Colossal Guru Rinpoche's Statue Demolished in Tibet

June 5, 2007


The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) received confirmed information from reliable sources that, in mid May 2007 Chinese People's Armed Police (PAP) demolished a colossal statue of Guru Padmasambava popularly known as Guru Rinpoche of the Samye Monastery and that rubble from the statue's destruction is being transported to unknown location according to reports emanating from the area.

Coinciding with the Buddhist holy month of Saka Dawa, a convoy of Chinese PAP came to the Samye Monastery, Dranang County, Lhoka Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region 'TAR' and forcibly demolished a nearly completed huge gold and copper plated statue of Guru Padmasambhava. The statue was constructed with the fund of about 800,000 Chinese Yuan generously donated by two Chinese devotees from the highly industrialized Mainland city of Guangzhou in Guangdong Province. The sponsors and the local people were reportedly highly disappointed and saddened by this unthinkable act of demolishing a structure of such religious importance.

Samye Monastery is located at the bank of Yarlung Tsangpo River at Dranang County in Lhoka Prefecture "TAR" and is believed to be the first Tibetan monastery ever built in Tibet in the year 779 under the able supervision of Tibetan King Trisong Detsen. It was then handed over to the famous Buddhist master Padmasambhava continued the construction of the monastery.

In order to cover up the information from being leaked outside, the Chinese PAP accordingly quickly barred pilgrims, devotees and foreign tourists from visiting Samye Monastery. A huge network of Chinese PAP were deployed around the monastery area. Few local Tibetan devotees after questioning the monks of the monastery about the demolition did not dare to disclose any information. On being asked, the monastery officials told the devotees that the statue was demolished because a new religious structure cannot be built without official consent. One local Tibetan told TCHRD that, "Tibetans in Lhoka, particularly in Dranang County did not dare to challenge the officials openly but deep inside their heart, people fear and worry that the demolition of Guru Rinpoche's statue and transportation of its rubble bear a resemblance to the dark era of the Cultural Revolution."