Hundreds of Tibetan nomads living in western China’s Sichuan province assembled at a Buddhist monastery this week to recommit themselves to good behavior in their communities, vowing especially not to kill, steal, or gamble, sources said.
The three-day gathering in the Dzekar Lhamo Thang area of Ngaba (in Chinese, Aba) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture’s Dzamthang (Rangtang) county was aimed at further strengthening harmony within the Tibetan community, a local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service.
“It marked the completion of a three-year period of local Tibetans’ abiding by vows they had taken not to commit murder, gamble, or steal,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The gathering, which ran from Feb. 25-27 and involved the residents of three area villages, was held so that participants could “review their behavior over the last three years and recommit themselves to good conduct in the future,” the source said.
Those who had failed in their commitments were encouraged to repent and take their vows again, he added.
Held in the courtyard of Dzamthang’s Choje monastery, the meetings “were attended by community members of all ages,” the source said.
“On the first day, the members of Gong Gyu village—especially the younger members—renewed their vows and commitments,” he said.
“Then, on the second day, the residents of Karthok village took part. And on the third day, the male residents of Namda village restored their vows and committed themselves to maintain them.”
The decision to convene the gatherings was taken following a Feb. 14-15 meeting held to “openly discuss the issue of harmony within the Tibetan community,” RFA’s source said.
Buddhist monasteries in Tibetan-populated regions of China have frequently become the focus of efforts to promote not just religion but Tibetan national and cultural values, according to Tibetan sources.
And annual public assemblies at the monasteries have greatly increased in size in recent years, as thousands of Tibetans gather to assert their cultural identity in the face of Beijing’s cultural and political domination.
Reported by Kunsang Tenzin for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.