Interviewing Living Buddha Zhaxi Longduodanqucuojia

Time: November 5, 2005, 14:30-17:30
Interviewing at: Ta'er Temple
Interviewee: Living Buddha Zhaxi Longduodanqucuojia(Standing Committee of Chinese PeopleˇŻs Political Consultative Conference, Chief of TaˇŻer Lamasery Red Cross and Tibetan Medical School, Committeeman of TaˇŻer Lamasery Management Committee)
Recorded by: Liu Fagang(Headmaster of Dacai Middle School), Cao Yuanzhang(Teacher of Dacai Middle School)

Q: Can you talk about TaˇŻer Lamasery?
A: TaˇŻer Lamasery was built on the birthplace of Tsongkhapa, the founder of Gelug sect of Buddhism. It is one of the most famous monasteries of Gelug sect, Since 1379 the Holy Pagoda was founded, it has had the history of more than 600 years. Maitreya Buddha Hall, built in 1560, has had the history of more than 400 years. TaˇŻer Lamasery has 37 halls and most of them are Buddhist schools and it covers the area of more than 400,000©O.

Q: What is Tibetan Medicine?
A: Tibetan Medicine plays a key role in our traditional medicine and has its own characteristics. The medicine is collected in Tibet and has special curative effect and function. The treating methods include medicine bath, taking medicine, applying ointment, acupuncture, etc.

Q: Where are the monks from?
A: In the booming time, there were 3600 monks in TaˇŻer Lamasery. According to a survey in 1954, TaˇŻer Lamasery had 1,724 monks, and 980 of them were Tibetan, 358 Mongolian, 380 Tu nationality, and 6 Han. Now we have more than 600 monks. The monks mainly come from Huanzhong Qinghai province and Inner-Mongolia. Most of them came here at the age of five or six years.

Q: Why they chose to be monks?
A: The parents send their children to our lamasery. Some young men are willing to become monk and some families have too many children to support them so send boys here. We provide the above monks board and lodge and their families afford other expenses.
To last their research and hand down property, the living Buddhas make their relativeˇŻs kids become monks. The living Buddhas support this kind of monks themselves.
The monks should undergo the procedures of haircut, bath and putting on cassock. After formally acknowledging their teachers, the monks will receive enlightening education of 3 to 5 years. Around ten years old, the monks will study compulsory sutras in Xianzong School. The over 20-year old monks after making commandments must strictly abide by the religious disciplines, while some of the monks never make commandments.

Q: What is the meaning of the titles Dalai and Panchen?
A: Dalai means ocean in Mongolian and Dalailama is the master monk knowing everything about Buddhism. Panchen means master monk with wisdom and bravery.

Q: Could you tell us something about peepul?
A: Peepul is regarded the symbol of Buddhism. Sakyamuni grasped the truth of Buddhism under peepul. The place where Tsongkhapa was born grew up a peepul with leaves having the pictures of Sakyamuni. In all the monasteries are planted peepuls. Peepul is A fig tree native to India, having broadly ovate leaves with a long terminal projection.

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