Modernization, a double-edged sword for Tibetan Buddhist monasteries

13:49, March 12, 2011      

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In the past five years, spending every day chanting sutras and accompanying an old abbot in a small monastery has made Losang Samdan feel lonely.

Fortunately, a portable DVD player that supports cable TV functions and a mobile phone has enabled the 40-year-old Tibetan Buddhist monk to keep updated with the ever-changing world.

"TV news said that Beijing had the latest winter snowfall in the past 60 years, is that true?" Losang raised the question in the interview, after hearing that a Xinhua reporter had come from Beijing.

The Chorten Ki Temple, Losang's home, is perched halfway up a mountain in northwest China's Qinghai Province, which has the second largest Tibetan community in China.

Although the knowledgeable monk was delighted to communicate with visitors from the outside world, such opportunities were scarce in a monastery that had only two monks.

Unlike the remote Chorten Ki Monastery, the Taer Monastery, located 20 kms from the provincial capital of Xining City, always sees a massive influx of tourists and pilgrims during the whole year.

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