger
historical role than the scholarly Sakya Pandita or his
compliant nephew 'Phags-pa. He was intolerant of Bhutanese
who would not submit to his government, and many
opponents were expelled from the country.xxxiv Unlike Sakya,
 the launch of the state of Bhutan took place in a foreign land
and in a state of war with both internal and external enemies.
The resistance of sectarian rivals was interpreted by the
Zhabs-drung's apologists as proof of the need for an
aggressive, forceful ruler. An obscure text from the Kanjur,
the Tantra on the Arising ofthe Wrathful Lord's Yogic Powers
provided the necessary archetype of a "hands-on" Bodhisattva
who, in extreme circumstances, resorted even to the killing of
enemies to make his earthly kingdom safe for the Dharma.xxxv
In Tibet, where Gushri Khan served as defender of the faith,
the Dalai Lama's persona did not require such a militant
Nowhere is the issue of personality more succinctly
highlighted than in two poems, whose stylistic origins have
deep indigenous roots. Sakya Pandita was the author of a
famous (some might say egotistical) verse called "Commentary
on the Eight I's" (nga brgyad-ma'i 'grel-pa), which included
the passages
I  am a linguist,  I  a logician,  I  an unequalled destroyer of
pernicious talk;
I have an unrivalled discerning intellect;
Such a one is the man of Sakya, [I, Sakya Pandita], of whom
other scholars are [mere] reflections .xxxyi
Four hundred years later, in clear imitation of this poem and
with no pretence to humility, the Zhabs-drung Rin-po-che
wrote a declaration of victory over the Sde-pa gTsang-pa
Phun-tshogs rNam-rgyal known as "The Sixteen I's" (nga bcu-
I am he who turns the wheel of the dual system (of spiritual
and secular law).
I am everyone's good refuge.
I am he who upholds the teachings of the Glorious Brug-pa.
I am the subduer of all who disguise themselves as Brug-pa
I achieve the realization of the SarasvatI of Composition.
 I am the pure source of moral aphorisms.
I am the possessor of an unlimited view.
I am he who refutes those with false views.
I am the possessor of great power in debate.
Who is the rival that does not tremble before me?
I am the hero who destroys the host of demons.
Who is the strong man that can repulse my power?
I am mighty in speech that expounds religion.
I am wise in all the sciences.
I am the incarnation prophesied by the patriarchs.
I am the executioner of false incarnations.x*™1
Thus, the archetypes of Bodhisattva and Dharmaraja, of
scholar and wrathful lord, could be adopted as needed, to
underpin the reality of events taking shape in the physical
world of human affairs.
3. The 'Social Contract' and Code of Laws
In every major Himalayan state where traditional Tibetan
cultural values held sway, including Bhutan, it was the
declared obligation of the civil head of state to maintain law
and order so that its subjects could devote themselves to
leading a moral life and strive for a better rebirth in the next.
Various cliches were passed down to epitomize the workings
of good government, such as "the ability of an old woman to
safely carry a load of gold" through the realm.xxxviii Gtsang
mKhan-chen neatly presented this interrelationship,
summarizing canonical passages that might be called the
Buddhist equivalent of a 'Social Contract':
The   happiness   of   sentient   beings   is   dependent   on the
teachings   of  the   Buddha,   whereas   the   teachings   of the
Buddha,    too,    are   dependent   on   the   happiness    of the
world... .xxxix
From this theoretical interdependence and common purpose
was interpreted the government's right to administer civil law.
