Buddhist ethical reform has become a major force in eastern Tibet, spearheaded by Larung Buddhist Academy in remote Serta, also known as Larung Gar. A new set of “ten virtues” (dge bcu), first formulated in 2008, have spread to neighboring areas in Kandze Prefecture and beyond. In “Reimagining Buddhist Ethics on the Tibetan Plateau,” I trace the ideological basis for this reform movement in the writings of Khenpo Tsultrim Lodro, one of the main successors of Larung founder, Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok (1933-2004). And, with Professor Padma ‘tsho in “Nonviolence as a Shifting Signifier on the Tibetan Plateau,” I explore a new articulation of nonviolence in the “amulet for peace” (zhi bde rtags ma) introduced by Khenpo Rigdzin Dargye in 2012.
Sadly, the state-mandated demolition of numerous monastic residences has been underway at Larung Gar since July. For the most up-to-date information, visit Radio Free Asia. For more photos and a short essay on the importance of Larung Gar, see my “Why Larung Gar, the Buddhist institute in eastern Tibet, is so Important” on The Lion’s Roar.
Monks circumambulating the Jutrul Temple at Larung Gar, photo by Holly Gayley.