Thursday, 22 November 2012

British Buddhist Monk Dies in Self-immolation Protest

A British man has become the first Western Tibetan Buddhist monk to die from self-immolation.

David Alain, 38, who had taken the dharma name Lobsang Tonden had been training for the past five years in the Nalanda monastery near the village of Labastide-Saint-Georges in south-western France. The secluded monastery has 25 monks, including five Britons.

He killed himself at Nalanda Monastery, by dousing himself with petrol and setting light to himself. His action was, apparently, a gesture of solidarity with Tibetans who have died by self immolation protesting against the Chinese occupation of their country.

In the past week alone, at least nine Tibetans were reported to have self-immolated in protest against religious and cultural repression by the Chinese authorities.

In all, 74 Tibetans have now set themselves on fire since 2009 demanding freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama, who has been in exile since 1959. (Chinese state media are reporting that two more Tibetans have died after self-immolating in protest of China’s occupation of Tibet. Thirty-five-year-old Tsering Dongri (identified by other sources as Tsering Dundrup) set himself on fire near a remote gold mine in Gansu on Tuesday. A man in his 20s, identified as Wangchen Norbu, self-immolated later on Tuesday at the home of his brother, a Buddhist monk, in Qinghai Province ).

Tonden was very conscious of the Dalai Lama's plight, having met the spiritual leader last year when he visited the monastery.

Nalanda is a Gelugpa monastery associated with the Foundation for the Preservation of Mahayana Traditions.

No comments:

Post a Comment