Book publication


(Druk gyi Gyalrab) Religious and Political History of Bhutan,in Dzongkha, by Dasho Phuntso Wangdi. 298 p. 2nd ed. (2013) ISBN 99936-17-04-0

Dasho Phuntsho Wangdi (1908-1959), who wrote this account, was a grandson of Bhutan’s first king, Gongsa (supreme leader) Ugyen Wangchuck (1862-1926). He was the only child of Chimi Yangzom, second daughter of His Majesty by his second consort, Rinchen Pelmo. In this work the author first talks about how the physical world and animate beings came into existence, and then briefly touches on the background of religious and political/secular history of India and Tibet. Following this introductory material, he gives a detailed account of religious and political events in Bhutan. He describes how the different Tibetan Buddhist traditions came to Bhutan and how the various houses of nobility became established in the country. He chronicles the reigns of the successive desis (regents) and concludes his exposition with a brief account of the activities of Gongsa Jigme Namgyal who held the post of Trongsa Penlop (governor) 1853-1866 and served as 51st Desi (1870-73) and of his son, Gongsa Ugyen Wangchuck, who also served as Trongsa Penlop and in 1907 was crowned King of Bhutan.

The unpublished manuscript stayed in the family through the reigns of successive monarchs. Royal Grandmother, HM Ashi Kesang Choden Wangchuck, who received the manuscript from her son, the fourth king, presented it to the NLAB for the national collection, graciously permitting publication for the interest of general readers, historians and researchers. First published in 2007, the work has now been substantially revised and re-edited by deputy chief librarian, Ugyen Tenzin for this second edition.

Conserving our Heritage: Evolution of the National Library of Bhutan,
by Felicity Shaw. 183 p. Illustrated with many full colour pictures. (2013) ISBN 978-99936-17-16-7

The National Library was established in 1967 as part of a government program to preserve and promote the country’s rich cultural and religious heritage in the face of the modernization process which had begun in 1961. This book gives a full account of the library’s wide-ranging activities and programs over the years of its transformation into the present-day modern National Library & Archives of Bhutan. The author (a professional librarian) has included much explanatory material in the form of footnotes, appendices and a glossary, in order to keep the content accessible and interesting for both the specialist and the general reader.


From Yak-herding to Enlightenment: The Legend of Thöpa Gali – A Heritage Narrative of the Merak-Sakteng Community
in Choekey, Dzongkha & English by Gengop Karchung. 256 p. (2013) ISBN 978-99936-17-17-4

The Legend of Thöpa Gali is a popular tale in the communities of Merak, Sakteng, and Khaling Dawzor. It serves as a heritage document of the nomads of Merak and Sakteng. In this ethnographic legend, Thöpa Gali describes how he discovered a yak and became a professional nomad. He describes almost all the important aspects and routines of nomadic life right from tying the limbs of a yak for milking to the tethering of a nomadic mastiff guard dog. Having mastered the nomadic life, he finally attains enlightenment.


(Rigdzin Pema Lingpa’i thukse Khedrub Kunga Wangpoi kabum) The collected teachings of Pema Lingpa’s lineage son, Khedrub Kunga Wangpo,
, in Choekey, edited and with an extensive introduction by Dasho Sangye Dorji. 437 p. (2012)ISBN 978-99936-17-15-0

Hitherto, little has been known about Kunga Wangpo other than that Bhutan’s first king is descended from the house of Dungkhar Choje, an offshoot of Kunga Wangpo’s own family line, Khouchung Choje. Kunga Wangpo’s collected works cover his teachings and meditative experiences at different periods of his life but do not include any biographical details. This new edition includes a completely new chapter on Kunga Wangpo’s life by Dasho Sangye Dorji, former secretary of the Dzongkha Development Commission. Dasho Sangye kindly assisted the Research Division in editing the text, to which he also added a new chapter (of 108 pages) on Kunga Wangpo’s life based on his own research.


