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Fire hits Serta Larung monastery campus in Tibet

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The already tense situation in Tibet has been exacerbated by a major fire at a monastery. A fire recently broke out at Serta Larung monastery campus reported on Jan. 10, 2014. The fire is reported to have started at about 8pm local time Friday night. Sources said about 80 nuns' quarters were destroyed by the fire.

Heavy winds made efforts to extinguish the fire by monks, nuns and other Tibetans very difficult. Fortunately, there have been no reports of any injuries or deaths thus far. The cause of the fire has not been made clear. Serta Larung was founded in 1980 and is often described as the world’s largest Tibetan Buddhist institute. Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok, a prominent Buddhist scholar, founded the Larung Gar Buddhist Institute, reports the Central Tibetan Administration.

This institute became one of most influential Tibetan Buddhist learning centers in Tibet following liberalization of religious practices by China in the 1980s. During the Cultural Revolution Tibetan culture and religion suffered systematic destruction. Dr. Lobsang Sangay, the democratically-elected Tibetan leader, has expressed deep concern over the destruction which was caused by the fire in Serthar region and has called for the quick restoration of this important learning center.



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