In the ideal 'two-fold system', "religious laws are to be as firm
as a soft silken knot, and civil laws as firm as a golden
yoke."xl In a similar formulation from Bhutan, the burden of
government was to be "as firm as a golden yoke upon the
 necks of citizens, whose households are countless as the
stars in the sky."xli Thus, in the highly conservative societies
we are studying, benign yet firm minimalism was perceived as
a government virtue, and this is reflected in the parsimony of
their law codes. Since the time of Srong-btsan sGam-po, legal
and moral principles were laid down in succinct groups of ten,
thirteen, sixteen, or twenty-one "prescripts" (zhal-lce bcu-drug,
etc.j which became the starting point for all later formulations
such as the expanded administrative law codes of later
centuries.xlii Thus in Bhutan, the civil law code as we know it
from the version published in the Lho'i chos'byung, was a
fairly complex document that included many detailed policies
on taxation, trade, social affairs, and prescribed behavior for
the administrative class.xliii
The Founding of the Sikkim Kingdom
A few words need to be said about Sikkim. This small country
had been known for centuries in Tibetan writings as a Hidden
Land of Padma Sambhava, the Valley of Rice ('Bras Ijongs). In
1642, the same year as the 5th Dalai Lama's installation in
Tibet, the first Chogyal of Sikkim named Phun-tshogs-rnam-
rgyal got himself installed at Yuksam Nor-bu-sgang, thereby
founding a hereditary princely line of Tibetan ancestry.xliv The
original territories were not very extensive, and power had to
be shared with the heads of native Lepcha and Bhutia
families who supplied ministers and consorts to the royal
court. The three Tibetan Lamas who conducted his
enthronement ceremony were all Nyingmapa, and like gTsang
mKhan-chen are said to have fled from Tibet to escape
Mongol depredations.xlv
Unlike Bhutan, however, although the Sikkim state was ruled
under the Chos srid zung 'brel principle and the Chogyal of
Sikkim was treated as a local Dharmaraja and reincarnation,
he made no grand claim to fulfilling the legacy of Sakya, or to
being an emanation of Avalokitesvara on a par with the Dalai
Lamas of Tibet. Instead, both rulers were initiates and
disciples of the Tibetan Nyingmapa Lama gTer-bdag Gling-pa,
founder of sMin-grol-gling monastery in Tibet, and of Lha-
 btsun Nam-mkha'-'jigs-med who performed the Chogyal's
coronation. From these spiritual ties there arose a cordial
relationship between the two governments which brought the
Chogyal and his descendants as frequent visitors to the
Potala. Although the Bhutanese tried several times to gain a
permanent foothold in Sikkim, Sikkim became an
acknowledged client state of Tibet by the early 18th century,
which it remained even after the British established a Political
Officer at Gangtok a century later.xlvi Thus, in spite of sharing
in the common Tibetan heritage of scriptural precedent and
political archetypes, the political form that Chos srid
zung 'brel took in Sikkim's case was vastly different from the
situation in Bhutan.
In reviewing what has been written above, it appears evident
that any description of the relationship between religion and
state in traditional Tibet must take place at several levels. In
the abstract, Tibetan historians and apologists adopted a
common set of political models based on canonical sources
and idealized interpretations of the early Tibetan monarchy.
Although providing a kind of 'constitutional' basis and
legitimacy, this level of description remains too abstract for
real political analysis, and seems always to have been applied
after the fact. Below this level, the principal structural
differences between Bhutan, Sakya, and later Tibetan
governments arose from historical events, an important
differentiation being the nature of the power relationship
between civil administrators and spiritual heads. Finally, as
would be expected, individual personalities were critical in
determining the shape and direction of the state-religion
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Phyogs-bsgrigs. Qinghai: Krung go'i bod kyi shes rig dpe
skrun khang, 1997. (Published in translation as: The
Merging of Religious and Secular Rule in Tibet. Beijing:
Foreign Languages Press, 1991).
Farquhar, David (1978). "Emperor as Bodhisattva in the
Governance of the Ch'ing Empire," Harvard Journal of Asian
Studies 38/1.
History of Sikkim = Their Highnesses the Maharaja Sir Thutob
Namgyal 8s Maharani Yeshay Dolma (1908). "History of
Sikkim" and a supplement entitled "The Pedigree of the
Kazis of Sikkim and the History of their Ancestors, as they
came by degrees to be appointed ministers to the Maharajas
of Sikkim." (Unpublished MS in the British Library, formerly
in the India Office Library, MSS EUR J733; translation
attributed to Kazi Dawa Samdup).
Kah-thog Si-tu'i dBus gTsang gNas-yig = Kah-thog Si-tu Chos-
kyi-rgya-mtsho (1920). Si tu pa chos kyi rgya mtsho'i gangs
Ijongs dbus gtsang gnas bskor lam yig nor bu zla shel gyi se
 mo do. Lhasa, Bod Ijongs bod yig dpe rnying dpe skrun
khang, 1999.
Kapstein, Matthew (2000). The Tibetan Assimilation of
Buddhism: Conversion, Contestation, and Memory. New
York: Oxford University Press.
mKhar-rme'u bSam-gtan rGyal-mtshan (1986). bTsan po lha
sras dar ma dang de'i rjes su byung ba'i rgyal rabs mdor
bsdus. Dharamsala, Library of Tibetan Works and Archives.
