Hong Kong, May 15: A county in China's south-west Sichuan Province has imposed a ban on Indian monks teaching Buddhism on grounds that it could breed separatism. According to a report in the Global Times, authorities in Litang County have accused some Indian-origin monks of teaching Buddhism incorrectly to residents.
The Global Times quoted an ethnic and religious affairs bureau official in the county, as saying that Litang County stages patriotic education classes annually for those educated and awarded Gexe Lharampa - the highest academic degree in Tibetan Buddhist studies. He revealed that those behaving improperly at these patriotic classes or showing "any signs of separatist intent" were being strictly monitored and banned from teaching Buddhism to the public.
China has its own criteria to award Gexe Lharampa, and candidates have to pass Chinese Buddhist tests and a sutra debate. Those awarded the degree overseas are not acknowledged by China and are not qualified to teach Buddhism in the country, the Global Times quoted Zhu Weiqun, former head of the Ethnic and Religious Affairs Committee of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, as saying. Some 105 monks in Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region have been awarded the Chinese Buddhist version of the degree since 2004, Xinhua has reported.