(Drolmai logyue thong-thoe yid-throg) The Entrancing Legend of Dolma, the Deity of Tara, by Taranatha, translated from Choekey to Dzongkha by Ugyen Tenzin. 130 p. Illustrated with full colour pictures of the 21 Taras. (2011) ISBN 978-99936-17-14-3

Available for many years in English translation as ‘The golden rosary, origins of the tantra of the Bodhisattva Tara’, a Dzongkha edition of renowned scholar, Taranatha’s 1604 work had been lacking hitherto. The Tantric meditation deity Dolma occupies an important place in the Vajrayana spiritual landscape of Bhutan, and it is hoped that this translation from the classical language into more user-friendly Dzongkha by NLAB deputy chief librarian, Ugyen Tenzin will serve to encourage wider readership amongst Bhutanese.


(Gangteng Trulku Tenzin Legpai Dondrub kyi namthar) The Marvellous Gem of Veneration: Biography of Tenzin Legpai Dondrub (1645-1727)
, by Gelong Tenzin Chogyal. Republished with the addition of a comprehensive summary of the Choekey text in both Dzongkha and English by Gengop Karchung. xlvi, 221 p. (2011)

This work was republished with the addition of a comprehensive summary of the Choekey text in both English and Dzongkha by NLAB research officer, Gengop Karchung. The biography of the second Gangteng Trulku is a rare and important document which as well as giving an account of the contributions made by Je Tenzin Legpai Dondrub (1654-1727) to the welfare of the country, also illustrates the status of Buddhism in 17th-18th century Bhutan and provides insight into the state of the Peling tradition at the time.


(Ranglug dzazoi rigpai namshad) The Traditional Art of Pottery in Bhutan,
in Dzongkha, by Kunzang Dorje. 62 p. (2011) ISBN 978-99936-17-12-9

In this book, RAPA senior researcher, Kunzang Dorji summarizes the history of pottery making in Bhutan and gives a general account of the pottery making process, equipment and firing techniques.

དྲན་གཏམ་ཟླ་བའི་བདུད་རྩི། མཁས་གྲུབ་ཆེན་པོ་བླ་མ་སྨོན་ལམ་རབ་བཟང་གི་མཛད་རྣམ།

(Den Tam Drawai Dutsi)The Biography of Lama Monlam Rabzang,
in Dzongkha, by Dorji Gyeltshen. 279 p. (2010) ISBN 978-99936-17-11-2

Dealing with the life and works of Lama Monlam Rabzang (1878-1945) a learned and renowned Bhutanese Buddhist master who also became an expert sculptor and traditional painter, this publication subsequently won the Dzongkha Development Commission’s award for best book of the year 2010-2011, in competition with the works of 30 other authors.

Life of King Sindha (Chakhar Gyalpo) & The Clear Mirror of Predictions,

compiled and edited by Yonten Dargye. 194 p. (2009) ISBN 978-99936-17-10-5

The manuscript of the biography of King Sindha who was said to have been the founder of a short-lived kingdom in Bumthang, was rediscovered in the 14th century and is one of the most important terma texts to have been revealed in Bhutan to date. Authored by Denma Tsemang, one of the principal disciples of Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche) the work highlights important events of the Guru’s visit to Bumthang in the 8th century. The contents of this new, modern edition comprise an annotated English translation of the Choekey text, a facsimile reprint of the original biography and a corrected Dzongkha version in modern print format, so as to facilitate reading of the English translation along with the original text.


Written Treasures of Bhutan: Mirror of the Past and Bridge to the Future,
edited by John Ardussi and Sonam Tobgay. Proceedings of an international conference mounted in Thimphu in 2005.

