The 8th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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To Make the Potala Palace Shine For Ever
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Qamba gets up at seven in the morning, and starts his routine work in The Buddha halls right after breakfast.
From eight in the morning to one in the afternoon, Qamba keeps receiving worshippers, who give him butter which he pours into the butter lamps.
In the Potala Palace, there are a total of 57 such Butter lamp masters. Unlike lamas in monasteries, they seldomly get together to recite sutras and pray for blessings. They are put in charge of a certain number of Buddhas, and the reception of pilgrims and visitors. In addition, they are charged with the mission of looking after cultural relics and working to prevent theft and Fire damage.
While lamas in monasteries normally derive income mainly from alms and monastery businesses, lamas in the Potala Palace each get a monthly salary of 300-500 yuan, plus an annual bonus amounting to 2,000 yuan. Whenever there is the need to do extra work, each gets five yuan.
The Potala Palace is held as the pride and symbol of the Wisdom of the industrious Tibetans. It is a cultural heritage of China and the world at large. The Central Government has earmarked huge allocations to repair it.
The Potala Palace covers an area of 360,000 square meters, with over 2,000 rooms and 34 Buddha halls. Priceless treasures include the Holy Stupa for the 5th Dalai Lama, which is wrapped up with 5.5 million grams of gold and inlaid with numerous gems. Its 10 storehouses contain historical, religious and ethnic cultural relics.
According to Qamba Galsang, Director of the Potala Palace Repair Office, it invited Zhang Zhiping and Yan Hua, senior engineers with the China State Cultural Relics Research Institute and the State Center for the protection of Cultural Relics, to conduct an on-the-spot survey in the palace for 20 days. From this, they made suggestions for its preservation:
Repairs conducted in 1989 and 1994 had reinforced the major part of the Palace, but the architectural complex some 2,000 halls calls for regular maintenance. Major efforts should be made to solve the problems of deformation and collapse of walls, and insect infestation of the wooden structure.
A team of repair workers be organized. Team members should be knowledgeable in both construction and design.
“Whitewashing the walls, extending 100 meters or more from top to the ground, calls for more than 50 tons of limestone and red powder,” said Qamba Galsang.
The Potala Palace in the Heart of old Lhasa was built in the 7th century by King Songtsan Gambo(617-650),unifiler of Tibet,for his bride,Tang Dynasty(618-907) Princess Wencheng .The 13-story palace,the world's highest,stands on a cliff more than 3,700 meters above sea level,and is a rare example of traditional Tibetan style architecure. The original Potala ,eith 1,000 chambers,was named only after Buddhism had spread in Tibet."potala" in Sanskrit means "Buddna's Mountain".
REGISTRATION OF CULTURAL RELICS.
“In the meantime, we have set up a special office for research. Scholars have been organized to make catalogues of 2,500 classics.