Saturday, November 14, 2015

Why is there now a trend of addressing the Bhutanese King as Chhoegyel ?

Is Chhoegyel supposed to be more substantial title than King?. A point to ponder I thought.

Chhoegyel was the title of the Sikkimese Leader who was not referred to as King. In Bhutan Shabdrung was referred to by foreigners as Dharma Raja since he was a Lama with political power. 

The first hereditary Bhutanese Monarch  was installed in 1907 by the People , Public  Officials and the Monastic Body of Bhutan as their King so naturally it is understood that the King of Bhutan holds power and responsibilities over both religious and political affairs of the nation. The Sceptre originated from all spheres of the Bhutanese society not just religious society. The title Deb originated from the Dratsang but not the King.

When the Fifth King was installed as Trongsa Penlop somehow the Title Chhoetse Penlop was promoted. I thought it was a case of astrological appropriateness ( maybe someone advised that the Title Trongsa Penlop needed to be temporarily replaced by Chhoetse Penlop to avoid the sad event that followed in 1972 ). But on this 11 November, the BBS Commentator referred to the Fourth King as Chhoegyel. Of course in nature as also confirmed by His Majesty King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck , the Fourth King is also a Dharma Raja in spirit and compassion but still Bhutanese Monarchs are Kings not merely Chhogyels.


  1. "Bhutanese Monarchs are Kings not merely Chhogyels."

    Why do you say merely - as if the real meaning of Chögyal (Dharma Raja) is something less than that of a Gyalpo (Raja)? This is clearly not the case. We have e.g the examples of Ashoka and Songtsen Gampo who both ruled what were (at the time) large empires - and were known as Chögyal (Dharma Raja).

    A true Chögyal is a king whose rule and laws accord with the enlightened principles of the Buddha Dharma - and in Buddhist culture that is in no way inferior to one who rules merely on the basis of worldly power of one kind or another (or according to mere worldly principles). In fact it is quite the reverse in Buddhist culture a real Chögyal should be considered in every way superior to an ordinary king.

    Perhaps you are thinking only of the term Chögyal as applied to the former rulers of Sikkim - a state which some have argued was never truly sovereign being first dependent on Tibet and later on (British ruled) India and was finally incorporated into the Republic of India. But one case does not determine
    the true meaning of the term Chögyal

  2. Both King Ashoka and King Songtsen Gyampi were great Kings before becoming Buddhists. As respectful as the term Chogyel is the first hereditary King was installed as Druk Gyalpo not Druk Chogyel. Therefore the correct title is Druk Gyalpo the translation in English is the King of Bhutan or the Dragon King. The right to rule Bhutan cane from the people not religion. Bhutan is not theocracy. It is Monarchy. Chogyel is more relevant to theocracy.