(TibetanReview.net, Nov09, 2016) – Chinese authorities overseeing the destruction of residences of student monks and nuns and carrying out their expulsion at the famed Larung Gar Buddhist Academy in Serta (Chinese: Seda) County of Sichuan Province have cancelled an upcoming annual religious assembly, reported the Tibetan Service of Radio Free Asia (Washington) Nov 7. The monastic centre has been forbidden from holding any public gathering, forcing its remaining monks and nuns to pray privately in their rooms.
The eight-day religious festival, known as Dechen Shingdrub (Accomplishing the Pure Land of Great Bliss), begins each year on the 18th day of the ninth month of the Tibetan Calendar, which this year falls on Nov 17.
One of the main features of the festival 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 especially gather for the occasion, the report cited a local source as saying, speaking on condition of anonymity.
It was also reported to be customary at this religious gathering to acknowledge Tibetan community members known for outstanding service in preserving the Tibetan language and culture. Laypeople are reported to be given lectures on ways to live a happy and meaningful life.
Accumulation of public recitations of the mantra of the Buddha Amitabha is also held during the annual gathering.
But with the religious gathering being forbidden this year, monks and nuns were reported to have begun carrying out this practice in the privacy of their rooms.