Rules for Buddhist Monks and Nuns in Monasteries: Supervision under Socialist conditions

Lhasa city municipal government stipulation on the management of monasteries [temples and hermitages]

Government of  People`s Republic of Chins



Issued by Lhasa City Municipal Government

These rules have been framed with reference to the relevant ordinance “Lhasa city municipal government stipulation on management of monasteries [temples and hermitages]”, and all monks and nuns must observe them.

One: They must uphold the force of law, uphold the interests of the people, uphold the unity of nationalities, uphold the unification of the Motherland, and oppose Splittism.

Two: They must respect the leadership of the Party and government, respect the Socialist system, strenuously study relevant official policies and voluntarily accept the leadership and oversight of government offices at all levels.

Three: Reactionary propaganda harmful to the unification and security of the state may not be put about, and reactionary books, periodicals, audio and video recordings and other materials may not be kept hidden or passed around. Splittist activity is not permitted in any form.

Four: Having voluntarily undertaken the disciplinary training of the Democratic Management Committee [or sub-committee] of the monastery [temple or hermitage], they must actively participate in activities for the general benefit of society and the monastery, production and labor.

Five: They must listen to the disciplinary training of their scripture teacher, personal tutor and monastery officials, respect elders and nurture the young, and be cooperative and friendly.

Six: They must have sincere faith in Buddha, exert themselves in studying, and promote Buddhism by concentrated study of Buddhist teachings.

Seven: They must strenuously observe the monastic discipline, uphold monastic and religious regulations, wear robes [even] when there is no special occasion and learn noble conduct and behavior.

Eight: Since religion may not be used to impede the study of state administration, law and culture, monasteries may not run their own institutes or classes for the study of scripture. Implanting religious ideas in the heads of minors younger than 16 must be stringently prevented.

Nine: They must safeguard state cultural artifacts, safeguard cultural relics, take good care of monastery property and finances and maintain general arrangements.

Ten: The cleanliness of the environment and of individual residents must be attended to. Keeping up the appearance of the monks and nuns and the monastery’s good reputation, they must ‘love the Nation and love the Dharma’, and strive to be good, law-abiding monks and nuns.

Lhasa City Municipal Government Nationality

and Religious Affairs Bureau

20th July 1997




Having stepped up the supervision of monasteries [temples and hermitages] under Socialist conditions, and in order to safeguard normal religious activities, the freedom of religious belief of monks and nuns and the legal rights of monasteries etc. and monks and nuns, this special measure in conjunction with the main points has been defined for monasteries (temples and hermitages) under the authority of the municipal government with reference to the “Ordinance on supervision of places of religious activity” by the State Council of the PRC and related specifications by both the TAR and Lhasa city governments.

Point One: By thoroughly implementing state laws and Party policy on religion totally and impeccably under the leadership of the local Peoples’ Government, and supervising monasteries etc. and monks and nuns according to law, efforts must be made to accommodate religion with Socialist society.

Point Two: Monks and nuns must pursue the activities of their monasteries etc. in accord with the state constitution, law, legal system and policy, uphold the unity of nationalities and unity of the country, oppose Splittism, uphold the power of the constitution and law, and the interests of the People.

Point Three: Under the leadership of the Peoples’ Government and its expediting offices, voluntarily accepting the oversight and supervision of the local government and agencies in charge of religion, the Democratic Management Committees of monasteries etc. must vigorously support the work of related agencies.

Point Four: Having put the Democratic Management system into practice and guided the masses along the path, the DMCs of monasteries [etc.] must do whatever is best to promote democracy, make decisions on major issues after collective discussion, and offer them

for the scrutiny and approval of the local government and agencies in charge of religion. DMC members must strictly observe the “Lhasa City Municipal Government rules governing the work of members of DMCs in monasteries etc.”

Point Five: As the basis for their main functions and management needs, monasteries [etc.] may establish positions for religious functionaries such as abbot, disciplinarian and chant master. Functionaries such as abbot, disciplinarian, chant master, personal tutor, scripture tutor and shrine keeper have responsibility to the DMC, and must fulfill their own responsibilities with the DMC’s guidance, help and support.

Point Six: Various procedures must be established for essential duties, religious assemblies, study, protection of cultural artifacts, monastic discipline, work reports and so on, in accordance with the requirements of the functioning of the monasteries [etc.]. Organized by the DMC of monks and nuns for periodic, one study session every two weeks, study of law, the legal system and of relevant policies is to be finalized. Work reports are to be delivered periodically, every 6 months, in the monastic assembly.

