Reported by Sangyal Kunchok for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Tenzin Dickyi. Written in English by Richard Finney.
Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and study centers must begin to translate classroom texts from Tibetan into Mandarin Chinese, China’s “common language,” according to instructions given at a conference held last month in Qinghai, Tibetan sources said.
Monks and nuns must also learn and speak to each other in Chinese instead of their native language, government authorities said at the three-day conference launched on Sept. 27 at the Tso-Ngon Buddhist University in Qinghai’s capital city Xining.
Attended by more than 500 religious figures and students from Tibetan and Chinese Buddhist universities and other educational organizations, including more than 300 students from Tso-Ngon University, the campaign looks set to advance Chinese President Xi Jinping’s call to Sinicize religion across the country.
It was unclear if the policy will also include the gradual translation into Chinese of the thousands of classical Buddhist scriptures also written in Tibetan, many of which were translated from Sanskrit many hundreds of years ago.
The Chinese language is not able to communicate the full range of meaning of Buddhist doctrine, though, said Geshe Lhakdor, Director of the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives in Dharamsala, India, the seat of Tibet’s exile government the Central Tibetan Administration.