Law Code of Karma bsTan-skyong dBang-po = Gtsang sde srid
karma bstan skyong dbang pos bod la dbang sgyur byed
skabs spel ser ba sgrig tu bcug pa'i khrims yig zhal Ice bcu
drug. Contained in Tshe-ring bDe-skyid, ed. (1987). Bod kyi
dus rabs rim byung gi khrims yig phyogs bsdus dwangs
byed ke ta ka. Lhasa: Bod Ijongs mi dmangs dpe skrun
khang, pp. 13-76.
LCB = rJe Mkhan-po X bsTan-'dzin-chos-rgyal (1731-'59). Lho'i
chos byung bstan pa rin po che'i 'phro mthud jam mgon
smon mtha'i 'phreng ba. (Religious history of Bhutan).
Thimphu: Bhutanese reprint.
LNDRM = (rJe mKhan-po IX) Shakya-rin-chen (1733-'35). sKu
bzhi'i dbang phyug rje btsun ngag dbang rgyal mtshan gyi
rnam par thar pa thams cad mkhyen pa'i rol mo. Punakha.
(Life of 'Obs-mtsho-ba Ngag-dbang rGyal-mtshan [1647 -
1732]). Woodblock print in ff. 1 - 234.
LNDRR = gTsang mKhan-chen Jam-dbyangs dPal-ldan rGya-
mtsho (c.1675). Dpal 'brug pa rin po che ngag dbang rnam
rgyal gyi rnam par thar pa rgyas pa chos kyi sprin chen po'i
dbyangs, in 5 parts (Ka - Ca) and a supplement (Cha).
Reprint by Topden Tshering entitled The Detailed Biography
of the First Zabs-drung Rinpoche of Bhutan
Ngag- dbang- rnam- rgyal (Ngag- dbang- bdud- j oms- rdo-rj e)
(Dolanji, 1974, from the Punakha woodblocks of ca.
Nyang-ral Chos-byung = Nyang-ral Nyi-ma-'od-zer (1124-1192?),
Chos 'byung me tog snying po sbrang rtsi'i bcud. Lhasa: Bod
Ijongs mi dmangs dpe skrun khang, 1988.
Petech, Luciano (1983). "Tibetan Relations with Sung China and
with the Mongols," in Morris Rossabi, ed., China among
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Petech, Luciano (1990). Central Tibet and the Mongols. Rome:
 Ruegg, David S. (1995). Ordre spirituel et ordre temporel dans la
pensee bouddhique de l'lnde et du Tibet. Paris: Publications
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Ruegg, David S. (1997). "The Preceptor-Donor (Yon Mchod)
Relation in Thirteenth Century Tibetan Society and Polity,
its Inner Asian Precursors and Indian Models," in H. Krasser
et al, ed., PIATS Graz 1995, vol. 2 pp. 857-872. Vienna,
Rose, Leo E. (1985). "Modern Sikkim in an Historical
Perspective," in Lawrence Epstein 8s Richard F. Sherburne,
ed., Reflections on Tibetan Culture. Lewiston: Edwin Mellen
Press: pp. 59-74.
Sangs-rgyas rDo-rje (1999). dPal 'brug pa rin po che zhabs drung
ngag dbang rnam rgyal kyi rnam thar. Thimphu: Brug-
gzhung rdzong-kha gong-'phel lhan-tshogs (Dzongkha
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Schuh, Dieter (1977). Erlasse und Sendschreiben Mongolischer
Herrscher fur Tibetische Geistliche. St. Augustin: VGH
SDE-SRID 13 = rJe Mkhan-po XIII Yon-tan-mtha'-yas (1766),
Chos rgyal chen po shes rab dbang phyug gi dge ba'i cho ga
rab tu gsal ba'i gtam mu tig do shal (Life of the 13th sDe-
srid Shes-rab-dbang-phyug). Reprinted in Masterpieces of
Bhutanese Biographical Literature, New Delhi, 1970.
Sinha, Nirmal C. (1968). "Chhos Srid Gnyis Ldan," Bulletin of
Tibetology 5, pt. 3: 13-27.
