In a recent case of religious persecution, Chinese police in eastern Tibet unexpectedly stopped a Tibetan religious gathering that had been sanctioned by the government. Additionally, they imprisoned the event’s organizers, scattered the worshippers, and prematurely demolished a holy sand mandala. This is the second time this month that Tibetan spiritual authorities have been prevented from imparting Kalachakra teachings. Concerns regarding the Chinese government’s repression of Tibetan Buddhism and its teachings have been expressed among Tibetans and observers as a result of the crackdown.
The First Incident: the postponed Kalachakra teaching by Gungthang Rinpoche
The 7th Gungthang Rinpoche Lobsang Jamyang Geleg Tenpe Khenchen was set to offer a Kalachakra instruction in Tsoe, Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, but the Chinese authorities called off the event earlier this month. In Tibetan Buddhism, the Kalachakra is a holy occasion, and only a select group of duly trained teachers, such as the Dalai Lama, are permitted to impart such lessons. The authorities abruptly cancelled the event despite organizers having obtained prior authorization, citing the 70th anniversary of the establishment of Kanlho prefecture.
The Second Incident: Kalachakra disruption in Gumong
Recently, authorities also intervened to stop a big religious assembly in Samey-shi Village, Gumong Town, Mongra County, Tsolho Tibet Autonomous Prefecture. Although He was compelled to leave the event, His Eminence the 7th Athi Kalsang Tashi Gyatso was scheduled to lecture on the Kalachakra. Thousands of followers had gathered for the occasion, which was scheduled to run till July 23. The sand mandala, a key component of the Kalachakra teachings, was prematurely destroyed as a result of the police measures, which also scattered the worshipers.
Tibetan Lamaism Suppression by China
These episodes show the Chinese government’s persistent attempts to stifle Tibetan Lamaism and its spiritual leaders. The authorities have tightened their controls on religious instructors and destroyed Tibetan holy places recently, which has caused great mental hardship and profound grief among the devout.
For Tibetan followers, the disruption of the Kalachakra teachings has had far-reaching effects. The event was especially unsettling for old farmers and nomads who had journeyed from far-off places. Not only have the cancellations led to mental misery, but they have also cost money. The pilgrims’ tents and amenities were taken down, and the land rentals were not repaid.