Beijing [China], March 28 (ANI): The funeral observances for a popular Tibetan lama was blocked early this year by Chinese police who barred devotees from attending and deleted images of the religious leader that were shared online, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported.
Choktrul Dawa Rinpoche, 86, died on January 30 at his residence in the Tibetan capital Lhasa and immediately entered a state called thukdam, in which an accomplished meditator's consciousness is believed to remain in the body for a period of time, RFA reported citing a source in Tibet.
"But the Chinese government tried to keep Rinpoche's demise as secret as possible, and warned people not to share news of his death online," the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity for security reasons.
"Also, pictures and videos of Rinpoche already published online were quickly deleted by the Chinese government," the source added.
A senior teacher at the Ganden Dargyeling monastery in Nagchu (in Chinese, Naqu) county in the Tibet Autonomous Region, Choktrul Dawa Rinpoche was sentenced in 2010 to seven years in prison for discussing affairs at his monastery with Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, now living in exile in India, RFA reported.
"And following his release, he was kept under constant scrutiny by Chinese authorities for the rest of his life," the RFA's source said.
Born in Nagchu in 1937, Choktrul Dawa Rinpoche had earlier served five years in prison after being sentenced in 1960 for opposing China's occupation of Tibet, and was jailed again for seven years during China's Cultural Revolution (1966-1976).
Chinese troops occupied Tibet in 1950 and later annexed it. The 1959 Tibetan uprising saw violent clashes between Tibetan residents and Chinese forces. (ANI)