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of the mKhas-Pa'i dGa'-sTon: The Origins of the Traditions
concerning Srong-brCan-sGam-Po as First Legislator and
Organizer of Tibet." In Acta Orientalia Academiae
Scientarium Hungaricae. Budapest: MTA.
Wangyal, Phuntsog (1975). "The Influence of Religion on Tibetan
Politics," The Tibet Journal vol. 1, pt. 1: 78-86.
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Reinterpreted," Harvard Journal of Asian Studies vol. 37,
p.l:   31-33.
Yamaguchi, Zuiho (1996). "The Fiction of King Dar-ma's
Persecution of Buddhism," in Jean-Pierre Drege, ed., Du
Dunhuang au Japon: Etudes chinoises et bouddhiques
offertes a Michel Soymie, pp. 231-258. Geneva: Droz.
 I One well-known example of such a polemic is the moralism that
underlies the story of the destruction of the Tibetan empire in the 9th
century by the "anti-Buddhist" king Glang Dar-ma. This story is only
now getting the scrutiny it deserves as a political myth in the
perennial Tibetan debate over the relationship between Buddhism
and the state (see mKhar-rme'u 1986: 14-18; Z. Yamaguchi 1996
passim; Kapstein 2000: 10-12).
II A prominent example is the Tibetan prophet-cum-'treasure finder'
Rong-pa gter-ston U-rgyan bDud-'dul Gling-pa, who was captured
and imprisoned by the Tibetan authorities c. 1717 after a twelve-year
exile in Bhutan, for his promulgation of prophecies from Padma
Sambhava critical of the Tibetan Qosot overlord Lajan Khan (LNDRM:
168.b; Khetsun Sangpo, Biographical Dictionary of Tibet and Tibetan
Buddhism, vol. 4: 339-47). Another famous gter-ston political critic
was the Nyingmapa mystic from Khams named Brug-sgra rDo-rje,
who is believed to have been assassinated in Bhutan c.1728
following his revelations from Padma Sambhava critical of the 8th
Bhutanese sDe-srid named Brug Rab-rgyas (see Ardussi,
ui On the Tibetan concept of interrelated religion and state - chos srid
gnyis ldan or chos srid zung 'brel - see Nirmal Singha (1968), Uray
(1972), Phuntshog Wangyal (1975), Chab-spel Tshe-brtan Phun-
tshogs (1993) and Dung-dkar Blo-bzang Phrin-las (1982, 1991,
1997). The concept was formulated to describe the Sakya-Mongol
central government, but its roots can be found in even older Tibetan
sources conceptualizing about the early monarchy. For example, in
one of the poems recorded by Nyang-ral Nyi-ma 'od-zer (late 12th
century), king Khri Srong-lde-btsan encounters Padma Sambhava at
Has-po-ri, and thinks to himself, "I am king of the earth spirits. I am
lord of both royal laws and religious laws. Therefore, this Guru
should pay obeisance to me" (nga sa bdag rgyal po yin / rgyal khrims
dang chos khrims gnyis kyi bdag po yin pas slob dpon gyis nga la
phyag byed snyam /.) But Padma Sambhava awes the king in a
brilliant rejoinder based on a song of the mgur genre, arguing his
superiority based on spiritual attainment, whereupon Khri Srong-
lde-btsan enthrones and bows before him (Nyang-ral Chos-'byung: p.
283. I thank Heather Stoddard for bringing this passage to my
attention). The theory's application to the kings of gTsang is stated
in the preface to the anonymous Law Code of Karma bsTan-skyong
dBang-po, p. 13: "'He is 'Jam-dpal-dbyangs, protector of religion and
the state; a wishing jewel to his subjects!' Thus is lauded the King of
Upper gTsang" (chos srid skyong la 'jam dpal dbyangs /
mnga' 'bangs rnams la yid bzhin nor / mtshan smos gtsang stod
 rgyal po yin /).
iv I refer to the biography (LNDRR) of Zhabs-drung Rin-po-che Ngag-
dbang rNam-rgyal (1594-1651), written c.1675 by gTsang mKhan-
chen 'Jam-dbyangs dPal-ldan rGya-mtsho, a Tibetan Karmapa
scholar and refugee from the Mongol-led sectarian purges after 1642.
