Author Topic: Modernization and religion in harmony  (Read 4351 times)

WisdomBeing

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Modernization and religion in harmony
« on: July 16, 2012, 08:40:51 AM »
I thought this article was interesting in that China is investing a lot into restoring the monastic heritage of Tibet and giving the Sangha social welfare and benefits. Yes, the cynically minded may say that this is just China’s PR or a way to assimilate the Tibetans into the Chinese community but I think that it’s a fact of life that Tibet is now a part of China. Independence will never happen. Even the Dalai Lama has said that he is simply seeking autonomy and not independence.

I love it that China is undertaking the restoration of temples and providing support for the Sangha. The magnificent Tashi Lhunpo, which is mentioned to be under renovation in the article below, has a huge Dorje Shugden temple (http://dorjeshugden.com/wp/?p=10969), so together with the restoration of other temples, i can see that Dorje Shugden’s practice will proliferate in China in a big way very soon!



Modernization and religion in harmony
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/life/2012-07/16/content_15584061.htm
Updated: 2012-07-16 09:53
By Liu Xiangrui and Dachiong in Lhasa (China Daily)

While modernization and traditional culture exist in harmony in Tibet autonomous region, religion and secular groups are also thriving.

Monasteries play a critical role in Tibet where Buddhism and other religions wield a strong influence over the masses.

Nearly 90 percent of the region's 3 million people, mostly ethnic Tibetans, are devout Buddhists.

In Tibet autonomous region there are nearly 1,700 Buddhist sites and more than 46,000 Tibetan Buddhist monks.

To better serve and manage the monasteries, the local government has started a number of practical projects to benefit monasteries, according to Soinamrigdzin, vice-chief of the Tibet autonomous region's United Front Department.

The government plans to invest more than 1 billion yuan ($157 million) to improve the infrastructure of monasteries. The projects, which will be completed in 2014, include supplying water, electricity, TVs and libraries to monasteries and improving the traffic.

The funds are allocated by governments at various levels. Even monasteries in remote areas are included, though water projects and traffic enhancements are tougher to implement.

Equally significant for monks and nuns is the social security system newly introduced to monasteries, such as an old-age pension, medical insurance, and a minimum living allowance.

About 93 percent of the region's clergy have accepted medical insurance; while more than 4,700 monks and nuns now have minimum living allowances; and about 1,900 monks and nuns, age above 60, have claimed a basic pension of 120 yuan per month, starting January.

"The pension is meaningful for those monks and nuns in remote areas, who earn just several hundred yuan a year," Soinamrigdzin says.

Also, since 2011, 480 libraries have been built in monasteries.

In five years, the nation will pour 1.7 billion yuan into the protection of Tibet's rich cultural heritage, a large portion of which will go to the protection of monasteries.

Renovation of Lhasa's Johkang Temple has been completed, while Xigaze's Tashilhunpo Monastery is among eight other monasteries whose repairs are underway.

"Monasteries are important carriers of Tibet's culture. They are also places for religious people to pursue their beliefs, inherit culture and satisfy believers' needs, and they shouldn't be a factor of instability in Tibet," Soinamrigdzin says.

"The management work of Tibetan Buddhism is a long-term and complicated job, and we must have enough patience while respecting its own traditions."
Kate Walker - a wannabe wisdom Being

michaela

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Re: Modernization and religion in harmony
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2012, 02:41:27 PM »
I think Chinese effort in rebuilding the monasteries in Tibet is a form of good will.  Of course they may want to protect their rich cultural heritage and encourage tourism at the same time, however, with this positive development, the Tibetans will start to look into the future positively. 

What is the use now to fight and burn oneself for independence?  Leaving the past and cultural revolution behind, what is it that the independence fighters looking for?  Freedom of religion?  Better human rights?  It appears that the Chinese government is doing better than CTA who enforce faith based discrimination. 

The Chinese has been very smart.  They know that religious oppressions are the thing of the past.  They know that the way to the Tibetans’ heart is to rebuild their cultural heritage and let them practice religion.  The Chinese government may or may not agree with Buddhist doctrines, but at least they learn to appreciate it.

vajratruth

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Re: Modernization and religion in harmony
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2012, 09:50:23 AM »
There is no doubt that China is using all endeavors to provide a benefit for the people of Tibet. Since China's occupation of Tibet, the country has progressed greatly in terms of technology, infrastructure and economy. In addition, the people of Tibet themselves have gained tremendously. Today, most of the farmers and herdsmen in Tibet have no problems with food and housing and some have even accumulated personal wealth.

