Academic Institutions & Buddhist Temples in Beijing 1994

The following academic institutions in Beijing are invol­v­ed with Tibetan studies.

(1) The China Tibetology Research Center (Zhongguo Zang­xue Yanjiu Zhongxin 中国藏学研究中心), with director, Dorje Tsetan, and deputy director, Hu Tan, ­­has 120 workers, half of whom are engaged in re­search and half of whom are administrators, li­brarians and secretaries. It is China’s main research center on Tibet. Most of the research scholars are Tibetan, al­though practical­ly all of the senior scholars are Chinese. It is not a college, but occasionally there have been a few North Korean stu­dents doing research for a Masters Degree. There is no equivalent center for Mongolian or other minority studies. The center has three divisions:

(1A) The Research Insti­tute of History and Religion (Lishi Zongjiao Yanjiu Suo 历史宗教研究所), with director, Professor Chen Qingying, ­­which has four sections:

(1A1) the History Section, with only Chinese scholars, dealing mostly with the basic Chinese his­torical materials and approach;

(1A2) the Relig­ion Section, with two scholars dealing with the four Tibetan Buddhist tra­ditions;

(1A3) the Bon Section, with only one scholar; and

(1A4) the Section for Sanskrit and Tibetan Buddhist Texts, with four Chinese and six Tibetan scholars, dealing with documents relating to reli­gion and philosophy.

The other two main divisions are:

(1B) the Research Insti­tute of Social and Cultural Studies (Shehui Wenhua Yanjiu Suo 社会文化研究所), which deals with present-day social and anthropological questions, analyzing the current Tibetan situation. It empha­sizes Tibetan language competence.

(1C) The Research Institute of Information and Documents (Tushu Ziliao Guan 图书资料馆), which collects infor­mation on the activities of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan com­munity in exile. It has a Library and a Research Section for Ancient Documents. The Library has many texts taken from Derge and also many Sanskrit manuscripts taken from the Potala. It may only be used by foreign scholars working on projects in co-operation with the Chinese authorities.

(2) The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (Zhong­guo She­hui Kexue Yuan 中国社会科学院) has 50 institutes, of which three are invol­ved with Tibetan studies:

(2A) The Institute of Asia-Paci­fic Studies (Yazhou Taipingyang Yanjiu Suo 亚洲太平洋研究所) has a ­Center for the Study of South Asian Cultures (Nanya Wenhua Yanjiu Zhongxin 南亚文化研究中心), with di­rector Prof. Huang Xinchuan, and a Division of Religi­on and Phil­osophy Research (Zongjiao Zhexue Yanjiu Suo 宗教哲学研究所), with direc­tor Zhu Ming­zhong. These two divisions have 90 scholars and three post-graduate students, and use Tibet­an sources to study Indi­an Buddhism and Sanskrit.

(2B) The Institute for the Literature of National Minori­ties (Minzu Wenhua Suo 民族文化所), which has two divisions:

(2B1) the Cen­ter for Philosophical Studies (Zhexue Zhongxin 哲学中心), with three Chinese and two Tibetan scholars; and

(2B2) the Center for Gesar Epic Studies (Gesaer Wangchuan Xue Zhongxin 格萨尔王传学中心), with three Tibetan and two Chinese scholars. This Institute has ten students and grants Masters degrees.

(2C) The Institute for National Minorities Studies (Minzu Yanjiu Suo 民族研究所), with a staff of 300, but only ten working on Ti­bet. It deals primarily with Mongolian and Yuan Dynasty stu­dies and has a large library.

(3) The Central University for National Minorit­ies (Zhong­yang Minzu Daxue 中央民族大学), formerly called the Central Institute for National Mino­rities (Zhongyang Minzu Xueyuan 中央民族学院). This has a Depart­ment of Tibetology (Zangxue Xi 藏学系) with 100 stu­dents, most­ly Tibetans, in four separate classes. It teaches undergradu­ates Tibe­tan language, literature and his­tory. ­The uni­versity has an Institute of Tibe­tology (Zangxue Xueyuan 藏学学院), with fifteen people doing research on Tibet.

(4) The National Minorities Cultural Palace Library (Min­zu Wenhua Guan 民族文化馆). The Tibetan Division of this li­brary houses the largest collection in Beijing, with many fragile handwrit­ten manuscripts. It is difficult to obtain permission to access the collection.

(5) The National Minorities Publishing House (Minzu Chuban She 民族出版社).

(6) The Center for National Minorities Studies (Minzu Yanjiu Zhongxin 民族研究中心), under the Central Government’s Depart­ment of National Minorities. This has no academics. It con­trols the funding for institutions dealing with non-Tibetan national minorities.

