National Legal Course is established for pre-service and in-service training of the Judicial Service Personnel to meet the human resource requirements of the Judiciary. The Courses ensures pre-service and continuing legal education with special emphasis on ethics, morality and traditional values.
There are two levels of entry:
1.Two years course after completion of Class XII for Bench Clerk; and
2. 18 months course after completion of LLB degree for lawyers.
Post Graduate Diploma in National Law training is indeed an inevitable one for those practicing in Bhutan. The course is designed to provide the graduates with a thorough understanding of the general legal system of Bhutan. It is intended to present the legal concepts and principles in the context of Bhutanese culture, national language and society and the laws derived from them. The study of the following subjects during the training has resulted in a dramatic improvement in the usage of Dzongkha in the Courts apart from the many relevant subjects under Zhung Chhen.
(a) Ngag-doen (Shabda Kosh)
Pelgang Chhhoetse Lotsawa, a Buddhist scholar of 16th century learned in the ten sciences, wrote Ngag-doen around 1530s. This book falls under the Five Higher Sciences and deals with the science of words and sounds.
"Ngag-doen" enumerates the different words and their spellings that go with the alphabets of Dzongkha. Besides, this subject also deals with the study of the meaning, spelling and the usage of important words that are used in the Ten Sciences and the religious and secular philosophy.
Knowing Ngag-doen will enhance ones knowledge of "Sumtag" (Grammar). As a saying goes, "in writing there should be beauty, speech and clarity of words and meaning, among which clarity is the most essential."
(b) Sumtag (Byakaran)
Sumtag is an abbreviated form of the words sumchupa and taggijugpa meaning "30 stanza-sound differentiated grammar." This is so named because the basic rules of grammar are explained in 30 stanzas. Similarly, the 30 alphabets are then classified into four categories viz. male letters, female letters, neutral letters and extremely feminine letters, based on the strength of the stress when pronounced.
King Srongtsen Gampo, 627-649, (an incarnate of Avaloketeshwara) a spiritual and temporal head of Tibet, during his reign wanted to establish Buddhism as the state religion. But to do so it was essential to invent the scripts, for which he sent his own scholar-minister Sambota to India to learn Buddhist literature.
In India Sambota met two famous Buddhist scholars viz. Lewe Kara and Lharigpy Singay, and mastered Kala, Pani and Chandra. Based on Kala, Pani and Chandra, and out of many alphabets (scripts) in sanskrit in India, Sambota chose 30 alphabets to form script. Eight parts of speech, noun, pronoun, verbs, tenses, etc. were formed. Thus, Sumtag was composed.
The successive scholars after Sambota translated sanskrit text into Chhokey. Hence, Buddhism was propagated in the sacred land of Tibet and then it came to Bhutan.
Sumtag, in short, is a master key to enter into all sacred and holy Buddhist literature and scriptures. So if one could master Sumtag, all the Buddhist texts written in Chhokey and in Dzongkha can be easily understood.
(c) Choenjug-A Guide to Boddhisattva's way of Life.
The philosophy of Boddhisattva's way of life stresses and teaches people, how to develop the selfless Bodhisattva attitude in our mind, speech and action. The text had been composed and written in Nalanda University by the Great Indian scholar prince Shanta Deva. He was one of the six great gems of the world of scholars. This text falls under the Sutra Pitaka.
The study of this sutra helps in delivering justice to the people. The central idea of the Sutra enumerates that:
"Self-centered motive is devil's ways, And selfless motive is Angel's ways."
This means, to forget the selfish motive and be available for the services of others. It further says, there is no greater sin than Anger, and no greater difficulty than Tolerance.
This clearly explains the law of cause and effect, which we can contemplate and put into practice when delivering justice. In other words, there is no other better way than to consider the well-being of the sentient beings in general, and the king, the people and the nation in particular.
