Tibet: Monks and Nuns helpless as Buddhist Academy at Larung Gar faces Chinese demolition

Nearly 1,400 houses will be demolished in the first stage which mainly includes nuns' homes and hostels owned by the elderly people

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Larung Gar, Wikimedia Commons
Larung Gar, Image source: Wikimedia Commons
  • Larung Gar is a worldwide famous for Tibetan Buddhist teachings
  • The government gave the reason behind the demolitions saying, it is a part of ‘correction and rectification obligations’
  • the action against the institution is not only for the intention of demolition but also for the construction development and a project for “accelerated urbanization”

Dharamshala: Chinese demolition teams have rolled into Serthar, Kardze and shattered down the homes of monks and nuns again at one of the world’s largest monastic institutions- Larung Gar institution, with over 10,000 population of Buddhist practitioners.

The demolitions came following the government order which was issued in last month, in June, stipulating that “by September 30, 2017, the population of the encampment must be limited to 5,000 persons.” Areas with authorized houses and the areas that will be demolished have been separately marked on the map by the local authorities. Nearly 1,400 houses will be demolished in the first stage which mainly includes nuns’ homes and hostels owned by the elderly people, reported myinforms.com.

The government gave the reason behind the demolitions saying, it is a part of ‘correction and rectification obligations’. The order further states that “Residence of those expelled since 2013, illegal new residences, residences that have become old age homes and nuns’ hostels, a total of 1,500, will be demolished at one go”.

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According to the local authorities, the action against the institution is not only for the intention of demolition but also for the construction development and a project for “accelerated urbanization”.

The secretary of Serthar County United Front Work Department reacted to the people’s wrong perception about the order and said “Online it has been said that ‘Larung Gar will be demolished,’ ‘it’s the end of Larung Gar,’ ‘the monks and nuns will be removed,’ ‘the authorities are destroying and sweeping away a holy religious place,’ and so on. This is totally untrue, and irresponsible.”

Buddist institute at Larung Gar
Buddist institute at Larung Gar, Image source: Wikimedia Commons

He further added they are trying to expand the nearby Lo-Nor Township “because Larung Gar monastery is close to Lo-Nor township it will naturally be integrated into overall planning and construction.”

According to the myinforms.com Website, as the demolitions have potentially angered the residents, Tibetan lamas who are in charge of the institutions are calm and recommended those affected to continue with their studies and concentrate on Buddhist teachings, not on the ruination of physical possessions.

In 2001, Larung Gar faced the same demolition in which thousands of homes were destroyed by 500 armed police and military force. According to the witnesses at the time, the huts were dismantled with shrines and possessions inside; elderly and disabled residents were forcibly hauled out of their homes before tearing their houses down; in few cases, the demolitions started while the owners were inside their homes. This demolition led to the eviction of 8,000 practitioners and destruction of 2,000 meditation huts and 1,74 monastic residences.

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President of the International Campaign for Tibet, Matteo Mecacci claimed, “These demolitions are a part o a set of policy measures implemented by the Chinese government that severely restrict the religious freedom of Tibetan Buddhists.”

Larung Gar is a worldwide famous for Tibetan Buddhist teachings. It is of great significance in terms of Tibetan language, culture and religion and also for the upcoming generation of Chinese Buddhist scholars and pilgrims. Therefore, it should be protected and its religious teachers must be allowed to make the full decision for its long-term future.

–  prepared by Akanksha Sharma of NewsGram. Twitter: Akanksha4117

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