Nepal Buddha Dharma Citizen Forum demands probe into 'China's design'

| Updated: Sep 30, 2016 13:19 IST

Kathmandu [Nepal], Sept. 30 (ANI): Accusing the Chinese government of making attempts to stake a claim on religious institutions linked to Tibetan Buddhism and gradually penetrate into Nepal's Buddhist groups in order to draw them to join China-propagated Buddhist culture under the 'One Belt One Road' initiative by placing the ashes of Chinese monk Benhuan inside the Boudhanath Stupa here in May, Nepal's Buddha Dharma Citizen Forum and other agencies have demanded an inquiry into the matter. The forum, along with other Nepalese agencies, earlier this month, submitted a memorandum to Nepal's Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Jeeban Bahadur Shahi, demanding an inquiry into a Chinese media report that stated that Chinese Buddhist Association vice president Yin Shun had placed the ashes of Benhuan inside the Boudhanath Stupa, a UNESCO World Heritage site, which is located on the ancient trade route to Tibet. The memorandum accused the Shree Boudhanath Area Development Committee and the Reconstruction Committee of placing the ashes of the Chinese monk inside the stupa in lieu of a donation of 3.5 crore Nepalese rupee from the Chinese Buddhist Association, which is controlled by the China's State Administration for Religious Affairs. The memorandum pointed out that as the Chinese Buddhist Association is controlled by the China's State Administration for Religious Affairs, the decision to install relics of Chinese monks would have been approved by the Communist Party of China. The complaint alleged that Chinese monks initially tried to have the ashes placed at Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha, but when they failed to do so, they lured the Shree Boudhanath Area Development Committee via a donation amount for the renovation of the stupa. Tibetan merchants are known to have rested and offered prayers at the stupa for many centuries; and even now, when Tibetan refugees enter Nepal, most of them decide to live around Boudhanath. Besides a detailed investigation into the matter, the memorandum also demanded that the ashes be removed from the stupa immediately, and action should be taken against the Boudha Area Development Committee president. The stupa was damaged in the April 2015 Nepal earthquake, and is currently under renovation at an estimated cost of NR 184.5 million, of which reportedly nearly NR 142.2 million have been collected from domestic and foreign donors, including the Chinese Buddhist Association. According to the Chinese news item, referred in the memorandum, during the ceremony held to install the relics of the monk at the stupa, apart from religious leaders from various monasteries in China, Chinese Ambassador Wu Chuntai was also present. (ANI)