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The monks at work. BD : I understand that the monks initially had some resistance to conservation. In the olden days it was fine because you used the traditional equipment, like masonry, mud, mineral paints, things like that. We have to decide which is the best way to do it so that it really keeps the aesthetic and spiritual value of the piece. So currently we usually get it from Japan, and then we mix our traditional colors with it to try and get the right tone. BD : People have different ideas about conservation. Some think that restoring a piece to its former glory is important, but others may feel that that amount of restoration is too much.

PAK : I think the monks and I argue about this every day! But we have set certain standards. For example, for Buddhist practice you need the iconography to be complete. As you know, we use it for visualization practice, so in order to do that, the deity has to be complete so that we understand the subtleties of the wisdom blessings that we get.

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But at the same time, Western conservators just clean up water damage or insect damage, things like that, and leave the cracks and things. In some areas we do that. BD : Do you consecrate the restored pieces? PAK : Yes, we have to do a blessing ceremony. The Bhutanese would be not happy if the pieces were not blessed. PAK : So far, the earliest one we have found is 14th century. PAK : Some similarities are there, of course. A lot of the aspects such as the landscape and things like that are borrowed from Tibet, as well as from China and India.

Restoration work. Would you say that being Buddhist defines the Bhutanese identity? PAK : To a certain extent, yes. Buddhism has had a big influence on our culture and history. Even our national dress and the etiquette and so on hail from Buddhist origins. But the true essence of Bhutan, I think, is more like the essence of humanity—having compassion, having loving-kindness, having integrity. I think these are the things that embody what it is to be human.

BD : So are people still interested in Vajrayana as Bhutan becomes more modernized? We still have to develop the economy. Yes, we might have been slow to open up to modernization, but we are facing these issues. I think in that way we still have some hope in moving in a positive direction. For 11 years he lived in Japan, where he trained with the late master conservator Tatsuji Handa, and in late , he was the first non-Japanese to be certified by the Japanese Agency for Cultural Properties.

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Following its subsequent formal inception in , the Court recruited members from a number of prominent royal and noble houses. Today, however, the Imperial and Royal Dragon Court itself exists as a closed fraternity, a collective of individuals, comprising those who, unlike Sigismund, can trace their ancestry and affiliations back to the ancient, pre-Christian Elven, Grail and Dragon families via Anjou. The Court retains the traditional three tier degree system that Sigismund borrowed and to which he appended three separate representations of the alchemical Ouroboros emblem for the distinct ranks of the Court.

A fourth emblem, configured in the form of the Egyptian Ankh or Albigensian Cross, was used by the family officers of the Inner Temple. The tripartite system was peculiar to the Scythians and Celts, whose Druids incorporated a similar structure within their orders and colleges. It later found expression within the Cathar fraternity of Languedoc and also with the Witches.

It was developed within the Hierarchical Rule of the Knights Templars with whom the Court had a strong historical connection. Blood Relationship.

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Being essentially an organization which emphasizes the crucial links between Dragon families, the rank system within the Court takes second place to the sense of blood relationship and the natural bond of co-operation engendered by that relationship. Service, mutual support and respect supersede those types of ambition and advancement which prevail in other bodies which might, on the face of it, resemble the Dragon Court model in some ways. Within such orders, sights are firmly set towards material gain through supporting establishments which themselves breed division and inequity.

The tenets of the Grail and Dragon traditions are implicit in defining that we should be at one with the earth, and cannot, therefore, presume dominion over it. Unlike those who wish to profit unjustifiably from dubious Merovingian descent. This philosophy is embedded in the concept of individual gnosis, and lies at the very heart of the Draconian culture. It is evident in all aspects of life itself. Emanating from the ancient lore of the Elven Lords and Ladies of the Forest, this ancestral legacy forms the bedrock upon which this and all legitimately related Dragon Courts were originally founded.

The Tinker Kings. It is no secret that, through a process of calculated indoctrination, our individual decisions are often prompted by fears of non-conformity or insecurity. As a result we are conditioned to purchase a variety of hyped goods and services in order to redress personal inadequacies that do not, in fact, exist.

In reality, the prevalent forms of fear-based merchandising are little different from straightforward protection rackets, and yet they are sanctioned and encouraged by our governing establishments. For centuries, western state authorities and their Churches have enjoyed continued power over a subordinate majority, by presenting a facade of sacrosanct jurisdiction which has seemed inextricably linked to some form of royalty, nobility, or government by divine sanction.

By virtue of this, it is not surprising that so many people now consider royalty, nobility and western religion to be archaic components of a system of class and privilege which has no place in the modern age.

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What few recognize, however, is that for centuries the perceived representation of royalty and nobility has, to a large extent, been a fraud perpetuated by a dressed up merchant class elite who have no real entitlement to their positions. This farce, with its inherent tyranny and social abuse, has been endured through the ages, while the true bloodline families have been suppressed and supplanted by traders and brokers disguised in crowns and mitres.

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These tinker kings and their emissaries have plagued the western scene for generations, leaving all to wonder how it is that our supposed guardians and ambassadors are so often an embarrassment, and are rarely representative of community requirement. In reality, the fact is that the individual establishments of these said aristocrats be they state heads, provincial overlords or clerical governors are frequently very questionable, and their personal roots are often more ordinary than most. Mother Earth. Prior to these distortions, the nature of kingship was entirely different.

There was no requirement for Church sanction through coronation by parvenu popes or archbishops. Kingship was founded upon the ideal that all people were adherents of the earth, and that the earth bestowed sovereignty upon its first born people, the Elven Tribes. They were represented by a Dragon Queen, and she empowered the Grail King, who could not be a king without her. In this environment, the right to kingship emanated from the female, since Mother Earth was herself deemed to be female. The overriding function of a king and queen was to maintain a spiritually transcendent intelligence within the realm, thereby enabling the organism the kingdom to function and develop in symbiosis with its surrounding environment.

If a change of governmental practice is deemed necessary, then there is nothing to gain by swapping the merchant class nobles for lawyer class presidents. There is, however, much to be gained by considering the advantages of properly defined Grail kingship and the Messianic code of princely service within a socially orientated constitutional framework. Opportunists and Orators. As a result of a general disenchantment, many now suggest that royalty and nobility should be marginalized in favor of republican style government.

Some determine that such changes replace privilege with a more acceptable form of merit advantage. However, this perception is equally untenable in practice. All that happens is that headstrong merchant class opportunists are replaced by polished lawyer class orators, thereby creating an unwarranted new elite, with the same destructive hold on society. Government of the majority by an exclusive clique, which uses intimidating tactics to manipulate a consumer based economy, has nothing whatever to do with the time honored spirit of Grail kingship and the Dragon blood.

Any shift from monarchy to republicanism is simply a matter of different packaging. In the event, we are still captive consumers enveloped within faiths of fear. Our legacy from all this is an inbred contempt for anything which does not conform to a system of venerated sale values. This leads to the loss of our relationship with the ecosphere upon which all species truly depend.

The Grail. It recognized that no sane mind would, for the sake of short-term profit, disenfranchise the body upon which it depends. From medieval times, however, this is precisely what has happened, with the Church installing dealers and merchants as puppet kings, traders who had no knowledge of kingship, but who have spawned dynasties which, in turn, have appointed their own colleagues as hereditary puppet nobles. The Church and its appointees be they monarchs, bishops or pseudo nobles have proclaimed the Messianic legacy to be heresy.

By doing this they have underwritten and promulgated tyrannical systems of elitism, separatism and environmental domination to the detriment of the many. Out of Egypt. It was subsequently established more formally as a pharaonic institution by the twelfth dynasty Queen Sobekh Nefru c.