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Yearender 2012: renovation and preservation of religious heritage 2

01-04-2013 11:35 BJT

The past 2012 saw a boom in renovation of Tibet's monasteries and other religious sites along with the after-quake restoration in Yushu Tibetan area on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Not only many religious venues have got a face-lift, but also many ancient Buddhist writings have been made into digital version for better preservation in "e-libraries".

After-quake restoration in Yushu

Two years ago, a 7.1-magnitude earthquake hit the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Yushu in northwest China's Gansu Province and damaged the Dangka Monastery and the Thrangu Monastery. Reconstruction has been nearly finished by now.

Before the earthquake on April 14, 2010, the Dangka Monastery had stood nearly a thousand years. Reconstruction started two months after the quake hit Yushu, and it has nearly completed.

Recovered from the earthquake devastation, monks in the Thrangu Monastery have resumed their religious routines and teaching for the juniors.

The Thrangu Monastery in Gyegu Town of Yushu established an elementary school for the young lamas. More than 30 young monks now live and study at the temple's primary school,which offers them accommodation and even a small sum of pocket money every month.

Praying for blessings in the mountainous Qumarleb County, a Tibetan community in Qinghai Province, has been carried out yearly to mourn for the 2,698 victims killed by the powerful quake.

Face-lift of monasteries and renovation of religious venues

The past year has seen an enhanced renovation of monasteries and religious venues.

Confronted with an urgent need of restoration, the Ramoche Monastery in Tibet has got a facelift with the support of the central government. The major part of the project has been completed and the rest is to be finished before the 2013 Tibetan New Year.

The renovation of the Labrang Monastery, one of the six major monasteries of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism in Gansu Province, has been commenced with a government fund of 305 million yuan (about 48 million U.S. dollars). The renovation work is expected to complete in seven to eight years, said Sonam Je, deputy chief of the Xiahe County's culture bureau.

Maintenance project of key religious venues in Tibet Autonomous Region was launched in Lhasa on December 4, 2012. The project is one of the key construction projects marked out by the "12th Five-year Plan" of "Supporting Tibet's Economic and Social Development Construction Program".

The project has a total investment of 200 million yuan (around 32 million U.S. dollars), covering the renovation and restoration of the main hall, the side hall, the cripture hall, and fire-control facilities in 215 religious venues in the whole autonomous region.

Monastic libraries construction

Over 500 libraries have been established in Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in Tibet, according to Xinhua. The libraries collect books on Buddhist scriptures, Tibetan language, laws and regulations, science, literatures and arts.

Since 2012, the regional government in Tibet has launched a whole package of construction programs for Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, including the library project. By the end of 2013, 1,200 more libraries are expected to be established.

An "e-library" is under construction in the Sagya Monastery in Shigatse Prefecture. The electronic filing work started in March of 2011. By December 2012, over 2,000 documentary works from the existing 45,000 scriptures and ancient books in the monastery have been filed with e-copies, introduced by Lodro Gyatso, executive deputy director of the Sagya Monastery's Democratic Management Committee.

In future, e-library is becoming a trend for renovation and preservation of religious documentary works.

Preservation and restoration of ancient scriptures and manuscripts

Since the pattra-leaf scriptures protection and research work was launched in early 2006, researchers have carried out surveys by traveling over 17,000 km to cover 65 temples, historical sites and residential areas in 41 counties of Tibet. It is estimated that the overall existing pattra-leaf scriptures across the world are no more than 1,000 volumes, among which 60 to 80 percent are preserved in Tibet.

The protection and research work have achieved many important results, such as the publications of The Central List of Tibet Treasured Pattra-Leaf Scriptures and The Central Photocopies Collection on Tibet Pattra-Leaf Scriptures.

Besides of the preservation work of ancient scriptures, a developmental project of compiling a grand dictionary of Tibetan Buddhism was also launched on December 7. The project was done by the Research Institute of Oversea Nationality Literature in Northwest University. Experts say that this Big Dictionary of Tibetan Buddhism with ample glossaries and well-structured content will fill the gap in Chinese academia.

Editor:Zhang Hao |Source: Tibet.cn

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