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Monks seek spiritual happiness in a modern world

08-06-2013 14:29 BJT Special Report: Tibet Shoton Festival |
Special Report: Inside Tibet |

By CCTV reporter Han Bin

The Drepung Monastery is known as the most important monastery of the Gelugpa School in Tibetan Buddhism. Until the construction of the Potala, it was also the residence of the Dalai Lamas. Drepung is located along the Lhasa River valley, some 20 kilometers west of Lhasa.

Chanting sutras and sitting in meditation, like so many before him, Ngawang believes learning
and practicing the Buddhist doctrines is a life-long mission.

Next, our reporter Han Bin goes inside the monastery, and finds out how life is changing for today’s monks, and what happiness means to them.

Praying to the Buddha.

This is how 47-year-old Ngawang Qunzin greets the morning at the Drepung Monastery. It’s the first thing he does every day, since becoming a monk at the age of 13.

Chanting sutras and sitting in meditation, like so many before him, Ngawang believes learning and practicing the Buddhist doctrines is a life-long mission.

"The significance of chanting Buddhist scriptures is not simply in reading, but in understanding the meanings behind the thinking. Being a good monk is for a happy life, and also for your next life." Mgawang Qunzin, Monk of  Drepung Monastery said.

Ngawang says the most costly and precious objects should be given to the Buddha. His own room is simple and tidy, with many volumes of sutras.

Drepung is one of the largest Tibetan monasteries, with more than 100 halls and rooms. Some 500 monks and lamas live and practice Buddhism here. The monastery has a history of over 600 years, and at one time, housed more than 8,000 clerics.

Inside the great assembly hall, monks come to study and perform rituals.

One important ritual is debating the Buddhist scriptures--learning through practice. The debates also serve as a test by which a ranking can be drawn up, of how well the monks have mastered the sacred texts. Monks in Drepung lead regulated lives.

"Prior to the 1970s, the lack of transport and communication links meant Tibetan monks and lamas knew very little about the outside world. The internet and tourists from abroad and other parts of China have changed all that." Han Bin said.

Ngawang says the living standards in the monasteries have been greatly improved.

But these changes and the introduction of new media could also distract young monks from concentrating on their spiritual mission.

"There many choices for one’s life. Fame and fortune are only temporary; choosing to be a monk is to choose a simple life style. Yet it’s not an easy choice." Mgawang Qunzin said.

Ngawang says that monks should be grateful for life, rather than seek personal gain. Their way to happiness is to study the Sutras carefully, and pass on the teachings of the Buddha. Happiness in this life, and the next. Han Bin, CCTV, at Drepung Monastery.


Editor:James |Source:

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