Exiles put politics aside for monk's Nepal funeral

Posted: August 1, 2014 at 2:51 a.m.

KATMANDU, Nepal -- Thousands of Tibetan exiles recited prayers and offered white and orange scarves Thursday during the cremation ceremony for a revered Tibetan monk, whose funeral in Nepal nearly fell victim to regional politics.

Nepal had initially given permission to let the remains of Shamar Rinpoche enter the country but immediately withdrew it over concerns that Tibetan exiles would protest China's rule over their homeland during the rites.

Tibetan exiles hold frequent anti-China demonstrations in Nepal, but authorities quickly break up the rallies, saying they cannot allow protests against a friendly nation.

On Tuesday, the Nepal government reversed itself, citing the monk's contribution to Buddhism in the country.

During the Buddhist ceremony at the Shar Minub monastery near Katmandu, Tibetan exiles refrained from political protests. Police kept a close watch but did not interfere.

Rinpoche -- who has followers in Nepal, India, Bhutan and Europe -- built the monastery and preached there for several years. His followers said he wished to be cremated there.

He died last month in Germany at the age of 62.

China claims that Tibet has been part of its territory for centuries. Tibetans say the Himalayan region was virtually independent until China occupied it in 1950.

A Section on 08/01/2014