I disagree with Michael Aris' interpretation of the prolixity of this
work as being due purely to the idiosyncrasy of its author (Aris
1979: 203ff). The "complicated categories of Buddhist thought"
adduced to describe the Zhabs-drung's activities, though taxing to
the reader, were at the very core of the author's justification of his
subject's political role, having one foot in the world of srid and one in
that of chos.
v By this I mean chs. 22-23 of the Baidurya Ser-po, completed in
1698. The effulgent style of this part of the work, its fascination for
prophecies and panegyric tone in praise of the Dalai Lama-cum-
Avalokitesvara and his earthly fulfillment of the Buddha's twelve
deeds, clearly reflect the style and content of the earlier work by
gTsang mKhan-chen. (Vostrikov 1970: 174 notes the criticism
leveled against the excesses of this part of the Baidurya Ser-po by
other, later Gelugpa historians).
vi In the Baidurya Ser-po, the sDe-srid never acknowledges or
responds directly to the written barbs launched against the Tibetan
government in gTsang mKhan-chen's work. But both he and the
Fifth Dalai Lama were intimately aware of events in Bhutan, and
never lost an opportunity to celebrate a calamity occurring in the
Bhutanese capital. It should be kept in mind that Sangs-rgyas rGya-
mtsho was appointed sDe-srid only in 1679, replacing his
predecessor Blo-bzang sByin-pa who was removed from office
following a major defeat of Tibetan forces in Bhutan during the
previous year, of which he was overall commander.
vii The background was first sketched out in E. Gene Smith (1968):
1-4. See also Aris 1979: 208ff and Ardussi 1997. Two other sects
centered in gTsang were also founded by members of a rGya lineage:
the Ba'-ra-ba and the gNas-rnying-pa (see Roerich, Blue Annals:
viii LNDRR Nga: 107.a; Padma-dkar-po, Chos 'byung bstan pa'i
padma rgyas pa'i nyin byed: 304.a-b; but see Petech 1990: 58 fn.
fr Padma-dkar-po, Sems dpa' chen po padma dkar po'i rnam thar
thugs rje chen po'i zlos gar, ff. 20.b-21.a (contained in his Collected
Works, vol. 3). On the early history of this prophetic image, see
Padma-dkar-po, Gdan sa chen po ra lung gi khyad par 'phags pa
cung zad brjod pa ngo mtshar gyi gter, ff. 6.b-8.a (contained in his
Collected Works, vol. 4). The Zhabs-drung's father had consulted the
 image in private, years earlier, receiving confirmation of his own son
as   the   rebirth.   It  was   also   claimed   that   the   previous   Ra-lung
hierarch,   Ngag-dbang  Chos-rgyal  had  received  a  communication
from the image specifically denying the validity of the 'Phyongs- rgyas
candidate, whose supporters were now demanding a more public
process (LNDRR Ga: 14.b-17.b; Nga: 103.a).
x The  image  became  a  sacred relic  in Bhutan,   still  kept at the
Punakha Dzong (Aris 1979: 209f). At some point Ra-lung monastery
replaced this image with another rang-byon Kharsapa&i image of its
own, which was still on exhibit there during the early 20th century
(Kah-thog Si-tu'i dBus gTsang gnas yig: 271).
xt See Ardussi (2000).
xit LNDRR, Ca: 5.a-7.b. I am preparing a translation of these letters
and related documents for a forthcoming publication.
xiti Of course, this assessment emerges most clearly from Bhutanese
records. But there are numerous snippets in Tibetan sources that
portray him as having a partisan and combative nature.
xtvThe events of the retreat are detailed in LNDRR Nga: 52.b-61.b,
65.b-67.a; Lho'i chos 'byung: 29.b.
xv LNDRR Nga: 52.a-b: rim gro pa zhabs 'bring du gnas pa rnams la
zur tsam re gsungs te da ni kho bo sngon mi la ras pa dang / lo ras
kyis dka' ba spyad pa ltar /jig rten 'di'i g.yeng ba thams cad spangs
nas / 'tsho ba bcud len dang dka' thub ras rkyang la brten / mi med
lung stong gi ri khrod 'ba' zhig tu nges pa med par 'grims nas / 'brug
pa gdung brgyud gang du bzhud / gang na bzhugs / mthong ba lta
ci smos / thos pa'i mi yang mi 'dug / phal cher med pa 'dra zer ba
dang  /  yang bar  'gar gangs  brag 'di lta bu  zhig na bzhugs  pa
mthong 'dug zer ba dang / gang na yang mi 'dug zer ba sogs / skye
bo tha mal pa'i spyod yul du mi snang ba / lha'i drang srong lta bu
lo ras las mi zhan pa zhig byed dgos / yang na sangs rgyas kyi bstan
pa   lugs   gnyis   kyi   'phrin   las   rgya   chen   pos   'dzin   pa   /   chos
rgyal 'phags pa lta bu zhig byed dgos gsungs /.
x" The  terms  Brug-gzhung and  Brug-yul  had yet to  be  coined.
