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Restored Ashoka Stupa in China symbolises India’s propagation of Buddhism

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Nangchen (China): Radiant in its grandeur and serene in its effect, a newly inaugurated restored Ashoka Stupa in this remote Himalayan town close to Tibet symbolizes the missionary zeal of Indians to spread the message of Buddhism since the ancient ages.

BCE273-232_01_lgBeckoning tourists and pilgrims alike, the dome-shaped shrine, whose complex includes a newly-installed giant 35 meter statue of Lord Buddha atop a temple dedicated to him, stands in this mystic land of monks and yogis, around 3,600 meters above sea level in China’s Qinghai province neighboring Tibetan Chamdo district.

The stupa was restored by followers of Gyalwang Drukpa, the Ladakh-based Indian spiritual chief of the Drukpa lineage of Buddhism, with support from the Fu Rui Charitable Foundation accredited by the Chinese government, marking out the $25 million project as a significant milestone in China-India cooperation.

Contributions also came from many Asian devotees of the Drukpa, including renowned industrialists like the Lim family of Singapore.

Amid chanting of hymns, reading from the Buddhist scriptures and the presence of over three lakh devotees from across the world, the Drukpa formally inaugurated and consecrated the temple and the stupa alongside senior monks.

Chinese officials and Indian Lok Sabha member Vinod Sonkar graced the occasion.

Drukpa hoped it would help better China-India relations as per Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s wish.

“Yes, this will be a very good contribution towards (prime minister) Modi’s wish and be beneficial for bilateral ties between India and China,” he said.

The original stupa was set up in Nangchen — an important centre of trade and politics in what was then eastern Tibet — by Buddhist missionaries carrying the message of India’s third Maurya emperor Ashoka the Great, who ruled from circa 65-238 B.C. or 273-232 B.C.

Ashoka had divided the relics of Lord Buddha into 84,000 stupas and despatched missionaries and close relatives across India and abroad to propagate Buddhism and promote peace.

As per records of the Tang dynasty which ruled China between 608 A.D. and 907 A.D., 19 such stupas existed in China, but most of these gave way due to natural wear and tear, human negligence, or were shifted to other locations.

Locals say the original Nangchen Stupa — said to be 2,000-odd years old — was destroyed during the Chinese Cultural Revolution when people took away the foundation rocks to make their own homes and over time, the structure became unrecognisable.

Later, apparently a stone pillar inscribed with the history of Ashoka’s building of the stupa was unearthed, but the pillar disappeared a year after, and the location was reduced to a historical site of ruins.

Keen to see the stupa restored, devotees requested the local Drukpa spiritual chief Tulshik Adeu Rinpoche to take the initiative.

He took the initial steps and informed the supreme leader Gyalwang Drukpa, but passed away before the project could start.

His nephew Trulshik Satrul Rinpoche then took up the task.

The restored stupa is a grand, multi-level ornate structure, before which stands the remains of an original rock edict of Ashoka detailing the features.

The lowest level has a statue of the stupa’s protector Mahakala, whose reference is also there in Hindu religion.

The gold-plated stupa forms the cover for remnants of the original stupa which is kept in a glass case.

“The newly restored stupa has five levels. It contains five million small stupas made by the locals over a period of three years. The stupa itself documents the developments in the history of the stupa, all five stages of Buddha’s lives are depicted through murals, and the eight different types of stupas commoerate the eight fold path of Buddhism,” said monk Yeshe Namgyal.

One hundred and fifty thousand mani sones and 160,000 engravings of Tripitakas containing Buddha’s teachings are other highlights.

“There are 500 mini stupas, each of which tells a story,” said the monk.

The 35-metre Amitabha Buddha statue on the top of the temple has been donated by Felix Lim, chairman of Maz Energy Private Limited of Singapore.

“The Drukpa told my wife that he has dreams to install a stature of Buddha. My wife informed me. I initially thought of an earthen stature. Then his holiness said he wanted something which would exist for hundreds of years. So we made this statue of mixed alloy.

“I contributed to this out of love for my wife and reverence for His Holiness,” said Lim.

(Sirshendu Panth, IANS)

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Apple Decides to Update iPhones in China To Avoid Ban

The ban does not cover the new iPhone XS, iPhone XS Plus or iPhone XR, which were not yet available when Qualcomm filed its lawsuit

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Apple, Iphone XR, Apple Watch
Apple to update iPhones in China to avoid ban. Flickr Commons

Apple has decided to update iPhones in China to avoid a ban after a court ruling banned the sale and import of most iPhone models after granting Qualcomm an injunction against Apple.

According to a report in The New York Times on Friday, the Cupertino-based tech giant said it would update the software of iPhones in China early next week to try to resolve the legal dispute.

The company said it would update its iPhones “to address any possible concern about our compliance with the order”.

“Apple said its update would change the iPhones’ software so it did not infringe on Qualcomm patents, which relate to switching between apps and changing the size and appearance of photographs,” said the report.

Apple and Qualcomm are suing one another in courts across the world. Billions of dollars are at stake, and each side has claimed some victories.

A Chinese court had banned the sale and import of most iPhone models after granting Qualcomm an injunction against Apple, a stunning decision that comes amid the trade war between the US and China.

Apple, however, is still selling iPhones in China.

Apple, Campus, China
A customer is entering the Apple store in Fairfax, Virginia. VOA

According to Don Rosenberg, Qualcomm’s Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Apple is violating the court’s order.

“They are legally obligated to immediately cease sales, offers for sale and importation of the devices identified in the orders and to prove compliance in court,” he was quoted as saying.

Apple has also appealed against the Chinese court ruling.

Also Read- Irish Watchdog Opens Inquiry into Latest Privacy Breach of Facebook

It accused Qualcomm of playing dirty tricks, including asserting a patent that had already been invalidated by international courts, and other patents that it had never before used.

“Qualcomm’s effort to ban our products is another desperate move by a company whose illegal practices are under investigation by regulators around the world,” Apple said in a statement earlier this week.

The ban does not cover the new iPhone XS, iPhone XS Plus or iPhone XR, which were not yet available when Qualcomm filed its lawsuit. (IANS)