Larung Gar (Tibetan: བླ་རུང་སྒར་, Wylie: bla rung sgar, Chinese: 洛若乡, luoruoxiang) in the Larung Valley is a community in Sêrtar County of Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, in Sichuan, China, known as Kham. Larung Gar is the local name for the community of mostly Tibetan and Han Chinese students which grew around the Serta Larung Five Science Buddhist Academy, founded in 1980 by Kyabje Khenchen Jigme Phuntsok. The residents are monks, nuns, vow holders and lay people. Larung Gar was considered the largest Buddhist monastic center until demolitions by the Chinese government recommenced in July 2016.

Larung Gar began with less than a dozen students building their residences near Khenchen Jigme Phuntsok's retreat residence, then grew as more Tibetan Buddhist monastic and lay students from the Tibetan plateau arrived. As the Serta Larung Five Science Buddhist A...Read more

Larung Gar (Tibetan: བླ་རུང་སྒར་, Wylie: bla rung sgar, Chinese: 洛若乡, luoruoxiang) in the Larung Valley is a community in Sêrtar County of Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, in Sichuan, China, known as Kham. Larung Gar is the local name for the community of mostly Tibetan and Han Chinese students which grew around the Serta Larung Five Science Buddhist Academy, founded in 1980 by Kyabje Khenchen Jigme Phuntsok. The residents are monks, nuns, vow holders and lay people. Larung Gar was considered the largest Buddhist monastic center until demolitions by the Chinese government recommenced in July 2016.

Larung Gar began with less than a dozen students building their residences near Khenchen Jigme Phuntsok's retreat residence, then grew as more Tibetan Buddhist monastic and lay students from the Tibetan plateau arrived. As the Serta Larung Five Science Buddhist Academy grew in reputation and size, more Chinese and international students arrived and built residences to receive teachings from Nyingma Terton Khenchen Jigme Phuntsok. The site is considered sacred and the Academy fulfilled an ancient prophecy by the first Dodrupchen Rinpoche.

The community is composed of residences and retreat meditation huts, built with mud bricks or with wood. As the community grew, nuns built guest houses, and foot paths connected the neighborhoods to the Academy. A few restaurants are located near the main square adjacent to the Gompa.

By 1999, reports state Chinese authorities began harassing Larung Gar. An earlier round of demolitions commenced in June 2001, after Khenchen Jigme Phuntsok refused orders to reduce the number of students, a decision for which he was detained incommunicado for a year according to several sources and to the 2017 joint report by Tibet Watch and Free Tibet.

Monks and nuns continued to move to Larung Gar to study, and the international population from Tibet, China, Mongolia, and from other Asian countries was said to officially be 10,000 people. By June 2016, Chinese authorities ordered a cut in the number residents by half to 5000, with no more than 3,500 nuns and 1,500 monks, as the huge influx of people living in DIY housing was becoming a safety and fire hazard.

The director of Free Tibet stated, "The demolition at Larung Gar is clearly nothing to do with overcrowding – it is just another tactic in China's attempt to subvert the influence of Buddhism in Tibet."

Condemnation of China's demolitions at Larung Gar has been made by the European Parliament in 2016, and by United Nations human rights experts in 2017. By 2018, concern with the ongoing destruction of Larung Gar and Yarchen Gar was expressed by the United States Department of State. In October 2020, a joint statement by 39 countries was read at the United Nations general assembly on human rights, which compares human rights abuses in Tibet to those in Xinjiang.

Photographies by:
Valerian Guillot - CC BY 2.0
BODHICITTA from cheng du shi, china - CC BY 2.0
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