CHINA / National

Mayor blames Dalai Lama for conflict
(China Daily)
Updated: 2006-05-11 06:28

LHASA: Lhasa Mayor Norbu Dunzhub on Tuesday accused the Dalai Lama of masterminding religious conflict in Gandain Monastery near Lhasa, saying it was "another attempt to sabotage the unity of Tibet."

Seventeen lamas burst into a chapel in Gandain Monastery on March 14 and tore down two clay statues of protective deities, claiming they were "evil spirits," and began fighting with six worshippers at the scene.

The destruction was a criminal act and a violation of the Regulations of Religious Affairs, said Norbu, adding the local authorities had taken legal actions against the perpetrators.

"It is by no means an isolated and accidental event," he said.

"At face value, it is an internal affair within a monastery, but on a fundamental level, it was provoked by the Dalai clique whose purpose is to arouse conflict between different sects of Tibetan Buddism, thus sabotaging the unity of Tibet," said the mayor.

The exiled Dalai Lama has on several occasions denounced one of the deities, Dorje Shugden, a god worshipped by a sect of Buddhists.

In the 1970s, he warned his followers not to worship Shugden because it was detrimental to his spiritual health and to the cause of the Tibetan people.

In 1996, he imposed bans on the deity's worship at two Buddhist ceremonies. Early this year, the Dalai Lama ordered his followers to pressure or verbally attack lamas of Gandain and Sera monasteries whom he believed were still worshipping the deity against his orders.

"What the Dalai Lama has done violates the religious freedom of believers," said Zhang Qingli, acting secretary of the Tibet Autonomous Regional Committee of the Communist Party of China.

Lamas in the Sera Monastery have defended the deity by saying it has existed and been worshipped for a long period in the history of Tibetan Buddhism, and the statue's destruction violated Buddhist teachings.

Conflict among different sects should be resolved peacefully, and the incident at Gandain Monastery was shameful for Tibetan Buddhism, said a lama from the monastery who declined to give his name.

The incident showed the pro-independence policy of the Dalai clique had changed little, said Norbu.

(China Daily 05/11/2006 page2)