Tibetan Buddhism and Terrain
“Tibetan Buddhism designed by the CCP”
Not long ago, several important incidents took place in succession: 1) Because of a minor explosion at the end of October 2011, of the originally over 300 monks only 6 are now left in Karma Monastery in Chamdo County, Kham, TAR. 2) At the end of 2013, Drongna Monastery in Driru County, Nagchu Prefecture, TAR was closed down, all monk residences were sealed and many monks arrested; subsequently, the Tarmoe and Rabten monasteries of Driru County were also closed down. 3) In December 2013, an official government notice was issued to the famous Labrang Monastery in Sangchu County, Gannan Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu Province, requesting to expel all non-local monks studying at the monastery within a three months period.
At the end of 2008, I wrote several essays: “‘Patriotic Education’ in Tibet”, “Another Cultural Revolution is Quietly Sweeping across Tibet’s Monasteries”, “Behind the Curtain of ‘Legal Education’”, “The Intentions Behind Transforming Monasteries into Tourist Attractions”, “The ‘Clean Up’ of Lhasa that is Hidden from the Outside World”. It is evident that the encircling and annihilation of Tibet’s monasteries is continuously moving forward, becoming more and more far-reaching. Just as I wrote at the end of 2008, “the local Party authorities are currently launching the cruelest and most bitter clean up of Tibetan monasteries since the Cultural Revolution. In the Chinese media, none of these “black box operations” are ever mentioned. Another Cultural Revolution is currently sweeping across Tibet. In 1966, Buddhist temples and statues were smashed and monks and nuns expelled, leaving behind a forlorn field of ruins. Now this second Cultural Revolution will completely eradicate any genuine monks and nuns, leaving behind nothing but the shell of monasteries and monks and nuns who are bound to lose their courage and conscience.”
If we have not already forgotten, we must remember how on April 10, 2008, the three main monasteries in Lhasa – Drepung monastery, Sera monastery and Ganden monastery – were attacked by military police in the middle of the night, monks – almost entirely students of Buddhism coming from Gansu, Qinghai, Sichuan, or Yunnan provinces (officially called “the four Tibetan provinces”) – were arrested at their residences. They were sent to Gormo military prison and repatriated to their hometowns after the Beijing Olympics; none of them were allowed to ever return to the monasteries.
It has always been true that more than half of the monks in Lhasa’s three main monasteries were not locals. This is a 500-year-old tradition, existing ever since the establishment of these three main monasteries, and it is the tradition of 2000 years of Buddhism. This, indeed, also includes monasteries of Chinese Buddhism that have always been inhabited by monks from all across the country. Today, Chinese monasteries have remained the same, monks from different counties and provinces reside there to study, but the monks of Lhasa’s three main monasteries have been expelled and imprisoned by military force. This has hardly ever happened in the history of Tibetan Buddhism, it only started occurring frequently in modern times under the rule of the CCP.
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