(7) The Higher Level Buddhist College for Tibetan Lan­guage (Zangyu Xi Gaoji Foxue Yuan 藏语系高级佛学院), which is the Govern­ment Buddhist College started in 1987 by the late Pan­chen Lama. It is on the grounds of the Western Yellow Temple (Tib.: Nub-kyi lHa-khang ser-po, Chin.: Xihuang Si 西黄寺), the form­er mona­stery in Beijing for Tibetans, and residence of the Fifth Dalai Lama and Eighth Panchen Lamas when they visited. It was built in the mid-eighteenth century, and con­tains the stupa of the Eighth Panchen Lama. There were also an Eastern Yellow Temple (Tib.: Shar-gyi lHa-khang Ser-po, Chin.: D­onghuang Si 东黄寺), which housed the former main monas­tery in Bei­jing for Mongoli­ans, and a Central Yellow Temple (Tib.: dBus-kyi lHa-khang ser-po, Chin.: Zhonghuang Si 中黄寺), which was the resi­dence in Beijing of the Khalkha Jetsundampa Khutugtu. These latter two have not sur­vived.

The college has four teachers and two classes. The class for ordinary monks has 20 teenage and young adult students, who study primarily Tibe­tan poetry and composition, Tibetan and San­skrit grammar, astrology and the tenets of the four Tibetan Buddhist tradi­tions. They used to study Lam-rim chen-mo, but because of objections that there was too much empha­sis on the Gelug ap­proach, they now study lam-rims from vari­ous traditions and especially the Bodhicarya­vatara. There is al­most no study of debate now, although previously they did study a little Prajnaparamita, following the Panchen text­books. At first, the school was for one year, then, two, three and now for four years. A new class is ad­mitted only after the old one has been graduated.

The second class is for tulkus above the age of 40, has 23 stu­dents and is only for two years. The tulkus study only tenets and lam-rim, with no grammar, poetry or astrology. They also learn a tiny bit about tantra and the methods for conferring initiations. While the Panchen Lama was alive, the school was able to ig­nore the government requirement for the study of Leninism. Since his death in 1989, how­ever, both classes must spend a great deal of their time stu­dying Leninism. The college also has an Academic Research Section.

Beijing also has the following Buddhist temples ­and organizations:

(1) Yonghe Gong 雍和宫 (dGa’-ldan Byin-chags-gling), the Tibeto-Mon­golian tem­­­­ple and monastery, with 100 monks, both young and old, eight of whom are from Amdo and the rest from Inner Mongolia. They study Tibetan language, tantric rituals and the Lam-rim chen-mo. They regularly chant the Lama Chopa Guru Puja (Tib. Bla-ma mchod-pa) and the Yaman­taka ritual­s. Al­though in almost every Tibetan temple there are pic­tures of the late Panchen Lama, there are no photos of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, except in the monks’ private quar­ters. Many Chinese devotees, as well as foreign and domestic touris­ts come to this temple. The temple was formerly the residence of one of the Manchu emperors and was converted into a temple in the mid-eighteenth century.

(2) Fayuan Si 法源寺, with 100 Han Chinese monks, is the only active Chinese Buddhist monastery in Beijing open to the pub­lic for devotions. Many of its religious objects, however, have been moved to the Guangji Si 广济寺, which is closed to the general public. Fayuan Si is situated around the corner from the larg­est mosque in Beijing.

(3) Guangji Si, with 23 monks of the Pure Land tradi­tion, houses the Chinese Buddhist Association (Zhongguo Foji­ao Shehui 中国佛教社会), the official Communist organ­iza­tion of Chinese Buddhists. It publishes the Dharma­ghosa Maga­zine. Most of the great Tibe­tan and Inner Mongolian Rinpoches are required to be members or offi­cers. This monas­tery is the one that the government shows to official delega­tions of visiting foreign Asian Buddhists. It also houses the Chinese Buddhist Cultural Research Bureau (Zhongguo Fojiao Wenhua Yanjiu Suo 中国佛教文化研究所). ­­­­

(4) Guanghua Si 广化寺, with ten monks, houses the Bei­jing Munic­ipal Bud­dhist Association (Beijingshi Fojiao Shehui 北京市佛教社会), which seems to be mostly a symbolic office. This temple, like the previous one, is closed to the general public. In 1993, how­ever, Chesho Rinpoche (Che-shos Rin-po-che) conferred the Yamantaka initiation here.

(5) The Beijing Buddhist Laymen’s Society (Bei­jing Fojiao Jushilin 北京佛教居士林) has very discreet study and practice of combined Chinese and Tibetan Gelug Buddhism. ­­­

(6) Baita Si 白塔寺, formerly called Miaoying Si 妙应寺, contains the huge stupa built by the Nepali architect Anige for Khublai Khan towards the end of the thirteenth century. During the Manchu period, it reportedly had some Manchu monks associated with the imperial court. This mo­nastery is now a museum, with no monks.

(7) The Baita Stupa 白塔 in Beihai Park, with no monas­tery around it.

(8) Wutai Si 五台寺, a Chi­nese monastery open as a museum, with no monks.

(9) the Shuxiang (or Baoxiang 宝相) Si 殊像寺 in the Fragrant Hills (Xiangshan 香山), which was the monastery in Beijing for Man­chus, but is now reportedly a museum.