Foreign travelers and some map-makers during this period were still
applying the name Potente' to Tibet, and not to Bhutan, of which
they were nearly unaware.
x™ On the career of 'Obs-mtsho-ba bsTan-'dzin Brug-rgyas, see Aris
1979: 244ff, and Ardussi 2000.
x™i ICags-ri,  rTa-mgo and sPang-ri Zam-pa (earlier spelled dPang-
ring Zam-pa).
xtx Gtsang mKhan-chen was a prominent monk and accomplished
painter at the gTsang-pa  court,   before  having to  flee Tibet.   His
younger brother was killed by Mongol soldiers supporting the 5th
 Dalai Lama, and he considered the chaos in Tibet as a sign of the
prophesied time for men of religion to flee to the border regions. In
about 1645, after many harrowing experiences, he and his older
brother found their way through the snowy passes into northern
Bhutan. These events certainly influenced his thinking about the 5th
Dalai Lama and the Zhabs-drung, whose biography was his last
major writing before his death in 1684. His Collected Works once
filled thirteen MS volumes (see the autobiography of gTsang mKhan-
chen: Bstan pa 'dzin pa'i skyes bu thams cad kyi rnam par thar pa la
gus shing rjes su 'jug pa'i rtogs brjod pha rol tu phyinpa dang gzungs
dang ting nge 'dzin gyi sgo mang po rim par phye ba'i gtam, stod-cha:
269.a-270.a, 280.a-b; smad-cha: 420.a-449.b).
™ LNDRR Nga: 8.b Lho rong Iho sgo bas mthar bsti gnas tshol // de
ltar byas na bod yul mi lo bdun / / bsgom bsgrub byas las gnas der
zhag bdun sgrub thag nye // (citing a gter-ma text called Gsang ba
nor bu'i thig le'i rgyud.
™ LNDRR Nga: 101. a-102. a
xx" LNDRR Nga: lll.b: padma dkar po'i skye ba su yin pa de bsdad
yong / ma yinpa de shi 'gro Itos shig ces dang /. Dpag-bsam dBang-
po's tutor and arch enemy of the Zhabs-drung, Lha-rtse-ba Ngag-
dbang-bzang-po also died from psychic injury attributed to Ngag-
dbang rNam-rgyal (LNDRR Ga: 122.a-123.a; Ca: 4.a; Lho'i chos-
'byung: 19.b-20.a).
xxiii On the Phyongs-rgyas Sde-pa's murder see LNDRR Ga: 123.a
(the date is given in the biography of Lha-rtse-ba, Mnyam med lha
rtse ba chen po'i rnam par thar pa rab bsngags snyan pa'i sgra
dbyangs brgya pa: 37.a, where his death is attributed to illness,
however). The smallpox at the court of Gtsang was ascribed by the
Bhutanese to Ngag-dbang rNam-rgyal's black magic (LNDRR Nga:
x™ E.g. LNDRR Nga: 100.a-b. A similar line of reasoning was used by
apologists for the kings of gTsang, to show that the karmic auspices
for their rule had been arranged from the Dharma Realm by the
deceased religious kings of early Tibet, for the welfare of sentient
beings in 16th century Tibet (Law Code of Karma bsTan-skyong
dBang-po: 15).
xxv Baidurya ser po: 345-395. See also Ahmad 1970: 143ff. As this
paper was being finalized, I received a copy of Kapstein 2000, with
whose comment at p. 266 fn. 120 I wholly agree.
xxvi The continuity between the state of Sakya and that of Bhutan is
argued by a number of Bhutanese writers (e.g. Rje Yon-tan mTha'-
yas (SDE-SRID 13: 16.b-17.a) who treats Ngag dbang rNam-rgyal's
government as a natural successor to those of Sakya and Phag-mo-
 gru). The theoretical foundation of Yellow Hat rule has been partly
analyzed by Zahiruddin Ahmad ("The Historical Status of China in
Tibet," Journal ofthe Oriental Society of Australia 9, pt. 1/2 [1972-
73]: 99-107).
