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Monk decries extremism in Tibetan Buddhism


11:42, October 18, 2011

A living buddha on Monday denounced a recent chain of self-immolation attempts by monks from a monastery in southwest China's Sichuan Province, saying such extremism is detrimental to the development of Tibetan Buddhism.

In the latest suicide attempt, a man set himself on fire at midday on Saturday near a market in Aba County of Aba Tibetan-Qiang Autonomous Prefecture. Police extinguished the flames and sent him to the county hospital for treatment.

The 20-year-old man had previously been a monk at Kirti Monastery in Aba before returning to secular life in 2009.

"Tibetan Buddhism stresses benevolence and caring, and is a complete system of faith and sublime values as a result of its opposition to blind superstition," said Living Buddha Gyalton, vice president of the Sichuan Provincial Buddhist Association.

The senior monk said suicide is a severe deviation from the tenets of Buddhism and self-mutilation for any reason is against human nature.

"The recent chain of self-immolation attempts by monks has triggered public bewilderment and repulsion, causing the public to gradually lose faith," he said.

If a small group of extremists continue to politicize religion and neglect the commandments of Buddhism, they risk destroying Tibetan Buddhism in modern society, Gyalton warned.

Living Buddha Dadrak of Zogye County in Aba Prefecture called on monks to cherish their lives.

"It's an important lesson for monks to be active and optimistic," he said. "To end the present life through self-immolation only brings endless bitterness."

Several self-immolation attempts were reported in Aba County this year, all by current or former monks of Kirti Monastery.

On Oct. 7, two Tibetans, aged 18 and 20, sustained minor injuries after setting themselves on fire in Aba County. Both were former monks at Kirti Monastery and were dressed in civilian clothes when they made the self-immolation attempts, said a county government spokesman.

Local police in Aba stopped a self-immolation attempt on Oct. 3, and the Tibetan man survived despite injuries to his left leg.

In September, two monks were rescued from a self-immolation attempt and received timely treatment.

In August, two monks of the Kirti Monastery were sentenced to 13 and 10 years in jail, respectively, for plotting, instigating and assisting in the self-immolation of fellow monk Rigzin Phuntsog, who set himself on fire on March 16 and died the following day.


Leave your comment2 comments

  1. Name

george at 2011-10-2096.55.15.*
Maybe the disturbances in Tibet are triggered by US policies toward China.
Buddhist tenets at 2011-10-18221.127.171.*
Suicide is explicitly forbidden in Buddhism. Those committing suicide or encourage such acts, are clearly breaking the tenets of Buddhism. Is Dolly the Llama the instigator behind the scene hoping to score browny points thereby?

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