DHARAMSHALA, November 16: A British national Tibetan Buddhist monk has self-immolated within his monastery premises in France Thursday afternoon.
Speaking to Phayul, an official of the Nalanda Monastery, Labastide-Saint-Georges in Tarn district of southern France, identified the monk as Tonden, 38.
“One of our monks, Tonden, passed away after he self-immolated within the monastery premises yesterday afternoon,” the official said. “Tonden is a British national and has been living in the monastery as a monk for the last five years.”
Reason for his self-immolation is not yet known.
“He has not left any messages or notes,” the official said. “Police are right now investigating the causes of his suicide.”
Investigating officers have told local reporters that there were no witnesses of the self-immolation. Police are trying to ascertain whether this is “an act of self-harm."
Self-immolations, as an expression of peaceful protest, has seen an alarming escalation in China occupied Tibet. Beginning with the self-immolation protest by a Tibetan monk Tabey in 2009 in eastern Tibet, 74 Tibetans have now set themselves on fire demanding freedom and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile.
In the month of November alone, 12 Tibetans, including a 15-year-old monk and a young mother of a seven year old boy, have set themselves on fire protesting China’s continued occupation of Tibet.
Nalanda Monastery was established in 1981 with an aim of offering a “protective and conducive environment for monks to train in philosophy, monastic discipline and retreats.”