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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

China Opens Tibet Buddhist Theological Institute

October 28, 2011

   2011-10-20 23:41:40    Xinhua      Web Editor: Guo

The Tibet Buddhist Theological Institute opened in Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region on Thursday, as part of the country's efforts to promote the study of Tibetan Buddhism.

More than 600 people, including 150 newly-enrolled students as well as Buddhist delegates and government officials, attended a grand opening ceremony held in the regional capital of Lhasa on Thursday morning.

The ceremony received a congratulatory letter from the 11th Panchen Lama, Bainqen Erdini Qoigyijabu.

Zhu Weiqun, executive vice-minister of the United Front Work Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, urged the institute to train more people in Tibetan Buddhism and effectively prevent secessionists from infiltrating into religious circles.

The opening of the academy will help standardize the scripture-teaching system of Tibetan Buddhism, said Zhukang Tubdankezhub, president of the institute.

The institute, Tibet's only regional-level buddhist theological academy, is located in the township of Nyetang, Quxu County, which is administered by Lhasa.

Construction started in October 2008 and ended in September.

Featuring a distinctive Tibetan architecture style, the institute covers 268 mu (about 17.9 hectares), with a total investment of more than 103 million yuan (about 16.1 million U.S. dollars).

The first 150 students include living Buddhas and monks from various Tibetan Buddhist sects.

The institute provides three programs. Two programs focus on studies of Exoteric Buddhism and Esoteric Buddhism, respectively, while the other is tailored to living Buddhas.

All students are required to attend classes on Buddhist, cultural and legal studies. The lengths of the programs range from two to four years.

The institute, mainly targeting young monks, should strive to enhance their Buddhist knowledge, morality and political calibre, Zhu said.

"I will cherish the opportunity and concentrate on practicing Buddhism," said Gesang Toinwang, a living Buddha from Biru County of Nagqu born in the 1990s. "I will do my best to promote Tibetan Buddhism," he said.

In 1987, The China Advanced Institute of Tibetan Buddhism opened in Beijing, pioneering the academic education of the religion. So far, a total of 66 graduates have been awarded the "Tho Ram Pa" degree, one of the highest academic degrees for Tibetan Buddhism.

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