In 2 volumes, for papers in Choekey/Dzongkha & English, respectively.

vol. I in Choekey, 125 p. (2008) ISBN 99936-17-09-1

Vol. II in English, 420 p. (2008) ISBN 99936-17-08-3

Play of the Omniscient: Life and Works of Jamgon Ngawang Gyaltshen, an eminent 17th-18th century Drukpa)
by Yonten Dargye & P. K. Sørensen with Gyonpo Tshering. 294 p. (2008) ISBN 99936-17-06-7This work is an annotated translation of the 9th Je Khenpo’s biography of Jamgon Ngawang Gyaltshen. The 9th Je Khenpo, Shakya Rinchen was an outstanding scholar, and his biography of Jamgon Ngawang Gyaltsen (1647–1732) is considered a landmark in the literary and religious history of Bhutan. Jamgon Ngawang Gyaltshen is regarded by Bhutanese as a reincarnation of the Buddha Maitreya, and the 9th Je Khenpo’s account of his life is a major historical source of information concerning political events in Bhutan during the 17th and early 18th centuries. Jamgon Ngawang Gyaltshen’s legacy has proved enduring in numerous fields relating to religious arts, crafts and ritual practices in Bhutan. The authors have rearranged the contents of Shakya Rinchen’s elegantly written narrative to give a better narrative flow for the English translation of the biography.
The Biography of Pha jo Drugom Zhigpo called The Current of Compassion,
by Yonten Dargye & P.K. Sorensen. English translation with research notes. 118 p. (2001) ISBN 9993617008The revered sage Phajo Drugom Zhigpo (1184–1251), was sent south by his teacher after completing religious studies at Druk Ralung and went on to establish the Drukpa Kagyu lineage in Bhutan, thus fulfilling a prophesy which had been made by the founder of the lineage before he expired. This 13th century ascetic and his numerous descendants played a significant religious and political role in turning Bhutan into a flourishing stronghold for the Drukpa order. The biography of Phajo Drugom Zhipo is one of the most important documents of this early period of dissemination of the Kagyu tradition in Bhutan. The work is presented here for the first time in an English rendition.
History of the Drukpa Kagyud School in Bhutan (12th to 17th Century),
by Yonten Dargye. 228 p. (2001) ISBN 9993661600, Nu. 250A pioneering study of the established school of Mahayana Buddhism in Bhutan, tracing the early history diffusion and development of the Drukpa Kagyu school in the country. This work makes a significant contribution to the study of Tibeto-Bhutanese cultural intercourse during the 12th to 14th century, which suggests that Tibet and Bhutan enjoyed close cultural relations in the pre-modern era but also encountered frequent political conflicts. This does not mean that Bhutanese and Tibetans share the same cultural identity. Indeed the Bhutanese fought five wars with Tibet mostly to defend their separate identity and territory


A Treasure of Songs of the Kingdom of Bhutan,
in Dzongkha, compiled and edited by Gyonpo Tshering. 373 p. (1999)

This work comprises a selection of traditional, old songs which Gyonpo Tshering has gathered up from across Bhutan..


(sgrigs lam rnam gzhag gi deb ther nor bu’i ‘phreng ba) A book on Bhutanese formal etiquette,
, in Dzongkha, by Dorji Gyaltshen. 452 p. (1999)

Driglam Namzhag (Bhutanese Etiquette):

A Manual in Dzongkha, compiled by Gangkhar Wangdue, with English translation by Yonten Dargye. 320 p., with illustrations. (1999)
gzungs ‘bul mthong bas shes pa (Handbook for Zung Practitioners),
in Dzongkha / Choekey, by Khenpo Phuntsho Tashi. (1998)

This comprehensive and extensively illustrated work on installing dharani (gzung) and relics in sacred objects for consecration includes a wealth of valuable information on traditional zung-related practices, some now on the verge of dying out. The author took three years to compile his text, the work entailing exhaustive research on a difficult tantric text and its commentaries. Through this publication, much important knowledge on zung, hitherto hidden within difficult scripts, was now made accessible to people.

Prayer of Preliminary Practice: the Guide Towards Enlightenment,

by the 9th Je Khenpo, Shakya Rinchen, translated by Yonten Dargye & Karma Wangchuck. (1997)

This is the first text to be translated into English by the library’s research team. The Choekey text and English translation appear on facing pages. The work is one of the most important liturgical texts of preliminary practices for the Mahamudra tradition of the Drukpa Kagyu School.