Photo taken on March 15, 2018 shows Songzanlin Monastery in Shangri-la City of Dechen, Southwest China’s Yunnan Province. Xinhua/Hu Chao
A campaign to help temples with better facilities has provided infirmaries, showers, reading and fitness rooms to improve the monks’ and nuns’ living conditions in China’s Tibetan regions such as Southwest China’s Yunnan and Sichuan Provinces.
The latest temple and Buddhism institute to benefit from the campaign is the Yunnan Institute of Buddhist Studies located in the Shangri-la city, capital of Deqen in Yunnan.
“It is the first such project in Deqen and will be promoted to all temples in the prefecture if it goes well,” an employee from the united front work department of Deqen told the Global Times on Wednesday.
The employee said local authorities have already established reading rooms for all temples in Deqen. But providing other costly facilities, like those for fitness, varies based on specific local conditions.
Deqen is the only Tibetan autonomous prefecture in Yunnan.
Aside from the project at the temples, the employee said they would also help provide bathrooms for women.
“It saves us a lot of time after an infirmary is provided so I do not have to go to a downtown hospital for minor illnesses,” a monk studying at the buddhism institute was quoted as saying by tibet.cn on Wednesday.
Another monk hailed the fitness facilities. He told tibet.cn that he plays ping-pong a lot with schoolmates, which not only benefits health but also helps him better concentrate in class.
The project is part of a series of public service activities guided by the United Front Work Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, which has recruited about 22,000 medical staff and volunteers to help more than 520,000 residents in the Tibetan prefecture in 11 years.
Although it was the first in Deqen, the project has covered 60 temples in China’s Tibetan areas since 2014, tibet.cn reported.
Samdrup, a monk at the Drepung Monastery, one of the largest monasteries based in Lhasa, Southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, told the Global Times on Wednesday that the project has already been promoted in most temples in Tibet and has largely improved the quality of their life.
Since 2011, Tibet has invested nearly 7 billion yuan ($1.1 billion) on a campaign to ensure that all monasteries or temples in the region have access to electricity, water and telecommunications services.
Temples in Tibet are also building public bathrooms, canteens and reading rooms for the monks and nuns.