China’s religious circle condemns self-immolation

High monks and scholars from the Buddhist Association of China on Wednesday denounced self-immolations and incitement behind such acts for violating Buddhist doctrines.

Responding to the recent deaths of Tibetans who set themselves alight in China’s western provinces of Qinghai, Gansu and Sichuan, members of the association stressed benevolence and no killing as the fundamental tenets of Buddhism at a seminar in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan.

“Buddhism is a religion that respects life and opposes killing or suicide,” said Chuan Yin, president of the association. He added that inducing, encouraging or praising suicides were as deplorable as murder.

Both self-immolation and instigating others into doing so breached Buddhist tenets, said Jamyang Losang Jigme Tubdain Qoigyi Nyima, a living Buddha and also an association vice president.

The seminar, which opened on Wednesday and attended by high monks and scholars from the Theravada, Mahayana and Tibetan schools of Buddhism, argued against the preaches on the benefits of self-immolation.

Sheng Hui, a vice president of the association, said self-immolation is an act of violence as it hurts the participant’s life and spread horror among society.

Another vice president of the association, Jing Hui, said Buddhism categorizes suicides as “untimely and violent deaths.” Self-immolation, therefore, could never lead to Buddhahood.

The Chinese government has accused the Dalai Lama and his followers of supporting and masterminding a spate of self-immolations in heavily Tibetan areas in west China.

Police in Gansu said Tuesday they had apprehended seven people for their alleged roles in convincing a local Tibetan villager to self-immolate. A police investigation said the case was masterminded by key members of the ‘Tibetan Youth Congress’ of the overseas Dalai clique.


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