LHASA, Aug. 17 (Xinhuanet) -- Southwest China's Tibet
Autonomous Region has kicked off an ambitious project to relocate at least
80,000 volumes of Buddhist Scriptures from where they have been for more than
The 10-meter tall "Scriptures Wall"
at the Sagya Lamasery in Tibet, whose exact volumes and contents remain secret,
will be moved into a newly-built cultural heritage museum nearby and then back
to its original location after a major renovation of the lamasery, said Gesang,
an official in charge of the renovation project.
It will take another six weeks to move all the
volumes to the museum.
He said a ritual was held on May 8, a lucky day
according to Tibetan tradition, to mark the launching of the relocation project.
"We've been coding each volume of Scripture and
corresponding book shelves ever since," said Gesang in an interview with Xinhua
Wednesday. "Fifty-three workers are moving the Scriptures and about 10 percent
of the job is done."
But the workers have yet to move the biggest volume,
one that is 1.8 meters long and 1.1 meters wide. "As legend goes, even eight
strong men together could not lift this giant volume," said Gesang, who predicts
difficulty in its moving as the lamasery does not have the right equipment .
Workers must wearing gloves and masks because the
paper most Scriptures were printed on was made of highly toxic tree leafs to
ward off insects.
Besides, the Scripture volumes have been wrapped up
carefully with two layers of cloth -- first yellow and then dark, to minimize
exposure to the sun, said Gesang.
Though the new shelves for the Scriptures are only 80
meters away from their former location, the lamasery has tightened management to
avoid loss of or damage to the priceless documents.
"We have a team of lamas on patrol to oversee the
moving work and a logbook that registers each volume of the Scriptures that has
been moved, with signatures of every person involved in the moving process," he
Gesang and his colleagues have used state-of-the-art
technology to maintain constant temperature and humidity at the museum and
ensure the new environment is more or less the same as the old one. "There are
still slight differences in temperatures, two to three degrees Celsius at the
most. Humidity is more or less the same."
The "Scriptures Wall" in the Sagya Lamasery is said
to contain handwritten Scriptures on Tibetan astrology, history, philosophy and
religion, but no one knows any detail about their contents.
Built in 1073, the Sagya Lamasery, located 450 km
west of Lhasa, has long enjoyed almost the same prestige as the Dunhuang
Grottoes for its large collection of Buddhist Scriptures, valuable porcelain and
vivid morals dating back to nearly 1,000 years ago. It is believed to be the
birthplace of Sagyapa (Stripped Sect) of Tibetan Buddhism.
The lamasery is one of the three ancient Tibetan
buildings included in China's 330-million-yuan (40 million US dollars)
renovation program starting in 2002.
Also on the list for repairs are the 1,300-year-old
Potala Palace and the Norbuglinkha, the winter and summer palaces of the Dalai