(TibetanReview.net, Aug10, 2016) – A Tibetan nun has committed suicide on Jul 20, unable to bear the pain of seeing her Buddhist study centre, perhaps the world’s largest, located in Serta (Chinese: Seda) County of Sichuan Province, being subjected to massive demolition by the Chinese government, reported the Tibetan Service of Radio Free Asia (Washington) Aug 8. The nun, Rinzin Dolma, hanged herself because she could not bear to see the government-ordered demolition of the Larung Gar Buddhist Academy, the report cited a local source as saying.
“Rinzin Dolma was from the Dege region (of Karze Prefecture, Sichuan Province), and she was studying at the complex as a regular student,” the source was quoted as saying. “She left a note behind in which she wrote about how she could not bear the pain of the endless Chinese harassment of innocent Buddhists who quietly studied at the institute.”
The nun was also reported to have left some money with a note requesting that it be handed over to the institute.
News of the suicide took time to reach the outside world due to China’s strict control on communication channels in the area.
The demolition, said to have been ordered from Beijing with President Xi Jinping reportedly taking a special interest in it, is designed to reduce the sprawling complex by about half and to trim its student population to a maximum of 5,000. Around 2,000 dwellings of monks and nuns are to be pulled down this year, with more to follow next year.
Besides Tibetans, the institute has students from China as well as other countries. The ecumenical institute for the study of Tibetan Buddhism was founded in 1980 by the late religious teacher Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok with support from the previous Panchen Rinpoche.
Although monastic leaders have advised the residents not to protest against the demolition, given China’s dire warnings, armed security forces have been stationed at the work site and in nearby counties as a precautionary measure.