If one can develop momentary selfless attitudes of Boddhisattva in the mind, like a medicine that cures diseases, it has the power to overcome all the ill feelings and the anger. Being so, it is very important for all the lawyers to remember the selfless attitude of Boddhisatva in the day-to-day life.
(d) Uma (Madhyamaka)
As predicted by Lord Buddha, 'Four hundred years after my death, a monk named Lhundrup will be born, who will propagate Buddhism.' Madhyamaka was first composed by Phagpa Ludrup. It was one of the analyzed version of Lord Buddha's Second Teaching. The epitome of madhyamaka philosophy is that confirmation of the fact that the phenomenal Existence is neither an Illusion nor Reality; nor Both but is beyond all these.
(e) Dha Zhung (Dzongkha Grammar)
A Buddhist roughly squeezes all the avenues of learning in the cosmos broadly under the 'ten vistas of learning' or skills:
- philosophy, which constitute the five greater vistas;
- phonetics; and
- astrology, which form the five lesser vistas of learning.
The word "Da Zhung" literally means, "common medium of communication". Therefore, the text seeks to lay down minimum standards for spoken and written Dzongkha so that the Dzongkha spoken and written in a region of the country will be exactly similar to the one spoken and written in another region.
The classical Tibetan Grammar written by Sambota is an indispensable key to the ancient and sacred Buddhist literature.The Dzongkha grammar is simply "an old wine in the new bottle" designed to suit the present need and to consolidate the future pedestal of the national language. The changes scholars would observe at a glance in the Da Shung is mainly in the phonetic field.
For instance, the "Raatag" in the Chhokay is changed to "Yaatag" in Dzongkha, so that if it sounds "traa" in Chhokay, it would sound "cha" in Dzongkha such changes are inevitable. Firstly, the Dzongkha evolved from the Chhokay, the language of religion (Buddhism). Secondly it shares common sets of alphabets/scripts with the Tibetan language. It is said that if we do not speak our lingua Franco, we will not only fail in learning foreign languages but also will forget or lose our own as well.
(f) Tsema (Pramana Shastra)
Tsema or Hitu-Vidya is one of the five classes of science. It is the science of syllogism, logic and philosophy. The three categories of Tsema are:
- "Lung Tsema" or the doctrinal proof which can not be debated and which is universally accepted law;
- "Ngoensuum Tsema" or the concrete and tangible proof, seen and felt by the senses; and
- "Jaypaag Tsema" or the deductive or the conclusive proof, for instance, from the smoke the presence of fire can be concluded.
Chhoki Langpo (Dinaga), one of the four disciples of Lopen Yigngen (Vasubhandu) propounded this discipline towards the end of the fourth century. In compendium, it consists of hundred and twenty-eight disciplines. Since then many other scholars like Chhoki Drakpa consolidated and propagated them further.
It is this science that gives people the wisdom of perfect meaning. Earlier it was customary for any new literary beginners, before they were accepted by learned Archaryas and Sidhis that, they should be thoroughly debated and refined through Tsema by critics and senior scholars. But today, Tsema not only forms one of the main subjects of any Buddhist institute, it has become common even among the layman in their daily parlance.
Tsema is a critical or analytical science, which questions the validity or authenticity of statements or arguments by asking proof and reasons keeping prejudices and guesswork at bay. Hence, Tsema becomes a facilitating tool for judges and lawyers in scrutinizing and analyzing the substance of litigation. Throughout history, our ancestors had applied Tsema in dispelling ignorance and convincing the heretics and pagans.
While presenting cases and briefs before the Court, it is essential that the cases be put up in a presentable manner. This will not only ease the analysis of the cases but it will also help in reaching the decision faster. It will also enable the aggrieved litigants to arrive at a satisfactory deduction of the case themselves.
Therefore, the study of Tsema will enable lawyers and Judges that 'falsehood does not triumph over truth, that injustice does not eclipse justice'. The knowledge of Tsema will also facilitate the fast disposal of cases and prompt judicial remedies thereby, fulfilling the profound age old dictum of "Justice for All".