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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Excitement on India-China frontier over female Buddha statue

June 17, 2008

IANS
June 14,  2008

Itanagar, June 14 (IANS) -- There is a lot of excitement in Arunachal
Pradesh's border region with China as work has begun to erect an
80-feet statue of the White Tara or the female Buddha on the dizzy
heights of a peak that overlooks Tibet and Bhutan.

'We have begun work to install the statue on top of the Lumla peak in
Tawang district. The project will develop the area and attract
pilgrims and tourists,' T.G. Rinpoche, a Buddhist leader who is also
a legislator in the Arunachal Pradesh assembly, told IANS.

The White Tara, associated with Tibetan Buddhism, is a female Buddha
known for long life, compassion, healing and serenity.

'Our people in Tawang and elsewhere in the state are very happy with
our efforts. The White Tara after all is regarded by our people as
the goddess of prosperity,' said Rinpoche, one of the architects of
the project.

The project will include prayer halls, a museum, a library and
accommodation for visitors. The base of the statue will have 1,000
petalled lotuses.

The project in Tawang district -- which the Chinese claim as their
territory and is regarded as an integral part of India by New Delhi
-- is estimated to cost Rs.50 million.

Tara is a deity whose worship is used by practitioners of the Tibetan
branch of Vajrayana Buddhism to develop certain inner qualities and
understand outer, inner and secret teachings about compassion and emptiness.

In Japan she is known as Tarani Bosatsu, but she is said to be
virtually unknown in China.

India has embarked on a massive infrastructure development programme
in Arunachal Pradesh, including around Tawang, an important seat of
Buddhism perched at an altitude of 11,115 feet.

Tawang has been in the news with frequent claims by Beijing that it
is part of China. India rejects the claim.

India and China fought a 42-day border war around the Tawang heights in 1962.

India has been contesting Beijing's rule over 38,000 sq km (15,000
square miles) of barren and uninhabited land on the Tibetan plateau,
which China seized from India during the 1962 war.

China, on the other hand, is pushing ahead with its claim on 90,000
sq km of territory ruled by India in the eastern part of the border,
mostly in Arunachal Pradesh.
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