Self-immolation truth: Tibetan Buddhism kidnapped by politics

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, July 19, 2012
Adjust font size:


At noon every Saturday, Sangpo Dondrup said he would walk around the nearby pagoda of Padmasambhava who established Buddhism in Tibet in the eighth century to pray.


A young Tibetan monk practising writing. [File photo] 

Unwilling to make do with a vocational school, he said he would consider restudying the third year if he failed the entrance exam for senior high schools. "My goal is college," said he.

Xu Kaiwen, who holds a PhD in clinical psychology from Beijing University, has been involved in suicide intervention for more than 10 years. He said that individual suicides can be contagious. When someone with public influence, such as the Tibetan clergy who are supposed to enlighten the average public to be free from all sufferings, were involved, the demonstration effect will be undoubtedly stronger.

"Teenagers aged 18-22 and the stressed are the most prone to copycat suicides as they are impulsive and lack self-control. Whether they spread mainly hinges upon the public explanation of suicidal behaviors. If suicides are hailed as martyrs or heroes, it can easily cause others, especially teenagers, to follow suit," said Xu.

To ward off the potential harms of clergy self-immolation to young Tibetans whose formidable ages are spent in a religious climate unparalleled anywhere else in China, the Education Bureau of Sertar County added a course on Life in all schools the following month.

"The objective of this course is to teach students to cherish their lives. Everyone here knows that Buddha Sakyamuni spent his whole life exhorting people to refrain from killing others and committing suicides, we can' t afford to have this young generation misled," said Chen Hu, chief of the Sertar Education Bureau.

The worry of parents and teaching faculty spreads, however, on the heels of Tibetan clergy who set themselves on fire. On March 30, in front of a downtown telecommunication outlet in Tuanjie Road of Barkam, the capital of Aba prefecture, Chimed Palden and Nganlam, both from the Caodeng Monastery of Gelug sect, burned themselves while hundreds of students of the nearby primary and junior high schools were on their way home during lunch break.

Li Yong, a teacher of the Barkam No. 2 Primary School, said some students dared not to return to school that afternoon as the sight was too shocking.

"Students are panicky. I keep telling them neither to imitate those monks nor to join the crowd to watch if anything similar happens on their way home or to school," said Li.

As self-immolation cases often attracted crowds which sometimes could turn chaotic, Tseten Serjig, whose child is among those who witnessed the burnings, said that she was very concerned about the safety of children and hoped the school authorities would strengthen student protection and escort students home.


   Previous   1   2   3   4   5   6   Next  

Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from