Chinese authorities in the Ngari region of Tibet held back protesting local Tibetans and proceeded to blow up a Buddhist statue with explosives. And last May, a very large statue of Padmasambhava, the 8th
century Indian saint who is credited with having helped introduce Buddhism to Tibet was likewise dynamited at Samye, Tibet’s oldest monastery. Incidences like these, along with the renewed start of ‘re-education’ programs being carried out throughout various institutions in Tibet are becoming stark reminders of the ‘cultural revolution’ years when the wholesale destruction and looting of thousands of monasteries and temples was carried out. Within a span of a few years, a thousand years worth of architecture, books and art was destroyed, and millions of priceless religious statues were carried out of Tibet in endless truck convoys. The vast majority of these statues ended up in smelting plants throughout China after their precious gems were removed, with the historically significant statues shipped to giant warehouses in Beijing.
Kunleng TV explores the similarities between the recent attacks against religion and religious statues and those during the ‘cultural revolution’. Katho Rinpoche, who served 3 years of solitary confinement and torture for being a lama when he was 16 years old, and who subsequently witnessed the fate of many religious statuary during the cultural revolution, and the editor of Tibet Times in Dharamsala will be our guests on the show.
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