Bhutan, the last Tantric Mahayana Buddhist Kingdom in the world lies along the lofty ridges of the eastern Himalayas, bordered by Tibetan Autonomous of China in north and India to east, south and west. It was the mighty Himalayas that protected Bhutan from the rest of the world and left the Kingdom blissfully untouched. Bhutan’s state religion, the Drukpa Kagyupa school of Mahayana Buddhism provided the essence of a rich culture, tradition, and environmental conservation ethic and charismatic history. The Bhutanese people protected this sacred heritage and unique identity for centuries by choosing to remain isolated from the rest of the world till early 60s. Its remoteness, gifts of nature and the ancient Buddhist monasteries are its main attractions.
Bhutan is a serene land in the heart of the Himalayas where the environment, tradition and Culture are still intact. Bhutan is the only remaining Mahayana Buddhist country is the world.
Bhutan in modern context: Gross National Happiness
The country’s development philosophy is most well enunciated in the statement of His Majesty King Jigme Singye Wangchuck that “Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross National Product”. For the last two decades or so, Gross National Happiness – underscoring that economic, spiritual and environmental well-being are all equally important and that we need to balance these aspects for overall development – has remained the guiding principle for the Bhutanese in pursuing national development efforts. Around the main tenet of Gross National Happiness, Bhutan has designed its Vision Statement, Bhutan 2020: A Vision for Peace, Prosperity and Happiness. Bhutan has adopted five overall goals: improving quality of life and income, especially of the poor; ensuring good governance; promoting private sector growth and employment generation; preserving and promoting cultural heritage and environment conservation; and achieving rapid economic growth and transformation.