Point Seven: Having strictly enforced a system for the management of financial matters, a democratic style of financial management is to be implemented. The monastery’s accounts are to be announced periodically to the monks and nuns in an unsolicited and voluntary manner. The monastery’s collective income must be used principally for repair, protection of artifacts, beautification of the vicinity and so on. After that, any surplus may be used for the welfare of those learned in religion or supplementing the livelihood of resident monks and nuns with grants and donations. Apart from the essential public fund and fund for increasing production and turnover, income from agriculture, pastoralism, secondary enterprises, forestry, trade and so on is to be distributed to individuals based on the calculation of their dues. According to the specific conditions of the monastery, the distribution of income from economic activity is to be done in accordance with the basic principle of reward for labor performed. Donations received by the monastery and individual monks and nuns from ordinary believers are the property of individual recipients.

Point Eight: Monasteries may not solicit donations or appropriate property from the public or induce them to perform labor on any kind of pretext.

Point Nine: The induction of new monks and nuns into the monastery community must be carefully restricted. In the case of persons from the region who voluntarily wish to join the monastery, the procedure of examination and permission must be scrupulously followed, while it is not permitted to induct just anyone as a novice or as a monk or nun by individual decision.

Point Ten: Being citizens of the PRC, monks and nuns in monasteries may enjoy the legally prescribed rights of citizens and must also accept their obligations.

1. Everyone, whether Lama, abbot, disciplinarian, teacher, or ordinary monk or nun, is equal in political terms, and feudal distinctions of rank and special prerogatives must be eliminated.

2. Monks and nuns have the legal right to freedom of religious belief, and the right to engage in normal religious activity and accept donations.

3. Monks and nuns have the supreme responsibility to love the Nation and love the Dharma, obey rules and regulations, uphold the unification of the Motherland and the unity of nationalities, protect the interests of the People and oppose Splittism.

4. Monks and nuns are responsible for observing monastic discipline, studying and promoting religious knowledge, behaving impeccably, protecting artifacts and historic cultural relics and taking care of facilities and valuables in common use.

5. All monks and nuns must follow the “Lhasa city municipal government rules for monks and nuns in monasteries etc.,” be united in cooperation, and friendly, respecting elders and caring for the young.

Point Eleven: Monasteries etc. will hold an annual competition for “Monks and nuns who excel in loving the Nation, loving the Dharma.” Those who uphold the unification of the Motherland and unity of nationalities, vigorously study relevant official policies and religious knowledge, obey rules and regulations, protect cultural artifacts, take care of common property, respect the old and nurture the young and contribute to collective work will not only be commended by the DMC as a “Monk or nun who loves the Nation and loves the Dharma”, but receive material rewards and suitable promotion. Those with special accomplishments will be proposed for commendation to

the Nationality and Religious Affairs offices.

Point Twelve: In case of infractions of the “Lhasa City Municipal Government rules governing the work of members of DMCs in monasteries [etc.],” the individual’s share of offerings and rights will

be withdrawn as appropriate, according to the severity of the offence. Serious matters will be dealt with criticism, punishment and expulsion.

Point Thirteen: Those abbots, disciplinarians, personal tutors, scripture teachers, shrine keepers and other functionaries who shirk their responsibilities, fail to respect relevant specifications and procedures, who incur financial losses while disregarding their responsibilities or cause other kinds of damage will not only be deprived of their rights and obliged to restitute the loss, according to circumstances, but their culpability will be investigated, and in serious cases, the decision of their case will be deferred to the relevant authorities.

Point Fourteen: In case of infractions of the “Lhasa city municipal government rules for monks and nuns in monasteries [etc.]” and the monastery’s discipline code and economic conventions, the offender’s rights will be withdrawn according to severity, and the case decided

according to the relevant specifications. Any occurrences of the type mentioned below will result in expulsion from the monastery, and where laws have been broken, the case will be passed to the relevant authorities for judgment.

1. The shouting of reactionary slogans, the pasting up of reactionary leaflets, the drawing, printing, pasting up or flying of reactionary flags, the staging of illegal demonstrations or protests, the devising or spreading of counter-revolutionary rumors, the reproduction or secret possession of reactionary propaganda materials and the establishment of secret organizations.

2. Disturbances harmful to public order.

3. Damage caused to the monastery’s cultural artifacts, theft, illegal sale or moving of those artifacts without proper permission.

4. Infringements of monastic discipline.

5. Failure to respect the supervision of the DMC.

6. Infringements of state laws and regulations, and those who damage the unification of the nation and unity of nationalities.

Point Fifteen: These measures come into effect on 20th July 1997.

Lhasa City Municipal Peoples’ Government

20th July 1997

Source: International Campaign for Tibet; When the Sky Fell To Earth: The New Crackdown on Buddhism in Tibet; 2004

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