Jun 03, 2011

Tibet: Saka Dawa Nyung Ne Prohibited at Drepung Monastery

The Chinese government continues to prohibit Tibetan religious ritual and sends local and national police to monasteries to enforce the ban.

Below is an article published by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy:

According to reliable information received by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), the Chinese Government stopped and prohibited the usual practice of observing Nyung Ne (fasting) during the important Buddhist month of Saka Dawa. Saka Dawa is one of the most significant Buddhist months of ritual. The full moon day of Saka Dawa commemorates Lord Buddha's birth, enlightenment, and parinirvana (death). The celebrations usually last the whole fourth Tibetan month (usually May or June).

Drepung Monastery observes Nyung Ne practice during Saka Dawa for fifteen days from the 1st to the 15th day of the fourth Tibetan month. During this time, monks, nuns and lay people participate in the fasting however, since 2008 Uprising, the Chinese Government put a stop to this practice. This year [2011] Drepung Monastery repeatedly appealed to the Chinese Government to allow them permission to continue with the practice which was accepted by.

Therefore, as of 30th May, people started flocking to the monastery and the monastery also got busy preparing for the festival and the prayer sessions. In the meantime, however, a group of Chinese Work Team and the Drepung Monastery’s police arrived at the Ham-dong team (Kham-tsen) and they were ordered to immediately stop all preparations for the Nyung Ne. All the people were notified to return to their homes majority of who were elderly people who had made arduous journey for the festival.

Fearing possible protests, the People’s Armed Police and the Drepung Monastery police were stationed around the monastery to intimidate the locals, the monks and nuns who were present there.

Under the leadership of the "TAR" government Vice chairman, "TAR" government National People’s Congress, Vice Chairman and TAR CPPCC Vice Chairman, approximately 60 officials are stationed in the monastery to conduct "Legal Education". Additionally, a force of People Armed Police (PAP) is also posted inside the monastery as Fire Man to monitor the monks.

The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) is appalled at the level of intrusion into the religious life of the Tibetan people and the blatant disregard to Tibetan people’s right to freedom of religion and expression and calls on the Chinese government to immediately revert this outrageous procedure.