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The recent spate of self-immolations by Tibetan monks has alarmed the international community. They're desperate forms of protest against what many Tibetans perceive as heavy-handed rule by the Chinese Communist Party. NTD caught up with a former head Lama of a major Tibetan monastery, who explains what leads the monks to claim their own lives.
The Chinese regime has sought to damage the reputation of Tibetan monks and undermine their religion as a part of its oppressive rule in the region. That's according to Kirti Rinpoche, the former head lama of the Kirti Monastery. It's the largest Tibetan monastery in Sichuan Province.
Kirti Rinpoche now lives in exile in India. He talked with NTD in New York recently about the Chinese regime's rule in his hometown. He believes the spate of self-immolations by Tibetan monks this year has to do with the regime's efforts to damage their religious beliefs.
[Kirti Rinpoche, Tibetan Lama-in-exile]:
"The communist regime's forced indoctrination of so-called patriotism in temples is linked to the self-immolations, in my opinion. The patriotism teachings seek to overturn the highest regard monks have for their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. During the teachings, authorities tell the monks to stand on the Dalai Lama's portraits. For Tibetans and Buddhists, this is not only something that cannot be done, it is something unspoken of."
Kirti Rinpoche says the Chinese regime encourages monks to give up their religious practice by paying them thousands of dollars to be secularized. And monks who refuse to participate in patriotic studies are expelled from their monasteries.
Kirti Rinpoche says the Chinese regime has also spread false propaganda about Tibetan monks and monasteries to damage their reputation.