Greed tainting Tibetan Buddhism, says Panchen lama
BEIJING: Patriotism is the “mission” of religion in China, but greed is tainting Tibetan Buddhism, says the government-appointed second-highest spiritual leader of the faith, who was chosen by China to win the hearts and minds of Tibetans.
Although officially atheist, China in 1995 selected Gyaltsen Norbu as Tibet’s 11th Panchen Lama, the number-two spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism.
Tibet’s current spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, whom China brands a dangerous separatist, had announced his choice of a 6-year-old boy to replace the previous Panchen Lama, but he was taken away by authorities and has since vanished from public view.
Speaking at the yearly meeting of the advisory Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference here on Saturday, China’s Panchen Lama said “as the retail economy grows, Buddhism has come under attack from commercialisation”.
“Some places use monasteries as money trees, turn them into family temples, turn them into shopping malls.
“Some fake living Buddhas and fake monks use dubious Buddhist teachings to swindle believers.
“The historic mission for religion is to love the nation and love faith, and to contribute to achieving the great rejuvenation of the Chinese people.”
His remarks come amid controversial work to “reconstruct” southwest Sichuan province’s Larung Gar monastery, one of China’s largest Tibetan Buddhist monasteries.
Rights groups said the plans represented an assault on faith. Reuters