Destruction at Larung Gar Greater Than Earlier Reported

2017-06-22
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Destruction of monastic dwellings at Larung Gar is shown in a recent photo.
Destruction of monastic dwellings at Larung Gar is shown in a recent photo.
Photo sent by an RFA listener

Chinese authorities destroyed 4,725 monastic dwellings during the last year at Sichuan’s Larung Gar Buddhist Academy, with a total of over 7,000 demolished since efforts to reduce the number of monks and nuns living at the sprawling center began in 2001, a senior abbot at Larung Gar said this week.

In a June 20 address to Larung Gar’s remaining residents, the abbot said that more than 4,828 monks and nuns had also been expelled since 2016, with many forced back to their hometowns and deprived of opportunities to pursue religious studies.

“We are discussing ways to help those who have had to leave Larung Gar in their studies and practice,” the abbot said, while praising those who remained for their hard work and “excellent performance” following this year’s final exams.

Counting both China’s initial campaign of destruction in 2001 and a second campaign begun last year, the abbot said “these two stages of hardships faced by Larung Gar were unprecedented in the 40 years [since the center’s founding].”

“We are hoping that Larung Gar will not face tough situations like these again for a very long time,” he said.

Sources said in March that in response to appeals by the Larung Gar management committee, authorities had pledged to reduce the number of dwellings to be torn down in the current campaign, for a projected total of 4,320 houses finally targeted for destruction.

No explanation was given for the larger number now said to have been destroyed.

Many thousands of Tibetans and Han Chinese once studied at Serthar (in Chinese, Seda) county’s Larung Gar Academy, 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.

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.

Comments (3)
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Sangye Pema

from Los Angeles

So sad to see the Chinese Authorities doing this especially when this institute is providing the dharma to many Han chinese students. And as the article said the institute is bridging the divide between the Han and Tibetan peoples.

Jul 10, 2017 11:26 AM

Wangchuk

from NY

The guy with the inflated ego calling himself "Friend of King Gesar" is clearly a member of China's 50 Cent Party. These people are paid by the CCP to post pro-CCP propaganda online & defend the CCP's policies. The CCP has tens of thousands of propaganda people in China & around the world. The CCP spends millions of dollars on foreign propaganda alone. Clearly religous freedom and the rights of Tibetans are of no concern to this man. The CCP is violating the religious freedoms of Tibetans & students at Larung Gar. It is undisputable.

Jun 23, 2017 02:59 PM

Friend of King Gesar

Would someone please enlighten me how human waste, garbage collection, water distribution, fire prevention, and housing allocation/rent collection (was the monastery or some other intermediary the landlord?)were handled at Larung Gar before the demolition began. From the aerial photographs it looks like one large monastery in the midst of many hundreds of squatter hut-like structures with no visible evidence of any sanitation infrastructure or proper road access/exit in case of emergencies. In other words, to my urban, Asian eyes, it looks like a disaster waiting to happen. But this website and the majority of those people writing about Larung Gar see the disaster as the demolition. Is everything so clearly black and white?

Jun 23, 2017 10:33 AM

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