By Phuntsok Yangchen
Photo courtesy Ngawang Tharpa
DHARAMSHALA, August 12: Chinese authorities in Tibet’s Nagchu County have allowed a senior Tibetan Lama whom it had earlier expelled from his monastery 4 years ago to visit the monastery and give teachings and initiations to his followers last week, said Ngawang Tharpa, a Tibetan living in exile.
Hundreds of Tibetans stood by the road with Tibetan ceremonial scarves (khatak) on Tuesday, to welcome Dawa Rinpoche, who was arrested from Lhasa, Tibet’s capital, along with four monks of Shag Rongpo Monastery in 2010.
The authorities accused Lama Dawa of links with the exiled Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama.
Lama Dawa Rinpoche/file
The authorities last year shut down the Shag Rongpo Monastery in connection with an incident that they call 'the 2010 May 20 incident' which refers to the arrest and eventual sentencing Lama Dawa to 7 years’ imprisonment for alleged links with the Dalai Lama regarding the reincarnation of the monastery’s patron Rongpo Choeje on May 20, 2010.
A 70-year old monk named Ngawang Gyatso of the monastery committed suicide on May 20, 2010 after authorities stepped up the controversial “patriotic education” campaign in the monastery and subsequently arrested Lama Dawa Rinpoche.
Under the campaign, Chinese “work team” officials are sent to especially monastic institutes, which are long considered hot-bed of political dissidence, on a regular basis to “educate” monks and nuns to be patriotic towards nation and one's religion, and to oppose ‘splittist’ forces, which include denouncing the revered Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, whom China reviles as a “splittist”.
Chinese authorities removed Rinpoche from all posts of the monastery and ruled that the aging Rinpoche, then 75 , would not have any association and contact with his monastery. Monks were also barred to visit him.
More than 300 years old Shak Rongpo Dhargyeling monastery was built by Drupthop Lobsang Thinley under instructions from the great fifth Dalai Lama.