Greed taint­ing Ti­betan Bud­dhism, says Panchen lama

New Straits Times - - World -

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

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