xxvii Petech claims that "Phags-pa as the political leader of Tibet was
simply "invented" by [emperor] Khubilai because he was the religious
chief who offered the best guarantees of intelligent subservience to
the aims ofthe new ruler of China." (Petech 1983: 185).
xxvitt David Farquhar (1978): 9-10.
xxtx One of those was Blo-gros rGya-mtsho, the Lama of Me-rag, a
Gelugpa branch monastery in eastern Bhutan since the days of dGe-
'dun-grub (1391-1475). His expulsion by the Zhabs-drung was one of
the chief causes for Gelugpa invasions of Bhutan before the
founding in 1681 of a replacement monastery at Tawang, in Kameng.
xxx LNDRR Nga: 95.a-96.b. Chapters 19-21 of his biography are
structured around the theme of his turning the ten wheels of the
Tathagata and of the Cakravartin king. The canonical source
primarily cited is entitled Sa'i-snying-po-'khor-lo-bcu pa'i-mdo (Skt.
xxxt On the role of the dpon-chen at Sakya, see Petech 1983: 192ff;
Petech 1990: 44. Another element of comparison between Sakya and
Bhutan were the succession problems of their respective spiritual
heads. The Zhabs-drung's original intent to be succeeded by male
heirs was frustrated by the dearth of suitable candidates, somewhat
complicating the picture sketched here (see Aris 1979 and Ardussi
1999 for more details). In Sakya, the situation was just the opposite,
with too many sons of the chief families competing for appointment
as Di Shi (see Petech 1983: 192).
xxxii The  most effective  successor to  combine  both  roles was  the
Fourth sDe-srid bsTan-'dzin Rab-rgyas (1638-1696), on whom see
John Ardussi 1999.
xxxitt Aris 1979: 244ff.
xxxiv The ancestors of two aristocratic Tibetan families were among
those driven out, the Pha-lha and sKyid-sbug (the family of Pho-lha-
nas's wife) .These expulsions did not include the Nyingmapa, however.
Contrary to Leo Rose (Rose 1985: 73, fn 1), the 'Brug-pa of Bhutan
have always accommodated the powerful, local Nyingmapa
establishment, both spiritually and as a key element of their political
xxxv Mgon-po-dngos-grub-'byung-ba'i-rgyud. In addition to the
opposition from the governments of gTsang and Lhasa, internal
sectarian rivals included primarily the Lha-pa (some-time followers
of the Dalai Lama) the gNas-rnying-pa, the 'Ba'-ra-ba and the Lama
 of Me-rag in eastern Bhutan. Independent testimony of this struggle
is found in records of the Ba'-ra-ba monks, the autobiography of the
5th Dalai Lama, works of sDe-srid Sangs-rgyas rGya-mtsho and
those of the Zhabs-drung's Tibetan Brug-pa rivals.
xxxvi Leonard W.J. van der Kuijp, Contributions to the Development
of Tibetan Buddhist Epistemology, Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner Verlag,
1983, p. 103, 306: Sgra pa nga yin rtog ge pa nga smra ba
ngan joms nga 'dra med // sdeb sbyor nga mkhas snyan ngag nga
nyid mngon brjod 'chad la 'gran med pa // dus sbyor ngas shes phyi
nang kun rig rnam dpyod bio gros mtshungs med pa / / de 'dra gang
yin sa skya pa ste mkhas pa gzhan dag gzugs brnyan yin // (the
original work is entitled Nga brgyad ma'i 'grel pa from vol. 5 of the
Collected Works of the Great Masters of the Sa skya sect of Tibetan
Buddhism. Tokyo: The Toyo Bunko, 1968). My translation differs
slightly from van der Kuijp's. The Nga brgyad ma'i 'grel pa may itself
have been based on a kind of repartee style of poetry competition
from early Tibetan society (see, for example, the "I Song" competition
between king Khri Srong-lde-btsan and Padma Sambhava noted
above (Nyang-ral Chos-'byung: 283, and another one at pp. 386ff).
