About the UBA

The University Buddhist Association of UCLA is an organization of students, faculty, and community members who come together to learn about and practice Buddhism. We're a non-sectarian Buddhist group that welcomes all Buddhists and non-Buddhist of all faiths and traditions.

If you're interested in learning more about the UCLA Buddhist community, please come to our meetings.

When: Every Tuesday, 5:30 - 7:00pm
Where: University Catholic Center
633 Gayley Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90024

If you have any questions, please contact us at uba.ucla.online@gmail.com.
Custom Search

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Talk with Bhutan's prime minister, Thinley

The Wall Street Journal features a talk with Jigmi Y. Thinley, Bhutan's first democratically elected prime minister. Bhutan is located in between China and India and as one of the world's newest democracies, taken much effort to balance the process of modernization with maintaining their unique culture based on Buddhist values. Interestingly, Bhutan is the only country to measure Gross National Happiness (GNH), rather than the more common Gross National Product.

Created by Bhutan's former King Jigme Singye Wangchuck in 1972, GNH is based on four pillars:

1. The promotion of equitable and sustainable socio-economic development
2. Preservation and promotion of cultural values
3. Conservation of the natural environment
4. establishment of good governance.

According to Mr. Thinley, he "will continue to implement the government policy of GNH. Happiness is not hedonistic, 'it is not the kind of fleeting pleasures that we seek.' It has to do with 'being able to balance material needs of the body and the spiritual needs of the mind.'"

During the talk with Mr. Thinley, he also elaborates on his thoughts about democracies.

"Democracy, according to Mr. Thinley, boils down to 'the empowerment of the people, the freedom of the voter. . . . giving the capacity to the individual citizen to determine his or her own destiny,' he says. 'Now if these are what democracy provides, then I would say that regardless of what culture you belong to, democracy is essential.'"

Here are two previous posts about Bhutan:
--Interesting facts about Bhutan
--Bhutan crowns fifth king


empanada said...

"According to Mr. Thinley, he "will continue to implement the government policy of GNH. "

Too bad the feelings of the Nepalese refugees were never included in the GNH...

Eric said...

Are you referring to the Bhutanese refugees currently residing in parts of Nepal and India that were forced to leave their country by the Bhutan government? I'm glad you bring it up because it is important to consider that the refugees are not included in the GNH and that even though Bhutan is rated "the happiest country in Asia and the eighth happiest country in the world" (citing a global survey conducted by the University of Leicester in 2006 featured by 2006 Business Week), the rankings are distorted.