Before 1959, 95% of young and middle-aged Tibetans were illiterate and less than 2% of school-age children attended school. By the end of 2003, Tibet had over 1000 schools and over 2000 teaching centres with a total of 453,400 students that represents 91% of school-age children.

Infant mortality rate dropped from 43% before 1959 to 3% today. In addition the average Tibetan is guaranteed full rights as citizens, INCLUDING RIGHTS TO EXERCISE THEIR RELIGIOUS BELIEF.

While CTA is still protesting China's annexation of Tibet claiming injustice and persecution of its people, I cannot help but wonder if Tibet and Tibetans aren't better off in Chinese hands.

For sure, the Tibetans under Chinese rule are free to practice their religion without fear of retribution. They are entitled to education and medical and assured of protection that the law affords all citizens.

Contrast this with the Tibetans before 1959 under the Feudal system [ See: 
Feudal Tibet Small | Large
]

and Tibetans supposedly under the care and government of the CTA today. Firstly, not only is the CTA doing less for the exiled Tibetans, it is also doing more harm to those who practice Dorje Shugden [ See :
The situation for Dorje Shugden practitioners due to the Dalai Lamas words
]

Are Dorje Shugden practitioners not considered citizens? Are they even considered human beings by the CTA?

I have very little sympathy for the CTA. They totally lack credibility and if they are serious about even regaining Tibet with the support of the nations and people of the world, they must first proof that they will be able to care for the Tibetans better than the Chinese are doing now.  But first the CTA has to overcome the lack of trust they have created by not upholding their own  Constitution that "guarantees" religious freedom to all Tibetans. How the CTA deal with the Dorje Shugden ban will be the key to their sincerity.




Ensapa

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Re: Modernization and religion in harmony
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2012, 10:20:38 AM »
This is great news indeed! China is getting serious about the practice of Buddhism in China as they do know that religion now plays an important role after being plagued by decades of moral decay. China has realized that having no religion brings about a lot of social ills that cannot be remedied by using ordinary laws alone as the people of china at this time and age lack the basic rules are what every person should actually have. In other words, they forget what is it to be human and all the basic things that come with it, such as respecting the elderly, helping people who are in need and so on. These basic human values are basically gone from the minds and hearts of the Chinese due to many decades of materialism and surpression of religion. They have become wild savages that could not care less about others. We often hear stories on how some Chinese people act in very barbaric ways such as beating up old people and ignoring people who are in need of help....all of these could have been prevented. In some ways, it is too late as this culture is already deeply embedded in the minds of the people, but Buddhism can help remedy and relief this situation.

The Chinese government is actually well aware of the situation. They are also well aware that they have problems understanding the needs of the Tibetans and that they are quite difficult to control. that is why in most areas, the Tibetans are allowed to practice Buddhism freely except that they have to follow the rules of not having Dalai Lama's reference and picture within the compound and that they need to get permissions and permits before building huge statues. This is why the Chinese government is repairing all of those old temples in Tibet and studying Tibetan Buddhism seriously. Already, they have the 11th Panchen Lama, trained in the traditional methods leading Buddhist conferences and they have the 10th Panchen Lama's daughter, Renji by their side also. The support they give to the sangha will help the government generate merits for the growth of the Dharma in China as well as Tibet.

I do rejoice in China's efforts to care about the Dharma and bringing to the masses.

Tenzin Malgyur

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Re: Modernization and religion in harmony
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2012, 12:29:31 PM »
I rejoice for the people of Tibet that the China government is spending lots money to restore monasteries and temples in the region. What more, the sanghas are also receiving social welfare and benefits. The article states that there are more than 1700 Buddhist sites and 46000 Tibetan Buddhist monks in the Tibet autonomous region! The best news is the Tibetans are free to practice the religion of their choice. I guess the China government is doing all this to promote harmony among all it's citizens. After all, what is the point of having an independent country if there is no religious freedom for its people?

samayakeeper

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Re: Modernization and religion in harmony
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2012, 06:44:32 AM »
I think the Chinese government is doing a good job in Tibet to benefit the people in spiritual and secular matters. The restoration of run down monasteries and shrines, allowing the people to build new temples, allowing Tibetans to freely going about doing their spiritual and religious practices. Yes, religious freedom. Horror be if the CTA had be the government.

