May the 2nd is marked as the teachers day in Bhutan. Aside from appreciating and displaying our gratitude to all our teachers past and present, this day is very important for one particular reason. Most countries have a driving force behind their education system and Bhutan has such a person on the success of its modern education and that person is His late Majesty the third king of Bhutan Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, also known fondly by all Bhutanese as the father of modern Bhutan. He is the reason first and foremost to celebrate and dedicate this special day.
The third king was in many ways a visionary king and you could say the seed of democracy was already planted by him during his reign and knew that the future survival of Bhutan may depend in allowing its people to govern themselves. That wish was fulfilled by his son the fourth king of Bhutan Jigme Singye Wangchuck despite the reluctance and uproar from the public to change. Bhutan became democratic, constitutional monarchy in 2008 with a population of no more than 700,000. The fifth king, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, is the head of state, leader of the government is Tshering Tobgay, second ever Prime Minister, who succeeded Jigme Thinley in 2013.
The modern western education system was introduced to provide learning centers to study science, mathematics, modern farming techniques etc. whilst also preserving and promoting the monastic schools along with its culture and tradition. This was a calculated move which really accelerated the literacy and numeracy growth in Bhutan and today almost all of our youths are educated. His vision was to preserve the unique tradition and culture of Bhutan for the outside world to admire, by propagating through schools whilst also modernizing the education system.
He was a farsighted leader beyond his time to understand the future security of Bhutan. He secured Bhutan’s membership with the United Nations by becoming its 125th member in 1971. Furthermore, he made sure Bhutan’s relationship with its neighbouring countries were diversified. Today Bhutan enjoys these friendships with countries around the world and particularly with SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) nations.
Our unconditional gratitude and thanks, goes to His late Majesty the third king Jigme Dorji Wangchuck and to all the teachers of Bhutan past and present. Happy Teachers Day in Bhutan.
I, a roaring lion, do not need a palace:
My lion palace is the snow mountains’ exalted heights.
I shake my excellent turquoise mane as I please
As I roam at will in delightful snow mountain ravines.
I, an eagle, do not need a fortress:
My white eagle fortress is the loftiest cliff.
I spread wide my excellent wings as I please
As I soar through the space of the vast blue heavens.
I, a tiger, do not need a castle:
My tiger castle is the densest jungle.
I show off my stripes as I please
As I set out to prowl in the best sandalwood forests.
I, a golden bee, do not need farmland:
My bee farmland is the finest lotus groves.
I sing beautiful melodious songs as I please
As I hover to take the sweetest tasting nectar.
I, a yogi, do not need a home:
My yogi home is good any place I roam.
I naturally achieve my two noble goals
As I set out to wander aimlessly as I please.
– Dudjom Rinpoche, Jigdral Yeshé Dorjé – Wisdom Nectar – Shambhala Publications
This is what Buddha said to his disciples which may not be exactly translated but the core message is still there which can be applied to our everyday modern online connected world.
Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.
It is this profound message we should practice to become an even better person than we already are.
Tashi Delek to you all!
Posted in Buddhism