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Tibetan monks face Chinese pressure to sever ties with Dalai Lama

Last year, China began requiring Tibetans working in official government positions to renounce all ties to the Dalai Lama as a condition of employment….reports Asian Lite News

Chinese authorities are forcing monasteries and monks in Tibet to denounce all ties with the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama, reported Radio Free Asia.

On July 6, the Dalai lama recently celebrated his birthday and expressed the hope to return to his homeland. But China, who sees Dalai Lama as a “separatist” for splitting Tibet, sought to control Tibetan Buddhism. The Dalai Lama, who now lives in exile in India, says only that he seeks greater autonomy for Tibet as a part of China, with guaranteed protections for Tibet’s language, culture and religion.

Last year, China began requiring Tibetans working in official government positions to renounce all ties to the Dalai Lama as a condition of employment. Authorities appear to be including monasteries under this rule.

As per the RFA, at the beginning of this month, Chinese authorities conducted searches of monasteries in Shentsa (in Chinese, Shenzha) and Sok (Suo) counties on the premise of maintaining security, a Tibetan living in exile, who requested anonymity for security reasons.

“The authorities search all the residences of the monks and the main shrines in the monasteries,” the exile said. “The monks of Shartsa Monastery are also forced into renouncing ties with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and be a part of anti-Dalai Lama groups.’

China’s crackdown on Tibetan culture is very evident in the region. Recently, the Chinese TV show called, “Where the Snow Lotus Blooms” promotes a false “old Tibetan spirit” and ignores authentic Tibetan culture, according to Bitter Winter.

Bitter Winter is a magazine on religious liberty and human rights around the world, with a special focus on China.

According to Bitter Winter, the series tells the usual lies. Tibetans are depicted as unhappy and backward until the Chinese “liberators” arrived.

The soldiers, the CCP Han Chinese cadres, and students who “voluntarily” came to Tibet after the invasion were selfless heroes whose main purpose was to “revive the old Tibetan spirit.

“The series’ key concept is the “old Tibetan spirit” but it has nothing to do with Buddhism, monasteries, and traditional Tibetan culture. By searching inside themselves, the Tibetans of the series discover this spirit, whose actual content is that they are –Chinese. (ANI)

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Dalai Lama greets King Charles III

On the occasion of his coronation, Tibetan spiritual leader, The Dalai Lama, has written to King Charles III to offer his warm congratulations. “May your Majesty live long,” he wrote, “and the people of the UK enjoy happiness and prosperity.”

“Having been privileged to enjoy your friendship for many years, I am confident that you will continue to accomplish this great responsibility with kindness and affection, dedicated to the service of others.”

“Today,” His Holiness added, “the international community is going through very challenging times. I believe we must make concerted efforts to achieve a more compassionate, peaceful world by resolving problems like the gap between rich and poor and protecting the natural environment of this planet that is our only home, in the spirit of the oneness of humanity.”

He concluded his letter: “I wish you every success in meeting the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in fulfilling the hopes and aspirations of the British people and contributing to the creation of a more peaceful world, free of violent conflict.”

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CTA condemns China’s anti-Dalai Lama campaign

The Dalai Lama recently courted controversy over a video in which the spiritual leader kisses a child on the lips and then asks him to “suck my tongue”…reports Asian Lite News

Stating that the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), especially the Dalai Lama, have been uninterrupted targets of vilification, the democratically-elected Tibetan Parliament-in-exile said on Friday that the recently-surfaced video was the very proof that “its a campaign that the Chinese government has kept on pursuing at all times”.

The Dalai Lama recently courted controversy over a video in which the spiritual leader kisses a child on the lips and then asks him to “suck my tongue”. The Dalai Lama later apologised to the boy and his family, as well as his many friends across the world, for the hurt his action may have caused.

“His Holiness often teases people he meets in an innocent and playful way, even in public and before cameras. He regrets the incident,” an official statement quoting the Dalai Lama said.

“It is a campaign that the Chinese government has kept on pursuing at all times, and in every possible manner, both domestically and internationally, employing various sorts of media, private individuals and so forth,” the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile said in a statement on Friday.

“Its vile policy objective continues to attempt to destroy or otherwise degrade the Tibetan society. There is, of course, no way the Chinese government can mislead people in the international community with a sense of discernment and integrity.

“However, on occasions, when the Chinese government did manage to mislead a few people with their disingenuously false information, people with a sense of integrity, both within and outside the community, as well as organisations, have continued to provide timely clarifications, for which we offer our compliments.

“We see it as important to emphasise that whenever such incidents occur, all should, instead of going astray by following misinformation, pay close attention to all aspects of the issue — outward, inner, as well as hidden — with care, caution and steadiness of purpose to be able to counter them effectively,” it said.

