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Living Buddha: Religious Activities Revive in Tibetan Monasteries

June 24, 2008

Special report: Tibet: Its Past and Present  (People's Republic of China)
June 22, 2008

LHASA, June 22 (Xinhua) -- Religious activities has been revived in
monasteries across Tibet, a living Buddha said on Sunday.

"The religious activities were interrupted by riot in March, but they
all have been resumed as the whole region has come into peace," said
Dadrak Tenzin Gelek, a living Buddha and vice president of the
Tibetan branch of the Buddhist Association of China, when answering a
foreign reporter in Lhasa.

Monasteries including the Sera monastery and Zhaibung Monastery had
held religious events to pray for the peace of the world and the
success of the Beijing Olympics earlier.

The lamas and Lamaism believers had also prayed for the people hit by
the earthquake in Sichuan Province. As of June, the Tibetan religious
circle had donated more than 1,117,000 yuan (nearly 162,000 U.S.
dollars) for the quake-hit areas.

The most important religious festival Sakadawa Festival, the
anniversary of the Buddha's birth, enlightenment and death, began on
June 4 and lasts one month, Dadrak Tenzin Gelek said.

The religious event had been normalized during the festival, he said.

"The Chinese Government had carried out series of favourable policies
for lamas here. We can also do tax-free businesses besides our
religious activities. All the ticket income belongs to the
monasteries," the living Buddha said.

The average annual income of the lamas in Zhaibung Monastery was more
than 30,000 yuan (about 4,300 U.S. dollars) while ordinary herdsmen
in Tibet earnt 2,788 yuan, he said.

Lamas enjoy free medical care and can get reimbursement of medical
fees at their own monasteries.

A party of foreign reporters had been exempted from the ban on
reporters and foreigners in Tibet, to cover the Olympic torch relay
on Friday. They will all have left on Sunday.
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