While preaching before the large gathering of devotees on the last day of annual Kalachakra festival in Bodhgaya, HH Dalai Lama invoked Buddhist followers of strong faith in the teachings of bodhichitta, for the benefit of people in trans-Himalayan regions in Tibet, China and Mongolia where system is trying to destroy Buddha Dharma.
He said, ‘’…..though, over the times, the Dharma may have declined, but because of various circumstances and conditions that we have met, we have this strong, very deep devotion and faith in the Buddha Dharma. When I visited the trans-Himalayan regions, I find the local people to be very devoted to the Dharma and it is the case also with the Mongolians and in China too, though, the system is trying to seize Dharma, like a poison and trying to destroy it completely but they are not successful, so, instead of that, there is new found interest in the Dharma in China… and so, all of us, when we think of the benefits of bodhichitna, so, we have this strong faith in the teaching of bodhichitta and its benefits, it is the case with the people of Tibet, China and the trans-Himalayan regions and also Mongolia. So, please repeat these lines after me and you take refuge in the rituals….’’ (an excerpt from His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Teaching on December 31, 2022 (Day 3 of three-day teaching on Nagarjuna’s “Commentary on Bodhichitta”) at the Kalachakra Teaching Ground in Bodhgaya).
Buddhists in Asia have a long history of persecution, in ancient as well as in medieval times. In modern times, advent of communism created problems for Buddhists in trans-Himalayan countries (Tibbet, China, and Mongolia), and in Sount-east Asian countries (Cambodia, Lao etc.). In recent times, destruction of Buddha Statues in Bamian by Taliban in Afghanistan created much anguish and sorrow among Buddhists worldwide. In December 2021, China destroyed 99-feet tall Buddha statue in Tibet and tore down 45 Buddhists prayer wheels.
Repression of Buddhists in China and in Tibet began with Mao’s Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) which got renewed with vehemence after rise of Xi Jinping to power in 2012. Stringent repressive measures are in place in China, Tibet, East Turkistan, and Inner Mongolia which has drastically restricted religious freedom of Buddhists.