Modern buildings, amenities, public transport, IT, music, food, entertainment, education, health care, etc have vastly improved and is bringing huge benefits to Tibetans, young and old.

I saw all these with my own eyes a few years back when I visited Lhasa.

Even though Lhasa has much more religious freedom than in Dharamsala pertaining to the practice of Dorje Shugden, it was during daytime when I visited the historical Trode Khangsar temple built by The Great Fifth,

(http://www.dorjeshugdenhistory.org/trode-khangsar.html)

and I was careful to check that I was not followed as I made my way there. Better to be safe than sorry.




Line drawing of Dorje Shugden


diamond girl

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Re: Modernization and religion in harmony
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2012, 08:04:20 AM »
Any news from China about what they plan to do about Tibet and Tibetan related matters does not surprise me. In fact anything China wants to do does not surprise me a bit. I do not mean this in an extremely positive way nor extremely negative but more like a matter of fact in life. China is rich and powerful. Many other nations, even the US does not want to "offend" them. For now at least, China is like "untouchable".

Many things in the past done in China I do not agree nor accept like the lack of human rights - one baby policy, to name one. Also the aggressive attack on Tibet decades ago I also do not like BUT I do see now that only China can bring Tibet somewhere.

I rejoice that China will invest into the monasteries. This will definitely preserve the religion with places of worship and also where monks can continue to live in better conditions. I have many friends in Beijing and it is always interesting to hear the sentiment behind Tibet. They love the Tibetan culture and rich heritage, and I do not experience that they are saying this out of shallow ignorance but  deep appreciation and compassion. Of course most of my friends are in the arts and culture scene. Therefore, Tibet is now seen and promoted like a national cultural treasure and the aspect of religion is not the emphasis although they do not deny it part of the Tibetan culture. The point is culture and not religion.

We must not forget that such preservation efforts must be publicized in order to counter the news of monks setting themselves on fire in protest against the China government.

For whatever are the "real" intentions of this Tibet focus in China, I am just happy that Tibetan monasteries will be preserved, Buddhism has a place in China and Dorje Shugden can bless many Chinese (they need it).

Ensapa

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Re: Modernization and religion in harmony
« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2012, 07:31:22 AM »
Any news from China about what they plan to do about Tibet and Tibetan related matters does not surprise me. In fact anything China wants to do does not surprise me a bit. I do not mean this in an extremely positive way nor extremely negative but more like a matter of fact in life. China is rich and powerful. Many other nations, even the US does not want to "offend" them. For now at least, China is like "untouchable".
China is powerful due to the sheer number of people there and also the amount of scientists and strong willed individuals that exist there as well. If Dorje Shugden takes off in China, what is most likely to happen is that the practice will grow and explode in China and there will be more Dorje Shugden practitioners from there as compared to anywhere else at all. Many Buddhists in the world are already Chinese to start with.

Many things in the past done in China I do not agree nor accept like the lack of human rights - one baby policy, to name one. Also the aggressive attack on Tibet decades ago I also do not like BUT I do see now that only China can bring Tibet somewhere.
China is a nation that learns from its mistakes and can change. It put a stop to the footbinding practice after it was deemed not necessary or beneficial anymore. It put a stop to the practice of sacrifices during a funeral when it was seen as cruel and unnecessary. China can learn and evolve over time so for sure they can change and modify their repressive qualities over time.

I rejoice that China will invest into the monasteries. This will definitely preserve the religion with places of worship and also where monks can continue to live in better conditions. I have many friends in Beijing and it is always interesting to hear the sentiment behind Tibet. They love the Tibetan culture and rich heritage, and I do not experience that they are saying this out of shallow ignorance but  deep appreciation and compassion. Of course most of my friends are in the arts and culture scene. Therefore, Tibet is now seen and promoted like a national cultural treasure and the aspect of religion is not the emphasis although they do not deny it part of the Tibetan culture. The point is culture and not religion.
China has always been a stronghold for Buddhism since the Tang dynasty and it is due to  mistake in direction that they decided to be rid of religion and be cruel and uncaring to the people, but it has since learnt the error of their ways and are now trying as much as possible to actually repair the damage that they have caused over the years. They should be applauded for their efforts.

