Archive for ‘philosophy’

14/03/2019

China Focus: Tibetan Buddhism well respected, preserved: political advisors

BEIJING, March 13 (Xinhua) — Chinese religious figures serving as political advisors at this year’s “two sessions” are pleased with the country’s protection of Tibetan Buddhism in southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region.

Political advisor Lhapa from Jokhang Temple is among the over 2,000 members of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), who gathered in Beijing for this year’s session that started on March 3 and concluded Wednesday.

Jokhang Temple, in downtown Lhasa, the regional capital of Tibet, is a must for visitors to Tibet and a sacred site for Tibetan Buddhists. It attracts about 800,000 tourists and receives over three million Buddhist followers each year.

Built in the 7th century in the Tang Dynasty (618-907), Jokhang Temple is home to plenty of historical relics and typical Tibetan architecture. It was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2000.

The Chinese government has attached great importance to the protection and preservation of the temple, said Lhapa, executive deputy director of the management committee of Jokhang Temple. Five years ago, for example, the government invested over 60 million yuan (8.94 million U.S. dollars) in gilding the five golden roofs of the temple.

The Buddha figures, Thangka and murals in the temple have also been well preserved. To better protect these precious cultural relics, a database for Buddha statues and Thangka in both Mandarin and Tibetan languages, launched in 2015, will be completed next year, he added.

Experts from Beijing and Xi’an have been invited to help build the database. More than 6,000 Buddha statues and over 600 Thangka have been included in the database, according to Lhapa.

“The government has invested 100 million yuan in protecting the cultural relics,” Lhapa said. “I’m really satisfied with the government’s role in protecting the temple, a treasure of the country.”

As a political advisor from the religious circles, Lhapa said he must serve all the people, including tourists, believers and researchers who visit the temple.

“We have personnel working 24/7 in the halls of the temple, including monks, firefighters and police officers to prevent the cultural heritage from being destroyed or stolen, and to ensure tourists’ safety,” Lhapa said.

The monks in Jokhang Temple usually spend about nine hours every day conducting religious activities such as chanting sutra and learning Buddhist doctrine, Lhapa said.

“Anyone who comes to Jokhang Temple will see worshippers crowd the square in front of the main hall throughout the year,” Lhapa said.

Every Tibetan New Year, Jokhang Temple opens for 24 hours to provide convenience for believers and tourists.

“On the Lamp Festival, we have Dharma assembly here and the butter lamps are lit on top of the temple. Believers come to pray for happiness and health,” he said.

Similar to Jokhang Temple, almost all the temples and monasteries in Tibet are under national or regional protection, according to Lhapa.

Living Buddha Drigung Khyungtsang echoed Lhapa’s ideas, saying today’s Tibet observes many traditional folk and religious activities. The Shoton festival at Zhaibung Monastery and the worship activities at Sera Monastery are among the most popular ones.

“Tibetan Buddhists, young and old, would sway their praying wheels and chant sutras when significant activities are launched,” said Drigung Khyungtsang.

As vice chairman of the Tibet branch of the Buddhist Association of China, Drigung Khyungtsang is in charge of the Kangyur printing. The precious wooden templates of the Kangyur have been well preserved and printing is suspended in winter because cold weather may cause damage to the templates.

Political advisor Lodro Gyatso, a senior monk from the Sakya Monastery, the earliest monastery of the Sakya Sect of the Tibetan Buddhism, in Xigaze Prefecture, told Xinhua that the monastery has two Buddhist colleges, offering various classes including Tibetan language, Tibetan calligraphy, Buddhist texts, astronomy, calendrical calculation and philosophy to monks and lamas.

Thanks to a digital archive project launched in 2017 in the monastery, the original sutra books and archives have been preserved while their digital versions are available online.

Living Buddha Jewon Koondhor has a story different from other political advisors. He had spent most of his life outside and returned to his hometown, the city of Qamdo in Tibet, when he was 60 in 2011.

“My hometown Qamdo has changed a lot and is continually improving. The traffic there today is much more convenient. I’m happy to be back,” he said.

Source: Xinhua

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07/03/2019

In sensitive year for China, warnings against ‘erroneous thoughts’

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s ruling Communist Party is ramping up calls for political loyalty in a year of sensitive anniversaries, warning against “erroneous thoughts” as officials fall over themselves to pledge allegiance to President Xi Jinping and his philosophy.

This year is marked by some delicate milestones: 30 years since the bloody crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in and around Tiananmen Square; 60 years since the Dalai Lama fled from Tibet into exile; and finally, on Oct. 1, 70 years since the founding of Communist China.

Born of turmoil and revolution, the Communist Party came to power in 1949 on the back of decades of civil war in which millions died, and has always been on high alert for “luan”, or “chaos”, and valued stability above all else.

“This year is the 70th anniversary of the founding of new China,” Xi told legislators from Inner Mongolia on Tuesday, the opening day of the annual meeting of parliament. “Maintaining sustained, healthy economic development and social stability is a mission that is extremely arduous.”

Xi has tightened the party’s grip on almost every facet of government and life since assuming power in late 2012.

ROOTING OUT DISLOYALTY

The party has increasingly been making rooting out disloyalty and wavering from the party line a disciplinary offence to be enforced by its anti-corruption watchdog, whose role had ostensibly been to go after criminal acts such as bribery and lesser bureaucratic transgressions.

The graft buster said last month it would “uncover political deviation” in its political inspections this year of provincial governments and ministries.

Top graft buster Zhao Leji, in a January speech to the corruption watchdog, a full transcript of which the party released late February, used the word “loyalty” eight times.

“Set an example with your loyalty to the party,” Zhao said.

China has persistently denied its war on corruption is about political manoeuvring or Xi taking down his enemies. Xi told an audience in Seattle in 2015 that the anti-graft fight was no “House of Cards”-style power play, in a reference to the Netflix U.S. political drama.

The deeper fear for the party is some sort of unrest or a domestic or even international event fomenting a crisis that could end its rule.

Xi told officials in January they need to be on high alert for “black swan” events..

That same month the top law-enforcement official said China’s police must focus on withstanding “colour revolutions”, or popular uprisings, and treat the defence of China’s political system as central to their work.

The party has meanwhile shown no interest in political reform, and has been doubling down on the merits of the Communist Party, including this month rolling out English-language propaganda videos on state media-run Twitter accounts to laud “Chinese democracy”. Twitter remains blocked in China.

The official state news agency Xinhua said in an English-language commentary on Sunday that China was determined to stick to its political model and rejected Western-style democracy.
“The country began to learn about democracy a century ago, but soon found Western politics did not work here. Decades of turmoil and civil war followed,” it said.
Source: Reuters
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