xxxvtt Translation by M. Aris 1979: 214; the original text is from
LNDRR Nga: 31.a-b: lugs gnyis 'khor lo bsgyur ba nga // nga ni kun
gyi skyabs su bzang // dpal ldan 'brug pa'i bstan 'dzin nga // nga
ni 'brug par brdzus rnams bcom // rtsom pa'i dbyangs can grub pa
nga // nga ni legs bshad 'byung khungs btsun // mtha' bral lta ba'i
bdag po nga // nga ni lta log mkhan sun byin // rtsod pa'i mthu
stobs bdag po nga // nga mdun mi 'dar brgol ba su // bdud
dpung joms pa'i dpa' bo nga // nga nus bzlog pa'i mthu chen su
// 'chad pa'i ngag gi dbang phyug nga // nga ni rig gnas kun la
mkhas // gong ma'i lung bstan sprul pa nga // nga ni 'dra min
sprul pa'i gshed //.
xxxvitt Law Code of Karma bsTan-skyong dBang-po: 15, 20.
xxxtx LNDRR Nga: 119.a: de nas yang sems can gyi bde skyid sangs
rgyas kyi bstan pa la rag las pa dang / sangs rgyas kyi bstan
pa'ang jig rten gyi bde skyid la rag la / de phyir lugs gnyis kyi
khrims / byang chub sems dpa'i spyod yul gyi thabs kyis yul rnam
par 'phrul pa bstan pa'i mdo dang / 'khor lo bcu brda sprod pa chen
po'i mdo las 'byung ba ltar legs par bca' ba mdzad de /. Cf also
Petech 1990: 44 and the sources cited there for similar statements
relative to Sakya. A similar formulation comes at the beginning of an
old text on the legal and moral codes of Srong-btsan sGam-po: e ma
sgron skal gnyis pa bzhin / gsar du shar ba'i du bzang por / mchod
yon nyi zla zung gcig gi / bka' khrims stobs kyi 'khor los bsgyur /
mnga' 'bangs dus bde'i dpal la spyod / skyid pa'i nyi ma dgung nas
 shar / 'di 'dra'i skal bzang mthong rnams skyid / sngon bsags bsod
nams mthu las 'ongs / (Sngon byon chos rgyal srong btsan sgam
pos mdzad pa'i khrims yig la ma phyir bgyis pa'i zhal Ice bcu gsum,
contained in Tshe-ring bDe-skyid 1987: 77).
xi Chos khrims dar gyi bdud pa jam la dam pa / rgyal khrims gser
gyi gnya' shing lji[d] non che ba / (Law Code of Karma bsTan-skyong
dBang-po: 24).
xii Dmangs mi khyim gnam gyi skar ma lta bu grangs kyis mi chod
pa rnams kyi gnya' ba rgyal khrims gser gyi gnya' shing btsan pos
mnan../ (SDE-SRID 13: 36.a);
xiii LNDRR Nga: 119.a-b; Lho'i chos 'byung: 103.a-104.b; Uray 1972.
On the Phag-mo-gru law code, see Dung-dkar Blo-bzang Phrin-las
1982: 77).
xii"  The Zhabs-drung received high praise from gTsang Mkhan-chen
for his suppression of banditry and other forms of civil disorder
(LNDRR  Nga:   146.a-b).  The  date  of promulgation  of Ngag-dbang
rNam-rgyal's legal code is uncertain. Lho'i chos-'byung: 105.a-114.b
contains the full Bhutanese code current c. 1729 (now edited and
translated by Michael Aris  in  Sources on the History of Bhutan,
Vienna: 1988). The author of the Law Code of Karma bsTan-skyong
dBang-po: 24 states that he had consulted a Bhutanese law code as
one of the precedents for his study, which, if we accept as predating
the events of 1642, confirms the existence of a Bhutanese code from
that era.
xi" History of Sikkim: 37-40.
xiv The three Lamas were Lha-btsun Nam-mkha' 'Jigs-med (b.1597),
whose biography has been printed in India, Kah-thog-pa Kun-tu-
bzang-po, and Mnga'-bdag Phun-tshogs Rig-'dzin (b. 1591), a prince
of Guge (of whom a biography is said to exist).
xi" This relationship is made explicitly clear in the History of Sikkim,
where (in the Tibetan version)  the Sikkim ruler is referred to by
Tibetan authorities as Sa-spyod, implying a rank well below that of
Rgyal-po, Chos-rgyal, or Sde-pa.


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