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New Shugden image reigns as ancient statues stolen from monastery

TibetanReview.net,Jan 23,2008

Twelve statues of Buddhist deities have gone missing while an image of the controversial Dorje Shugden spirit has been prominently installed as a result of Chinese government interference at the ancient Pashoe Naira monastery in Pashoe (Chinese: Basu) County of Chamdo Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous region, said a Radio Free Asia (RFA, Washington, DC) report Jan 15. “Even one of the smaller statues is valued about one million yuan (US $137,690) on the international market,” it quoted a Tibetan source as saying.

An official at the monastery has said the statues, including the main one of Je Tsongkhapa, had been missing since the night of Nov 23. The report said only sub-county officials had access to the statues, which perhaps explains why they reportedly refused to investigate even when the theft was reported by local Tibetans. They have simply dismissed the incident by saying the statues would be eventually found.

The monastery, located about 300 kms (186 miles) from the prefectural capital, had 21 monks till about 1998, when authorities forced them out after they refused to install a statue of the controversial Dorje Shugden spirit whose worship is discouraged by the Dalai Lama. The authorities then appointed eight other monks of their own choice at the monastery and got the new statue installed, the report said. The monastery had no previously history of worshipping Shugden, the report added.

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