China v.s. Tibetan Buddhism
By: C. Oldfield
China’s communist government has had a long-standing, standoffish attitude towards the Buddhist community of Tibet. The government has since demanded total control over all areas of China. Unfortunately for them, the region of Tibet, located in the west of the country, has always been under control both spiritually and politically of the leader of the Buddhist religion, The Dalai Lama. Over 50 years ago the Dalai Lama was forced to flee China to India, after a failed Tibetan Revolt in order to gain independence from China’s oppressive government, where he now resides under threat of arrest.
While in exile, the Dalai Lama, Lhamo Thondup, who is 84 years old now, elected a new Panchen Lama, who would in turn then select the new Dalai Lama after the current one’s death. The Panchen Lama that Lhamo Thondup selected was 6 years old at the time, and 3 days after the Dalai Lama’s selection, the boy and his family were kidnapped. The Panchen Lama, Gedhhum Cheokyi Nyima, has never been seen or heard from again and following his kidnapping, the Chinese Government announced a new Panchen Lama Gyaincain Norbu, who was given the titles of Cheokyi Nyima following his “disappearance”. Gyaincain Norbu, although born in Tibet, moved to Beijing when he was very young and was brought up and educated in Beijing in the “Proper Chinese way”.
In the past 8 years, 150 Tibetans have self-immolated in order to protest the heavy-handed oppression brought upon them by the Chinese government. It is believed by many that should the Chinese government continue in this fashion, then the Buddhist religion may eventually die out. The Dalai Lama himself has stated that he might choose to not reincarnate in order to avoid the power associated with the name Dalai Lama falling into the Chinese Government’s hands.
The Chinese have gone to great lengths in order to desecrate the Buddhist religion whilst also profiting from it. For instance, the Shaolin Monastery, arguably one of the most famous Buddhist monasteries, no longer focuses on the Buddhist spiritual nature of it, but instead it is now completely focused on the art of Kung Fu. This change has happened during the decades of the Chinese government’s control over the temple. The Chinese government had even boarded off the incense burners that were intended to aid in meditation. Few monks if any at the monastery are involved spiritually with the Buddhist faith, most are simply practitioners of Kung Fu, whose job is to entertain and teach visitors for a price. This corruption of the ancient faith is blamed entirely by most experts on the oppressive stance the Chinese government has taken towards Buddhism in the country.
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