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Jokhang (‘House of the Lord’). Tibet's holiest temple, sometimes called the Tsuglakhang (‘the Academy’) and generally referred to by W. commentators as the ‘Cathedral of Lhasa’. It was built by the thirty-third king of Tibet, Songsten Gampo (c.609–50), to house the statue of the Buddha Akṣobhya. The statue of Akṣobhya was broken in two during the present Chinese occupation, and the upper half was transported to Beijing. In 1988 the lower portion was discovered in a Lhasa rubbish tip, and in 1989 the two halves were reunited and reconsecrated. The Jokhang's contents were more systematically destroyed in 1966, and throughout the cultural revolution it was used as the Red Guard headquarters. It was not until 1984 that it began to function as a temple and a monastery again. In 1990 it had over a hundred monks, but in common with other ‘newly functioning’ monasteries in Tibet these include a number of police, and its ruling committee consists of non-ordained political appointees.

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