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Buildings redone at Buddhist academy

By Li Xiaokun and Huang Zhiling | China Daily USA | Updated: 2017-03-14 07:39

Reconstruction of buildings at a prominent Tibetan Buddhist academy in Sichuan province is meant to eliminate security and health risks, and to turn it into a formal academy, a local official said.

"We've adopted various methods to improve the messy surroundings of Wuming Buddhist Academy of the Larong Temple and have seen very good results," Yeshe Dawa, director of the Department of Civil Affairs of Sichuan province, told China Daily.

"The final aim is to turn it into a formal Buddhist academy" he said. "We're not going to demolish it as some rumors have said."

Built in 1980, the academy accommodates more than 4,000 people, including monks, nuns and believers from Tibetan and Han ethnicities. It was designed haphazardly in a valley and grew over the years without regard to geological risks.

The local government of Sertar county, Ganzi Tibetan autonomous prefecture of Sichuan, started the project last year. However, some photos showing buildings being torn down were posted on the internet with claims that the academy was being demolished.

Yeshe Dawa used to be head of the Ganzi prefectural government and has spent almost two decades of his career in Ganzi.

He said there were risks for security, hygiene and infectious disease around the academy. In 2014, a fire engulfed the academy, destroying about 150 houses but fortunately causing no casualties.

In addition, numerous earthen huts would be at high risk in the earthquakes that often hit Sichuan, he added.

Yeshe Dawa said people in the academy now understand the need for better management and the work is being carried out smoothly.

"The work group is very considerate. During the National Day holiday (Oct 1-7), the work did not affect tourism," he said.

"I know the heads of the academy agree with and support the reconstruction project," said Gyadeng Losang Champa, a living Buddha and head of the Buddhism Association of Ganzi Prefecture.

"The Buddhist canon demands the temples, monks and academic affairs to be well organized," he said.

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(China Daily USA 03/14/2017 page5)

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