The Legal Order of the Great Chosen One

To alleviate from the salvage of sufferings, the beings initiated (sem chen tshog zhing) the great congruence and assemblage from all walks of life to pursue common goal of restoring peace, harmony and justice. They were convinced that an insurmountable suffering causes misery of all beings whether they are high, low, rich or the poor.

“Suppose we were to appoint a certain being who would show anger where anger was due, censure those who deserved it, and banish those who deserved banishment! And in return we would grant him a share of the rice.”

Hence, the beings in order to put an end to the endless sufferings, approached and chose the Zhingpoen or Khattiya clan(the Lord of the Fields) ‘the handsomest, the best favoured, the most attractive, the most capable’ (lak par zug zangwa, lak par ta na dug pa, lak par ze pa, lak par sonam che wa, lak par drag pa) as their Great Chosen One and be subjected to his rule. He was to judge, ‘rectify what is right and what is wrong’, give warnings wherever necessary and justly punish those who deserve punishmentand in return for that, the people will give some shares of their rice. This legitimized taxationin Buddhist philosophy.

Having thus elected, the Great Chosen One initiated the re-distribution of land (so sor go wa) with those who are destitute, landless and the poor.

“And then those beings came together lamenting, “Wicked ways have become rife among us: at first we were mind made, feeding on delight…(All the events are repeated down to the latest development, each fresh change being said to be due to ‘wicked and unwholesome ways)…and the rice grows in separate clusters! So now let us divide up the rice into fields with boundaries.” So they did so.”

With this common consent of the beings, peace, harmony, stability and social justice have been restored in the community, which is the legal basis of restorative, re-distributive and corrective justice in Buddhist philosophy.

The Zhingpoen having achieved the noble and righteous objectives, commanded high social respect and unified reverence by all or Mangpoi Kurwa (kewo tshog chen pois kur ching, mangpois kurwa zhes drag so) and thus became Mangpo Kurwai Gyalpo or the Great Chosen One or Maha Sammatta. According to Buddhist philosophy he is the first worldly king.

The principle of re-distributive justice espoused in this narrative is akin to a modern day taxation policies of governments and is justified under the principle of utilitarian theory of justice advocated by the 18th century English philosopher Jeremy Bentham’s famous formulation of utilitarianism also known as the ‘greatest-happiness principle’.

It holds that one must always act so as to produce the greatest aggregate happiness among all sentient beings, within reason and common good.

Graphical representation and evolution from celestial beings and the legal order of Mangpo Kurwai Gyalpo.

Just Social Order

The legal order of the Great Chosen One, established the principle of equality of origin in the human race, non-discrimination and that the social structure was formed voluntarily.

The king as ‘acclaimed by the many’, was ‘the great elect’ because, he is elected ‘by the people’ as a whole or Manajana-sammato.

The power to govern is vested by the people and his duty is to serve the people.

The conception of kingship being an elected one was democratic and society formed on contractual theory akin to the social contract theory, which was propounded later by Thomas Hobbes in western philosophy.

The state of nature ‘state of war’as described by Hobbes has been gradually settled with territorial boundaries and maps drawn of each nation states in Europe and about half a century later,another 17th century English Philosopher John Locke supported the idea of Hobbes’s social contract theory, but was concerned that all rights cannot be taken away even by those who are appointed through consent.

Hesuccinctly deviated from the idea that all rights and individual interest must be sacrificed for common good and social security.

He said that even a ruler or those elected government couldn’t take away certain rights, which are natural rights.  Such rights are to life and property.

Buddha in Agganna Sutta said that ruler or government does not enjoy free mandate from the people to violate people’s right but to govern in accordance with the law of righteousness, to which both rulers and ruled are subject.

“Rulers, whether by dynastic succession or election, have elevated to the positions of power through original contract with the people. Governments not enjoying a free mandate from the people violates the people’s rights and illegitimate; the people have right to oust them from power.”

Similar to this philosophy, Locke said that legitimate government is a government founded on consent.

The collective consent of the people to be ruled by governments and replacing it by the people’s will and oust them if necessary and replace with another government was viewed as aserious problemaccording tothe 18th century, French philosopher Baron de Montesquieu.

He said that the government representatives collectively could become tyrannical and the repeating of this vicious circle was not good for the society in the long run.

Therefore, he came out with a great idea of modern day separation of powerprinciples among the various branches of government.

He established that powers thus divided should provide checks and balances and the chances of usurpation of power by the single branch of government was thereby eliminated.

to be continued…

Contributed by

Lungten Dubgyur

Justic, High Court