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Buddhism dignitary urges Tibetan monks to restudy doctrines
2008/03/29

    BEIJING, March 28 (Xinhua) -- "The monks who participated in the recent Lhasa riot should go back to the monasteries and restudy the doctrines of Buddhism," Phallop Thaiarry, secretary-general of the World Fellowship of Buddhists, said here on Friday.

    In an exclusive interview with Xinhua, Thaiarry expressed his regret over the participation of Tibetan monks in the March 14 violence.

    "Buddha taught us to show respect for people, live in harmony and conduct no violence," he said. "But I learnt from the media that some people in monk gowns smashed property, hurt people and burned buildings, which is not in conformity with the Buddhist commandments."

    He believed "the majority of Tibetan monks strictly followed Buddhist doctrines, and only a few misunderstood and misused their identity during the riot."

    "The responsibility of monks is to disseminate Buddhism, not to take part in political activities," he added.

    Thaiarry said he had never been to Tibet, but he learnt from his Tibetan friends that the living standards of the autonomous region in southwest China had greatly improved and locals were guaranteed religious freedom.

    "As far as I know, Tibet is much more developed and the people are living a better life than before. Religious belief there is respected and religious activities are free and open," Thaiarry said.

    He praised the First World Buddhist Forum held in 2006 in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, saying it was the best evidence to prove the Chinese government's support for religious freedom.

    "The large-scale forum could not be such a great success without government support," he said, adding other religious people enjoyed the same freedom as Buddhists in China.

    Thaiarry was very impressed by the government's stance over theriot.

    Chinese leaders said the door for dialogue was still open for the 14th Dalai Lama so long as he quitted his secessionist activities seeking "Tibet Independence", and in acknowledging Tibet and Taiwan as inalienable parts of Chinese territory.

    "I admire this decision by the Chinese leaders," Thaiarry said. "The government is seeking every possible means to carry out peaceful talks."

    He said he noticed the Chinese army exercised constraint and did not hurt any civilians during the riot. "Respect, peace and non-violence are not only the basic doctrines of Buddhism, but also engines that push forward a country's democracy."

    He insisted a nation would enjoy a peaceful development if the people solved misunderstanding in a peaceful method and stick to non-violent ways.

    Based on his own judgement, Thaiarry said the recent Lhasa riot might have been supported by some foreign organizations and cliques.

    "Some people are trying to create unnecessary or unpleasant things to obstacle the forthcoming Beijing Olympic Games," he said.

    "The Olympic Games is an important event to promote world peace, and Buddhists across the world are looking forward to the event."

    The World Fellowship of Buddhists, founded in 1950 in Sri Lanka, marked the joint efforts of all Buddhism sects worldwide to promote the religion.

    "Our organization has long believed that Tibet and Taiwan are inalienable parts of China since ancient times," Thaiarry said.

    "We believe China, as a fast-developing country, is fully capable of internally resolving the issues of Tibet and Taiwan," he said.

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