Buddhism encouraged to serve BRI

By Zhang Han Source:Global Times Published: 2018/10/17 23:03:40

Tibet will benefit from initiative in stability and development: expert

A sunset over Sertar County in Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Southwest China's Sichuan Province. The county is home to the Larung Gar Buddhist Institute, the largest Tibetan Buddhist institute in the world. (Source: ecns.cn)

 Tibetan monks and scholars began a two-day symposium in Northwest China's Qinghai Province on Tuesday to discuss how Buddhism could better serve China's Belt and Road initiative and resist separatism.

Guided by the core socialist values, the symposium aims to encourage Tibetan Buddhism to adapt to the socialist society and teach the religion to serve the construction of the Belt and Road initiative, news site tibet.cn reported on Tuesday.

Qin Yongzhang, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), told the Global Times on Wednesday that Tibetan Buddhism can serve as a bridge between Belt and Road initiative (BRI) countries to better communicate with each other, since the religious and cultural beliefs are similar in Central and South Asia.

CASS and the China Tibetology Research Center attach strategic importance to the project to promote China's BRI through Tibetan Buddhism, Qin said.

Soft power like religion, if used properly, will convert to hard power, Xiong Kunxin, an ethnic studies professor at Tibet University in Lhasa, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

During this year's International Buddhist Conference, Master Yin Shun, deputy head of China's Buddhist Association, noted that the construction of the China-proposed BRI has injected new energy into China-Nepal ties, China News Service reported in April.

China also built a relationship with Mongolia through Tibetan Buddhism, Qin said, noting that Mongolia has sent monks to study at the Lama Temple and High-level Tibetan Buddhism College of China, both located in Beijing.

One immediate challenge of promoting BRI through Tibetan Buddhism comes from India, which has been holding back for geopolitical reasons, Qin said.

The Dalai Lama has established a separatist base in India, and has been advocating the "traditional culture" as leverage to expand his influence, Qin said.

Buddhism has a significant role in curbing separatism, religious extremism and terrorism while implementing BRI, because it pursues harmony and opposes violence, Xiong said.

The Tibet Autonomous Region will benefit from the BRI, which will stabilize the region and boost its economy by developing border trade and cultural tourism, wrote Zhao Kejin, deputy director of Tsinghua University's Institute of International Studies in an article published on ifeng.com.

Tibet has more than 1,700 Tibetan Buddhist temples, 46,000 monks and nuns, Zhou Wei, chief of the China Tibetology Research Center's Institute for Religious Studies, was quoted by the Xinhua News Agency as saying in 2015.

Posted in: SOCIETY

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