At the last minute a court in China has decided to postpone judgement on a living Tibetan Buddha.
Phurbu Tsering Rinpoche faces allegations of illegally possessing weapons and seizing government land.
The delay is widely interpreted as promising by legal experts. It is incredibly rare for a Chinese court to issue a delay and signs suggest that both the international public audience and the highly spirited defence has resulted in on-going judicial debate in China.
Phurbu Tsering Rinpoche is believed to be the fifth incarnation of a revered Buddhist teacher by his followers and is known as Burongma. He was arrived last year after rites in Lhasa and protest marches by nuns.
Phurbu Rinpoche speaks Chinese and was able to navigate the Chinese system so that he had a say in the appointment of his legal team.
One of the two lawyers defending him is Jiang Tianyong. Talking to The Times, Jiang addressed the allegation that an imitation pistol and 100 rounds of ammunition had been found in the tulku’s house.
Jiang said, “The living room of such a venerated monk is a public place with people coming and going every day. Someone could have put the weapons there. His wife has said she had never seen them before when cleaning the house.”
The lawyer, however, was not optimistic in the outcome of the case. He told The Times, “I doubt if the case will be dealt with fairly. But compared with similar cases, this has been the best handled. At least I met my client and talked to him.” He added that he feared that the court could hand down a heavy sentence.”
In Pure Spirit
Are you more optimistic than Phurbu Tsering Rinpoche’s lawyers? Do you think he’s had a fair trial and is now waiting for a fair verdict?