Dharamshala — Authorities overseeing the destruction of Larung Gar Buddhist Academy have apparently canceled an annual religious assembly, forbidding public gatherings and leaving the center’s remaining monks and nuns to pray privately in their rooms, according to several sources.
The eight-day festival called Dechen Shingdrup, or Accomplishing the Pure Land of Great Bliss, begins each year on the 18th day of the ninth month of the Tibetan Lunar Calendar. That date falls this year on November 17.
“One of the main features of these assemblies is that senior religious instructors, reincarnate lamas, and other highly learned monks give religious sermons for three to four days to several thousand people who have gathered especially for the event,” a source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Usually as a part of the event, public recitations of the mantra of the Buddha Amitabha are also held. “But this year China has said this annual gathering may not take place, and instead the monks and nuns have begun to practice privately in their rooms. Meanwhile, the eviction of monks and nuns from Larung Gar continues,” the source said.
Speaking separately, a second local source confirmed the gathering had been canceled.
"First the Chinese government began to demolish the residences of the monks and nuns, and then it started to evict them," the source said, also speaking on condition of anonymity. "Now they have imposed a ban on the Dechen Shingdrup. These Chinese actions have disrupted the learning of the monks and nuns, and now they can't focus on their studies."
Over 1000 monks and nuns have already been expelled from Larung Gar since August of this year, and dwellings continue to be destroyed, as the demolition order states 'final population of 5,000 can include no more than 1,000 people from other provinces and their respective names will be recorded and registered separately. Out of the total 5000 residents, 3500 will be monks and nuns at Larung Gar monastery and the remaining will be students at the institute.'
The Chinese authorities have been conducting intense and rigorous "Patriotic re-education" campaign in religious institutions in all parts of Tibet since 2008, forcing monks and nuns to sign the official documents to denounce His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Tibet was invaded by Communist China in 1949. Since that time, over 1.2 million out of 6 million Tibetans have been killed, over 6000 monasteries have been destroyed— the acts of murder, rape and arbitrary imprisonment, torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment were inflicted on the Tibetans inside Tibet, Beijing calls a "peaceful liberation".