Senior monks from Sichuan’s Larung Gar Buddhist Academy this week visited hundreds of Larung Gar nuns temporarily housed in a desolate settlement of metal huts in Kardze prefecture after being expelled by China from their former homes, Tibetan sources said.
The camp, which now holds more than a thousand nuns in multiple rows of two-storey dwellings, was built by Chinese authorities in the Dzuchen area of Kardze’s Serthar (in Chinese, Seda) county, a local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service.
On Dec. 12, three monastic leaders and senior teachers from Larung Gar visited the camp to examine the facilities, RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“Khenpo Tsultrim Lodroe, Khenpo Rigdar, and Khenpo Tsultrim came to look at the camp,” the source said.
“They interacted with the nuns and asked about their condition. Khenpo Tsultrim Lodroe also gave a teaching to the nuns living in the camp,” he said.
Many thousands of Tibetans and Han Chinese once studied at the 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.
Many have now been expelled from the makeshift dwellings that once lined the hillsides around Larung Gar as authorities seek to reduce the center’s population by about half to a maximum level of 5,000 by next year, sources told RFA in earlier reports.
Thousands have already returned to their hometowns in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) and Tibetan-populated counties in neighboring Chinese provinces, with hundreds sent away by bus on Oct. 30 alone, sources said.
The nuns’ camp now set up in Serthar is a “temporary measure only,” a second source living in the area told RFA this week.
“The authorities made this arrangement when they could not build actual houses for them as they had previously promised,” he said.
Reported by Lhuboom for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.