The Legal Order of Human Equality

Buddhist philosophy enumerates that life of all sentient beings are precious and no harm may be caused. No man made (positive) laws should alienate natural laws.

The natural law is the one that all humans are born equal. The differences of people by class, sex, appearance, or by other categories were founded later which was based on occupational and physiological differences. In truth, all humans are equally born from mother’s womb and without distinctions.

“Human Beings are not different from one another. They are equal, not unequal. This is in accordance with Dhamma.” Buddha said “Their origin was from among these very same beings, like themselves, no different, and in accordance with Dhamma, not otherwise.”

The Constitution of Bhutan enumerates the harmonious balance to exercise fundamentals rights and duties to foster unfailing duty to be bound by the pledges of our heritage.

Among many fundamental rights, right to life, liberty and certain other rights are vested, sacrosanct and inalienable (enforceable).

“The rights, liberties and freedom are precious jewels of every human being. Fundamental rights are the natural rights, which belong to all human beings. Individual enjoys basic human rights independent of any statute by the virtue of the fact that they are members of the human race.”

As established in the legal order of the Great Chosen One, the state of nature such as air, water, heat and earth are elements that are all relevant cause of natural existential condition for all natural beings to be inter-dependent.

Similarly, Locke argued that the right to life and property is natural rights, which are vested even before government or even before law.

He said people should rely on themselves to make their own decision as ‘people are reasonable and rational’ beings as long as someone’s decision does not take away some other’s rights.

People do value association, harmony, peace, stability, happiness, justice and progress. Buddha said, wisdom is mindfulness and a greatest path towards self-realization.

Therefore, the legal order of Mangpo Kurwai Gyalpo establishes and enshrines the philosophical basis of the state of nature, equality, distributive and re-distributive justice, corrective justice, social contract theory and government by consent and exercise of our human rights consciously without infringementof others rights and duties to cultivate righteous beings mindful of cause and effects -ley jumdrey and thadamtsi.

The Sacrosanct Kingship

The Constitution of Bhutan places a sacrosanct role of our monarchs. It pivots our foundation of society particularly based upon the legal order of Mangpo Kurwai Gyalpo.

It is based on voluntarism, elective and democratic process. Like the Great Chosen One, our generations of kings are destined to look after the general welfare and common cause of the people. So the legal order of the Great Chosen One arraigns a means for common salvation and to liberate all who are established to foster our common allegiance, loyalty and faith founded on philosophical and legal basis.

In the words of Buddha, ‘the Monarch is regarded worthy not because of his divine right but due to his righteousness in deeds.’ Dharma is righteousness. Righteousness is justice.

Therefore, the narratives and evolutionary genesis of the state and kingship is based upon social and political necessity.

This doctrinal thesis of Buddha underscores that Buddhism is not only for individual transformation or enlightenment but also laid the foundation of philosophical response to social conflicts where the appointment of a king is to manage ‘moral, economic and political issues’ faced by the society. This approach of the management of society is conceited upon righteousness of a ruler where every thing that follows is virtuous, good and peaceful.

‘The people elected him to that position to maintain law and order. To manage affairs of the community, people entered into a contract with that person who appeared to fulfill the role of a judge….It is actually an early form of a government contracting for someone to help maintain law and order.’

The Buddhist philosophy of universal monarch or chakarvatin (khor lo gyurwai Gyalpo) introduced the concept of a ruler who is not only just, but also is the one who possesses high moral and ethical standards.

The ruler who turns the wheel of political leadership depends on the morality and justice, ‘honouring, respecting, revering, worshiping’ and above all the keeper of Dhhama (law of truth) or righteousness. Accordingly, ‘the Wheel of Power turns in dependence on the Wheel of Justice.’ Based on this philosophy, Buddha categorically emphasized on the application of the standard of morality or justice as a main condition of a just ruler in the affairs of the administration of state.

These narratives of Buddha also profoundly engrave and enumerate historical, legal, and philosophical basis of the evolution of our society, the formation of state; the enthronement of our first heredity monarch through social contract of 1907; and its evolution towards a Democratic Constitutional Monarchy in 2008.

It further synthesis the underlying essence of human behavior and the requirement of the rule of law.

Based on Buddha’s transcendental wisdom, our fore-bearers envisioned that only just society with more equal distribution of wealth and absence of poverty could avert crimes, social unrest and create conditions to enjoy individual freedom, social stability, peace and progress of our great nation.

Contributed by

Lungten Dubgyur

Justic, High Court