We must not forget that such preservation efforts must be publicized in order to counter the news of monks setting themselves on fire in protest against the China government.

For whatever are the "real" intentions of this Tibet focus in China, I am just happy that Tibetan monasteries will be preserved, Buddhism has a place in China and Dorje Shugden can bless many Chinese (they need it).
No matter how you want to see it, China will still be promoting Buddhism even if their intentions are not exactly "good" per se, but the positive effect it brings about to the Chinese people cannot be denied, especially now that they realize that more than ever, they need religion and they were wrong.

No matter how you want to see it, China has nothing to lose by being a Buddhist country, but has everything to gain from it, whether or not it is from a materialistic side or for its citizens to be those with a heart and not just with money and materialistic items in their hearts, or for superficial purposes such as wanting to appeal the world, it still brings about a positive effect to its citizens, whose morals and humanity has decayed severely as a result of the cultural revolution. China needs to heal spiritually, and Dorje Shugden is the perfect doctor.

Big Uncle

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Re: Modernization and religion in harmony
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2012, 11:22:29 AM »
I believe the Chinese development in the monasteries and the Sangha is a beneficial one. Yes, the great Tulkus, Geshes and masters are not in the monasteries anymore but what the Chinese does will preserve the physical Buddhist heritage for the world to see. It will be commercial to some but it will provide a tangible link for world-wide practitioners with these old monastic institutions.

These institutions will be living physical proof of Dharma and these will inspire and plant seeds in the minds of tourists and visitors who flock to see the mystical side of Tibet. Perhaps in the future when the major Chinese Tulkus are more established, the next generation of Lamas will nurture more tulkus or perhaps lure other Tulkus back to Tibet to teach the Tibetans and millions of Chinese tourists that flock to Tibet.

A physical Buddhist heritage would be very beneficial for Chinese practitioners all over China. It will be important because as more and more Chinese get interested in its own spiritual heritage, they will identify with Buddhism because that was what their forefathers respected and worshiped. It is a part of Chinese larger culture.

Ensapa

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Re: Modernization and religion in harmony
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2012, 05:18:28 PM »
I believe the Chinese development in the monasteries and the Sangha is a beneficial one. Yes, the great Tulkus, Geshes and masters are not in the monasteries anymore but what the Chinese does will preserve the physical Buddhist heritage for the world to see. It will be commercial to some but it will provide a tangible link for world-wide practitioners with these old monastic institutions.
Somehow, it does show their appreciation for Buddhist culture that has shaped Chinese culture and philosophy since it arrived to China from India. China taking on Buddhism as their "official" religion is actually a very encouraging trait as it shows that they take Buddhism seriously. Although for now it is for commercial reasons, I believe that when the seeds ripen, and when the right time comes, these buildings will be institutions of learning. For now, they can just plant seeds into people.

These institutions will be living physical proof of Dharma and these will inspire and plant seeds in the minds of tourists and visitors who flock to see the mystical side of Tibet. Perhaps in the future when the major Chinese Tulkus are more established, the next generation of Lamas will nurture more tulkus or perhaps lure other Tulkus back to Tibet to teach the Tibetans and millions of Chinese tourists that flock to Tibet.
China has already proved that they can train Tulkus, the most prominent one being the Panchen Lama. there are also occasional Chinese sanctioned Tibetan Rinpoches that are mentioned once in a while in this blog. Also, the current Zemey Rinpoche is currently being trained in China as opposed to in South India, where it is completely legal to practice Dorje Shugden. I wonder if more Dorje Shugden Lamas would follow suit?
A physical Buddhist heritage would be very beneficial for Chinese practitioners all over China. It will be important because as more and more Chinese get interested in its own spiritual heritage, they will identify with Buddhism because that was what their forefathers respected and worshiped. It is a part of Chinese larger culture.
Buddhism has always been in the hearts and minds of Chinese, the DNA of the Chinese. No matter where the chinese landed, they would have found a Buddhist community or a temple as well to serve their spiritual needs. It also fuses and cements Buddhism with the identity of being Buddhist, as China has developed many unique Buddhist traits such as the belief in Karma that is being advocated as common knowledge.

