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Demolition of Second Buddhist Academy Begins in Tibet

By By Lobsang Tsering  /  August 27, 2017;

The expulsion of 2,000 Tibetan monks and nuns living and studying at the Yarchen Gar Buddhist Centre in Tibethas started, along with the demolition of their residences, as directed by the Chinese authorities. Yarchen Gar is recognised as the second largest monastic institution in Tibet.

Situated in a remote valley in Baiyu County, Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, in the traditional Tibetan region of Kham, Yarchen Gar is home to an estimated 10,000 nuns, monks, and lay practitioners. The monastery and educational institute was established in 1985 by the abbot, Achuk Rinpoche (d. 2011), a Dzogchen practitioner and one of the most senior Nyingma masters in Tibet.

Washington-based Radio Free Asia(RFA) reports,“The demolition began on August 8 and the work is said to be ongoing at Yarchen Gar, while the same number of monks and nuns [2,000] are also to be expelled from the Buddhist center this year alone”.

A Tibetan who has remained anonymous told RFA, “Yarchen monks and nuns are solely focused on Buddhist practice and not involved in any form of politics”. He continued, “The demolition will cause a great amount of stress, as many monks and nuns will lack accommodation and be forced to leave”.

Concern has been expressed about the mental and emotional impact of the demolitions onYachen Gar’s Buddhist community.

Earlier this year 200 tents belonging to Tibetan pilgrims visiting the centre were demolished.

This demolition at Yarchen Gar mirrors similar destruction at another, nearby, Buddhist learning centre, Larung Gar, which has taken place over the last year. Larung Gar was the largest Buddhist academy in the world. During the forceful eviction of thousands of students from the Centre there, three Tibetan nuns sacrificed their lives in protest at what was happening. One of the nuns, Tsering Dolma, left a suicide note which was recently published in Tibet Times saying, “My heart is so sad. The reason is the Chinese government does not allow us the freedom to practice our religion. Even the tiny shelters have been destroyed. It is better to die”.

Tibet.net, the official website of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile, reported “Tsering Dolma, aged 20 and a native of Mewa Township in Khakok County located in the Sichuan Province, hanged herself on  July19at her quarter……[in Larung Gar]”.

The Chinese authorities in the region have announced that Larung Gar will from now on be run by the Communist Party and there are reports that the remaining Academy residents are very concerned for the future. There is evidence that it is being turned into a tourist attraction.

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