July 24, 2010

Buddha said it all

Source: bhutanobserver

23 July 2010

Workshop finds links between Buddhist principles and human rights concepts

Lord Buddha had the concept of natural rights, rights be longing to a person by nature, because he was a human be ing. He treasured right to life and denounced destruction of it, the Chief Justice of the Su preme Court, Lyonpo Sonam Tobgye, said.

He was speaking at the Inception Workshop on Hu man Rights and Buddhism in Semtokha yesterday. The workshop was aimed at estab lishing a clear understanding of the concept of human rights from a Buddhist perspective.

Lyonpo Sonam Tobgye said that Bhutan’s political and religious traditions called on rulers to rule justly and compassionately, delineating limits on their powers over the lives, property and activities of their citizens were integral to the way of life.

“All these principles are ingrained in our spiri tual heritage and the laws of Zhabdrung, Mipham Wangpo, Desi Sherub Wangchuk and Thrimzhung Chhenmo,” he said, explaining how Buddhist principles had defined laws not only in the Bhutanese context but universally.

Lyonpo said that article 7, section 4 of the constitution, which corresponds to article 18 of the universal declara tion of human rights, pro vides for freedom of thought, conscience and religion as the basic right of all. He said that, from the Buddhist perspec tive, it was enunciated when the Buddha said, “On my path, all are considered equal.”

The Chief Justice also cited Buddhist principles as being related to constitutional rights such as the right to life, liberty and security of a per son. He said that, under article 7, section 1 of the constitution that emphasizes the right to life, “Deprival of the right of life is “Sok Choepa” in the Buddhist principle.”

On Article 7, section 2 of the constitution, Lyonpo said freedom of speech, opinion and expression can check and deter “the tyranny of opinion that silences others’ voices.” “It has been done well in Bhutan through unrestrained appeal to His Majesty,” he said.

Lyonpo Sonam Tobgye also said that Buddhist principles are not only applicable in the Bhutanese context, but universally. He said that in ju dicial history, personal rights like the right to vote, freedom of speech, thought and con science, and personal liberty occupied a higher status in the hierarchy of values than property rights.

“Hence, Lord Buddha said that ‘every living being deserves to enjoy a sense of security and well being. We should protect life and bring happiness to others,’ he said. This Buddhist principle relates to article three of the universal declaration of hu man rights, which states that “everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of a person.”

The Chief Justice said Bhutan had embarked upon inculcating Buddhist concepts in defining the law of the land. Article 7, section 17 and 18 of the constitution enshrines that no one shall be subjected to torture or cruel punish ment including capital pun ishment. Bhutan is a Buddhist country, the society of which is founded on the values of tolerance and compassion, he said. Therefore, capital punishment was abolished in 1994 by a royal decree.

Freedom of speech was highlighted in a modern con text. The Chief Justice pointed out how democracy without the freedom of speech, opin ion and expression has been ineffective through the ‘groan ing aguish of the people’.

“Censorship and suppres sion of publication discour ages all true scholarships and learning which reflects article 19 of Human Rights,” said Ly onpo, adding that Lord Bud dha had enunciated the same concept in Praj Parimitra in the form of Mra-sam, Joe-sam and du-jae-sum.

According to the director of Institute of Language and Cul ture Studies (ILCS), Lungten Gyaetsho, human rights have become important in the modern world, especially with Bhutan adopting GNH as the development philoso phy. “The whole machinery functions around the welfare of human beings and human rights,” he said.

The workshop on human rights and Buddhism was organised by the Institute of Language and Culture Studies (ILCS) with support from UNDP and the Netherlands Embassy in New Delhi.

The ILCS and Royal Uni versity of Bhutan took up the project in the hope of provid ing a wider perspective on hu­man life and its significance, and to enrich and broaden the scope of conventional concept of human rights.

By Namgay Tshering

July 16, 2010

Thuksey Rimpoche's purjang held

Source: bbs.com.bt

July 15: Coinciding with the first sermon of Lord Buddha, the purjang ceremony or cremation of His Eminence Lhalung Thuksey Rimpoche was held today.
The ceremony was held at Kenchosum Lhakhang  in Bumthang. Thuksey Rimpoche passed away in Thimphu on April 18th.
The purjang ceremony was presided over by His Eminence Chabjey Dujom Yangsey, Sungtruel Rimpoche, Gangtey Trulku and Tseyen Lopen of the Zhungdratshang.
During the purjang ceremony devotees from across the country gathered at the Kenchosum Lhakhang to pay homage and pray for the early rebirth of the late Thuksey Rimpoche.

His eminence was 59 years old. His eminence died from complications of chronic renal failure due to prolonged diabetes.
His eminence was the 10th reincarnation of Terton Pema Lingpa’s son, Thuksey Dawa. He was born in a central Tibetan region, Dranang Tsayul in 1951.
Thuksey Rimpoche was enthroned as the 10th Thuksey of Lhalung Thegcholing monastery in Tibet at the age of six.
Rimpoche fled to Bhutan from Tibet in 1960 at the age of nine.
Thuksey Rimpoche has conducted numerous religious ceremonies in the country, including oral transmission of Peling Choekhor and oral transmission of Kangyur.

July 7, 2010

Zhung dratshang to set up new system

Source: kuenselonline.com

Sparing His Holiness’s presence

His Holiness performs the Zhiwai Jinseg (burnt offering) for the departed





Wangkur (Cremation Rites) 6 July, 2010 - His Holiness the Je Khenpo may not be seen at the Thimphu cremation ground performing Wangkur or cremation rites.
The zhung dratshang (central monk body) is in the process of setting up a system where the presence of His Holiness may not be required when cremation rites at the Thimphu crematorium.

Until now HH the Je Khenpo conducts at least 30 cremation rites a year in Thimphu for people from all walks of life. According to a senior monk, at least 70 people are cremated in a month at the Thimphu crematorium.

“People are of the thought that His Holiness only performs cremation rites for the well to do, but this is not true,” said the Zhung dratshang’s tshugla lopen, Samten Dorji. “His Holiness is very busy and therefore can’t attend.”

According to the new system that the dratshang is creating, His Holiness will not perform cremation rites for everyone, irrespective of who they are.

“It was not that His Holiness didn’t want to appear in a common place like the crematorium, but this system could give His Holiness adequate time to perform other important rituals, such as annual drupchen, melam chenmo, oral transmission, empowerments and blessings for the well being of all sentient beings,” said Lopen Samten Dorji. The zhung dorji lopen will instead conduct the cremation rites on behalf of His Holiness.

Meanwhile, the central monk body has initiated a ritual called zhiwai jinseg (burnt offering), where the names of the deceased are symbolically burnt. This zhiwai jinseg is performed by His Holiness at the Tendrelthang, behind the Tashichhodzong in Thimphu.

The zhiwai jinseg began yesterday in Thimphu. The symbolic burning of deceased names cleans all the negative merit and defilements accumulated by the deceased, which is then offered to the lord of death to free them from samsara and the intermediate state. According to a senior monk, His Holiness will perform these rites even at his residence if anyone requests it.

The three-day burnt offering ceremony ends tomorrow.

This is the second reform the zhung dratshang has initiated in recent years. In 2000, it did away with cash and meal offering to monks performing cremation rites. This had become a heavy burden for poor families, said Lopen Samten Dorji.

By Tenzin Namgyel