Panchen Lama proposes law-based governance of religious affairs

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"We should have strict management and education systems in monasteries, and it is especially important to strictly deal with social chaos in religious circle according to the law," said Panchen Lama Erdini Qoigyijabu at the 11th meeting of the Standing Committee of the 12th National CPPCC, June 16.

Not long before, General Party Secretary Xi Jinping emphasized at the United Front Work Conference that religious affairs must be managed according to the law, and that they should be adapted to the socialist society through guidance.

On June 10, Xi Jinping had an audience with the Panchen Lama at Zhongnanhai, headquarters of the CPC Party Committee, where he once again emphasized the need to actively promote the adaptation of Tibetan Buddhism to the socialist society. The Panchen Lama stated that he would contribute to the adaption of Tibetan Buddhism to the socialist society as well as peace and stability in Tibet.

But how do we promote the adaptation of religion to the socialist society? Obviously it is not by requiring religious clergy and followers to renounce their religious beliefs. The main manifestation has three aspects, of which the first aspect is to love the motherland, uphold the socialist system, support the leadership of the Communist Party of China, and support the laws and regulations of the motherland and its guiding principles.

This time, in his speech titled “Managing religious affairs according to law and enabling religion to promote development of the advancement of the Chinese ethics and culture”, the Panchen Lama emphasized the need to increase legal awareness, open up the channels for appealing, make religion become an active force in carrying on and promoting the traditional Chinese culture, accelerating the Chinese cultural and ethical progress, and establishing an all-round moderately prosperous society.

At the same time, regarding the social chaos related to religion that currently exists, the Panchen Lama pointed out that there are some groups and individuals that use the banner of religion for illegal religious activities, misleading believers to break away from the correct line of belief, tarnishing the reputation of religion and religious doctrines, turning religion into superstition and commercialization, and causing serious harm to the healthy development of society.

If the situation continues this way, it could lead to the collapse of the Buddhist canon, prevent Buddhism from pursuing its religious goals, and it will exert a negative impact on the construction of social morals, thereby weakening the positive role of religion in the nation and in society.

The Panchen Lama put forth a four-point proposal as follows:

First, the departments of religious affairs should investigate the phenomenon of false religious people who illegally hold religious activities, should unblock channels for reporting, and establish a mechanism that will be effective over the long term.

Second, public security forces deal with those who undergo illegal activities that already constitute crimes according to the law.

Third, religious groups should advocate the prohibition of religious people from using religion to accumulate wealth and to prohibit non-religious people from posing as clergy and cheating others.

Fourth, the law protects the rights and interests of religious groups, holy sites, and normal educational and religious activities.

In the meanwhile,the legal awareness of religious clergy and believers should be strengthened and religious groups’ reasonable legal demands should be vented. Religion should become an active force to help carry on and promote traditional Chinese culture and the establishment of a moderately prosperous society in all aspects.