You have raised some interesting points there, but at this point of time, commercialisation is necessary to build temples and statues. It takes time for these temples to evolve into centers where people can learn to have inner peace and at the moment there is a huge demand in that in China. Perhaps when this happens, Buddhism in China will really take off?

dsiluvu

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Re: Modernization and religion in harmony
« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2012, 09:07:55 PM »
Oh why not??? Even though the Chinese Govt may not have the best motivation for restoring temples and monasteries, I am sure they still collect some great amount of merits that will create the causes for the country and nation to prosper and because of the causes they create, they eventually will reap good fortune... obtaining the Dharma. So definitely restoring which is similar to building a monastery will have it's long term positive effect. This is the beginning of China being on of the most powerful nation in the world in secular as well as spiritual as predicted. Below is an extract from a Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive on the benefits of build a monastery/temple by Lama Zopa :)

Many great holy beings built and established great and small monasteries. Lama Tsongkhapa and Lama Tsongkhapa’s disciples, and disciples of disciples, built Sera, Ganden and Drepung, within each of which there are two colleges, then also Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, then the two tantra colleges. From disciple to disciple they built like this. These are the main monasteries, but there are many branches, Kumbum Monastery, the disciples built, then also there is Tashi Choeling, in Amdo.

Due to Lama Tsongkhapa’s kindness the disciples built these monasteries where Lama Tsongkhapa introduced an incredible, unique way of studying the entire teachings of the Buddha, the sutras condensed into five major philosophical texts then, after that, tantra. The Vinaya, Madhyamaka, then logic, Pramanavartika, then Abhisamayalamakara and Abhidharmakosha—this very extensive study of sutra which helps very much to develop understanding, then extensive study of tantra.

Due to that kindness, up till now, many monasteries were established from these main monasteries—many, many branches. That’s one example, through Lama Tsongkhapa’s kindness, but of course there are many other traditions as well. Until now the teachings of Buddha still exist in that way, through the beautiful work of these monasteries.

It is said in one sutra: “Establish hope (having texts of all Buddha’s teachings), then continue food offering to the Sangha, providing rooms and bedding—all the needs of the Sangha.” This is said in the sutra by Buddha. It is said that providing these things is a great way to collect merit. The great Mongolian Lama, Zahi Pandita said, “Among causal phenomena, the virtue of establishing monasteries is the greatest. There is no greater than that.” Lama Atisha told the same to Dromtonpa. 

In the sutra, Mindfulness, Buddha’s teaching, it is mentioned that making statues, temples and places for Sangha, with bedding and other needs, makes one’s life go from happiness to happiness. All the future lives will be always in happiness, going from virtue to virtue, always positive; not just being born human and having ordinary pleasures, not just that—virtue to virtue means having a virtuous life. Even for 1000 ten million eons the virtue collected by having provided these things will never get lost; so you see, it is unbelievable merit.

As Buddha advised King Sangyal regarding the benefits of building monasteries. “Any human being building Buddha’s temple, even while still in samsara, in future lives will always have incredible wealth, like radiating palaces, like the king of devas.” That includes power and so forth. “In all the lives you will have happiness, will get good rebirth, and will create good karma in the next lives. While experiencing the result for ten millions of eons, all the time you will enjoy your life, with joyful mind, with no sorrow, and in the end will achieve the state of peace, the cessation of suffering and its causes.”

Then also in the sutra it says, showing the ripening aspect result of the karma, “Anybody who builds a temple, without doubt in the future lives will become king. You will do the work for many transmigratory beings, many sentient beings.” Then, “You are harmonious with all sentient beings,” everybody is harmonious with you, they like you. If everybody is harmonious with you, you can benefit them, bring them to enlightenment.

Also the great Indian yogi, Nagden Pawo said, “To establish a temple for the mighty aryan beings (Sangha) of Shakyamuni Buddha, soothing somebody with the words, ‘please help to build,’ ‘please donate,’ ‘please give a hand with the work’…”—any group of people who help to build a monastery, even during sleep, while standing up, eating, whatever they do, the merit of building the temple continuously increases, immeasurably.

