Buddhism in Contemporary Bhutan
Contribution to Book
The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Buddhism
Buddhism has been a consistent feature of Bhutanese politics and culture since the country’s founding by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in the seventeenth century. A mixture of Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism combined with indigenous customs and worldviews, Bhutanese Buddhism remains a fundamental aspect of contemporary Bhutanese identity. Today, Bhutan is the only sovereign nation with a dual Buddhist-temporal administration (chos srid). The government views the Buddhist faith of many of its citizens as a fundamental aspect of contemporary “Bhutanese” identity, and many Bhutanese revere the king as a bodhisattva. As the Himalayan country becomes more and more integrated into the global twenty-first century, the state continues to support and sponsor Buddhist monasteries, monuments, and festivals and looks to Buddhist values to establish and guide state policies, including Gross National Happiness.
Rigyal, Samdrup, M. Alyson Prude.
"Buddhism in Contemporary Bhutan."
The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Buddhism: 61-76: Oxford University Press.