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Tibetan Nītiśāstras in Bhutan: Ethical and Political Philosophy

2018 Open Application Projects

Research Topic

Tibetan Nītiśāstras in Bhutan: Ethical and Political Philosophy

Lead Researcher

Miguel Alvarez Ortega, Associate Professor, University of Seville

Host Researcher

Seiji Kumagai, Associate Professor, Kokoro Research Center, Kyoto University

The aim of my project is to study the political, legal and ethical notions found in an Indo-Tibetan as “lugs kyi bstan bcos”), which constitute a special type of gnostic literature with great importance in the Himalayas, specifically in Bhutan.
In particular,I would like to focus on the potential influence of these texts both in the conformation of an ideal notion of moral ruler, ethical citizens and social structure, as well as in the references in properly legal and political material; since, for example, we have reasons to believve tht they payed an important role in the configuration of Bhutan’s foundational law (bca 7yig chen mo, 1629) derived from monastic regulations as well in Regent’s Guidelines (1681).
My expectations regarding the results imply that it is possible to describe a model of social structure and order that either reflects certain socio-historical realities, servees legitimizing purposes or finally functions as an ideal to be achieved. I also hope it will contribute to further the comprehension of the philosophical foundations of the legal system of Bhutan, currently the only surviving Buddhist monarchy that strives to combine a modern political model with its Buddhist values with an emphasis on happiness.