Another Indian pundit, whose name I am not sure of, mentioned, “Even the insects that get killed under the feet, under the rocks or whatever, during the building of a temple, because the temple is the hall of the Buddha, will never get reborn in lower realms, they will be reborn in higher realms, such as the devas. Why? Because they died for the work of a temple of Buddha.” This is mainly due to the power of Buddha having ceased all the gross and subtle defilements and having completed all the realizations, due to Buddha’s inconceivable qualities. It is said that even the negative karma of anyone who is touched by the smoke from food being cooked for the workers gets purified. Again, it is the power of Buddha.

http://www.lamayeshe.com/?sect=article&id=219

Ensapa

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Re: Modernization and religion in harmony
« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2012, 06:25:28 PM »
As we talk, it seems that China is already giving aid to the monks of Tibet. Either that they are really working hard against CTA's allegations, or that they really have developed a genuine respect and appreciation for Buddhism. In any case, they are collecting a lot of merits by supporting the sangha. We rarely hear about the CTA doing something similar to benefit the monks and monasteries these days.

Quote
Xinhua Insight: Government aid benefits Buddhist monks
English.news.cn   2012-07-14 00:24:22                  
CHENGDU, July 13 (Xinhua) -- Living Buddha Donggou from Aba county in southwest China's Sichuan Province has been incredibly grateful for the financial assistance provided by the local government for a ceremony celebrating the 600th founding anniversary of the Ronggong Monastery in late May.

"Thanks to the government, we had a grand commemoration. They gave us more than 1 million yuan (156,661 U.S. dollars)," said Donggou, who presided over the May 21 ceremony.

Situated in remote Rong'an township, the Ronggong Monastery maintained a tenuous link with the outside world via a single narrow road until the local government dispatched nearly 200 workers and local residents to build a new 65.5-km-long road to the monastery.

Other remote monasteries in Qinghai, Sichuan, Gansu and Yunnan provinces are expected to benefit from new infrastructure and public facilities constructed by local governments in the near future.

"The social and economic development in Aba county has been slow due to its remote location and the harsh climate," said Fan Xianliang, a local religious official. "It will be of vital importance to find a long-term mechanism to improve the imbalanced development of the county's 42 monasteries."

So far, a total of 12.4 million yuan in funds has been allocated by the government to build new infrastructure near the monasteries. The government will spend another 61.5 million yuan from now until 2015 to build new roads, drinking water and power networks.

Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region started to offer pensions and medical insurance policies to monks and nuns at all of its monasteries under a new policy issued in 2012.

A total of 1,897 monks and nuns have received a 120-yuan monthly pension payment since March 2012. Monks and nuns under the age of 60 will also receive monthly pension payments if they have paid their premium for at least 15 consecutive years.

Donggou, 66, said he receives a pension payment of 130 yuan each month.

"We do not care much about how much money we can get. It reflects the government's attention to our group," he said.

Liu Zuoming, secretary of the Aba Tibetan and Qiang autonomous prefecture committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), said regular communication between the clergy and government is conducive to ironing out misunderstandings and broadening agreements.

"The government will manage religious affairs in accordance with laws and protect people's freedom of religion," he said.

When two clergymen brought up the issue of tuberculosis spreading among clergy, prefectural authorities quickly responded. More than 15,000 monks and nuns have received free tuberculosis screenings conducted by medical teams organized by the government to date.

"Monasteries serves as a basic unit of society and clergymen are common citizens. Therefore, the government has the responsibility to provide public services to this group," said Qiu Ning, director of the Aba County United Front Work Department.

Restoring monasteries and temples and solving difficulties for monks and nuns is a way to protect religious culture and reflects the country's policy of freedom of religious belief, said Xiong Shengxiang, director of the religious affairs bureau of Yunnan Province.

A campaign to boost public health education, launched by the Diqing Tibetan autonomous prefecture's association for science and technology, has been welcomed by the clergy of the Sumtsen Ling Monastery.

"I received a medical exam offered by the government at the beginning of the year. I'm healthy," said Amyu Khedrup, a 29-year-old lama from the monastery.