The forced removals by Chinese authorities of monks and nuns from Sichuan’s Larung Gar Buddhist Academy have now ended, with the last of a final group of 250 nuns having left the institute by April 6, according to a local source.
All had come originally from neighboring Qinghai province and were sent back to different areas there, RFA’s source said.
“Among them, some went to Golog [in Chinese, Guoluo] prefecture in Qinghai, where they are being allowed to stay at Tsida monastery, which is led by Khenpo Rigdar,” the source said.
“This was done at their own wish and was made possible with help from members of Larung Gar’s management committee,” he said, adding, “Other groups returned to their home towns and have joined local monasteries there.”
Around 5,000 monks and nuns have now been expelled from Serthar (Seda) county’s sprawling Larung Gar complex, which was founded in 1980 by the late religious teacher Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok and is one of the world’s largest and most important centers for the study of Tibetan Buddhism.
On March 30, a group of Chinese officials led by Sichuan provincial governor Yin Li arrived at Larung Gar to observe the ongoing state-ordered demolition of monastic dwellings there, another local source told RFA.
“He also convened a meeting of Larung Gar’s management committee and reminded them that the reduction in numbers of monks and nuns living there and destruction of their homes had been ordered by higher authorities,” the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“He added that anyone working against this plan would be breaking the law,” he said.
“He also pointed out that the houses remaining to be torn down would not be limited to the smaller dwellings, but would include some of the larger structures as well.”
The expulsions and demolitions at Larung Gar, along with restrictions at Yachen Gar, another large Buddhist center in Sichuan, are part of "an unfolding political strategy" aimed at controlling the influence and growth of these important centers for Tibetan Buddhist study and practice, the Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) said in a March 13 report, "Shadow of Dust Across the Sun."
"[Both centers] have drawn thousands of Chinese practitioners to study Buddhist ethics and receive spiritual teaching since their establishment, and have bridged Tibetan and Chinese communities," ICT said in its report.
Reported by Lhuboom for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.