“We have been deeply hurt and saddened by the misinterpretation being currently given to an incident in a recent event with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, where without proper research, irresponsible and careless sort of explanations and comments were being given to it in the media.

“There is, of course, no need to mention the fact that the activities of His Holiness the Dalai Lama are objects of great interest and delight for many hundreds of millions of people from across the world.

“His Holiness has very graciously acceded to pleas to live a long life for the happiness and wellbeing of sentient beings as well as for the sake of the Buddha dharma.

“In keeping with this noble promise, we ardently pray with utmost devotion that His Holiness the Dalai Lama continues to adhere to this commitment to keep carrying out his noble deeds on the basis of living a long life,” the statement said.

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Dalai Lama names Mongolian boy as head of Buddhism

The elderly spiritual leader was pictured with the boy during a ceremony recognising him as the 10th Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa Rinpoche….reports Asian Lite News

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has named an eight-year-old US-born Mongolian boy as the reincarnation of a spiritual leader.

He has been recognised as the reincarnation of the third most important leader in Tibetan Buddhism as the 10th Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa Rinpoche.

The elderly spiritual leader was pictured with the boy during a ceremony recognising him as the 10th Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa Rinpoche. The ceremony took place earlier this month in Dharamsala, where the Dalai Lama (87) lives in exile.

“We have the reincarnation of Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa Rinpoche of Mongolia with us today,” the Dalai Lama said during the ceremony which was attended by 5,000 monks and nuns, 600 Mongolians and other members.

Pointing to the small boy sitting to his left, the Dalai Lama told the gathering, “We have the reincarnation of Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa Rinpoche of Mongolia with us today. His predecessors had a close association with the Krishnacharya lineage of Chakrasamvara. One of them established a monastery in Mongolia dedicated to its practice. So, his being here today is quite auspicious.”

As the session came to a close on that day, the Dalai Lama met briefly with a significant contingent of Mongolians who are the patrons of this teaching.

“Tantra spread widely in Tibet. With regard to Chakrasamvara, the Ghantapada and Luipa traditions were popular, but this Krishnacharya lineage was quite rare. I received it from Tagdrag Rinpoche and have long felt a close affinity for the practice.

“Chakrasamvara is classified as a mother tantra. It belongs to the highest yoga tantras. While Guhyasamaja emphasises the illusory body, Chakrasamvara focuses on the clear light. However, if you make the illusory body your primary practice, the clear light also arises.

“As I said, I feel a close affinity to the Krishnacharya tradition. I have received the empowerment and undertaken the requisite retreat. This may seem somewhat boastful, but I also feel I have some connection with the great Mahasiddha Krishnacharya.

“This empowerment requires the preliminary practices that we’ll do today. I’ve done the self-generation and visualised myself as Chakrasamvara.”

The crowd dispersed and the view in every direction was filled with the upstanding stems of kusha grass the initiates held in their hands, said a post on the official website of the Dalai Lama.

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China’s illogical twist to Dalai Lama’s Ladakh visit

At the Leh market, many shops have decorated their outlets with lights, candles and/or flowers to express their happiness in having the Dalai Lama return to Ladakh…reports Asian Lite News

Despite political objections in China and some skirmishes on the Chinese side of our border, the Ladakhis accorded a grand welcome to the 14th Dalai Lama on July 15. This is his first visit to Ladakh after it became a Union Territory in 2019.

More than 10,000 Ladakhis and Tibetans, monastics and lay people, young and old, school children in uniform among them, created a human chain to greet the Dalai Lama as he returned to Ladakh after at least three years due to the pandemic.

From Drikung Chetsang Rinpoche to Thikse Rinpoche of Thiksay Monastery and other senior Lamas were present to greet him. Tashi Gyalson, Chairman of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), his colleagues Jamyang Namgyal, MP, Thupten Chhewang, President of the Ladakh Buddhist Association (LBA) and Acharya Tenzin Wangdak, President of the Ladakh Gompa Association (LGA), as well as district officials, former government servants and representatives of various organisations were also present to pay their respects.

At the Leh market, many shops have decorated their outlets with lights, candles and/or flowers to express their happiness in having the Dalai Lama return to Ladakh.

Some even painted their shops or restaurants for the occasion. New Khatags were put on almost all shops which had the Dalai Lama’s photograph. The popular book shops in the market had kept all His Holiness’ books on display and on priority rows as a gesture of love and gratitude for him.

Interestingly, it was a Friday when the Dalai Lama landed in Ladakh and on that day a special make-shift market is formed at the centre of the Leh market, mainly for the Jummah crowd. Irrespective of being a Muslim or Buddhist, shopkeepers and other locals were in t-shirts with pictures or quotations of the Dalai Lama.

Conversations with local Ladakhis and tourists from different parts of India and abroad over the weekend indicated irritation towards China for its “illogical and political” take on the Dalai Lama’s visit to Ladakh.

On some instances, this perception was coupled with praise for Prime Minister Narendra Modi for taking a bold stand in conveying birthday wishes to the Dalai Lama on July 6.

While speaking to local security forces, they made it amply clear that notwithstanding the tight security, should there be any ugly incident or clashes in connection with the visit of the Dalai Lama to Ladakh, the locals here are united beyond imagination to protect him and give their life for him, if required.

Overall, there is an extremely positive vibe in Ladakh with the Dalai Lama in town. Everyone is looking forward to his teachings and prayers over the month. People, including tourists, are curious to participate in his programmes and are trying ways to meet him for his blessings.

Large number of Tibetans living and working in different parts of the county have been returning to Leh to attend to the teachings of the Dalai Lama and also use the opportunity to be with their families.

ALSO READ: Dalai Lama’s Ladakh link

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Dalai Lama’s Ladakh link

Dotted with a string of beautiful ancient monasteries and Gompas, Ladakh has been the hub of Tibetan Buddhism….reports Asian Lite News

 Ladakh is the land of the Buddha as some would tend to say. This is mainly due to the predominant Buddhist population in the region who have over the years nurtured values and traditions of Buddhism.

The extensive presence of Mahayana and Vajrayana form of Buddhism in the region has led to the development of an active Buddhist community which emphasises significantly on the essence of Buddhist education, especially culling out core values from ancient Buddhist traditions.

Dotted with a string of beautiful ancient monasteries and Gompas, Ladakh has been the hub of Tibetan Buddhism. The Gompas are centres for intense education programmes in different facets of Buddhism. The people of Ladakh consider His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, the supreme religious leader of Tibetan Buddhism and regard him as the living incarnation of the Buddha.

In this backdrop, the visit of the Holiness to Ladakh is a significant encouragement to the large Buddhist community of Ladakh as also the remaining population who, irrespective of their background, have a special affection for the Dalai Lama.

Today the mood in Ladakh is one of ecstasy and enthusiasm with the Dalai Lama deciding to spend a good one month in the region.

The people of Ladakh have gone through a difficult phase of transition seeing through the ongoing tension along the border with China with heavy troop and air movement becoming part of their lives.

The Dalai Lama has also not been spared questions from the media on issues that could be rated as ‘controversial’ or ‘challenging’. In the present circumstances, his visit indeed is seen by political strategists as linked to the ongoing tension between India and China along the border.

However, in an effort to remain neutral and not being dragged into any controversy, the Dalai Lama mentioned to reporters that any differences between India and China need to be settled through dialogue and discussion and not through conflict.

He played down the relevance of a standoff-based relationship and instead emphasised the need for the two sides to settle their differences peacefully. His soft and balanced posturing indeed suits all sides and also sends a strong message to the Chinese on his preference for a dialogue and engagement-based approach on controversial issues.

Speaking on Tibet, the Dalai Lama has reiterated the traditional stand that he and his people have been asking for autonomy as against complete independence of Tibet.

However, he mentioned that there are elements within the Chinese government playing up the Tibet issue linking it with apparent demands for independence by the Tibetans. The Dalai Lama believes that the lack of awareness among ordinary Chinese about the Tibet issue was being exploited by certain elements within the government to portray the Tibetans living outside China as enemies of the nation.

However, he emphasised that the Chinese people were increasingly becoming aware of the realities and the tide was turning against the insidious attempts by some sections in China to portray the Dalai Lama and his followers as anti-China.

During the month-long stay in Ladakh, the Dalai Lama is expected to deliver lectures on a range of issues which are seen as part of his teachings to the community.

These lectures would be attended not only by locals but also by a large number of people from different parts of India and abroad, who would be visiting Ladakh specifically for the purpose.

In the post-pandemic scenario, the Dalai Lama has been cautious in engaging the public keeping in mind his delicate age. The Ladakh visit and meetings scheduled there could be seen as his first breakthrough in public interactions in recent times.

Though much has been written and spoken about the visit taking place in the backdrop of difficult and trying times between India and China on the border issue, the fact remains that the Dalai Lama has been visiting Ladakh quite regularly in the past preaching locals in the region on a variety of specialised subjects.

In 2014, the 79th birthday of His Holiness was celebrated in Leh marked by the 33rd Kalachakra Empowerment event on July 6. In 2018, the Dalai Lama held a two-day teaching on Shantideva’s “Guide to the Boddhisattva’s Way of Life,” which was a follow-up of the teachings imparted by him in Leh in 2017.

One of the major contributions by the Dalai Lama to the region has been the statue of ‘Maitreya’ (Buddha of the future), which he inaugurated in 2010 at the Diskit monastery.

During this visit, the Dalai Lama remained immersed in a deep teaching regimen focusing on ‘Kamalashila’, the middle stages of meditation and the Gyalsey Thokme Sangpo’s 37 practices of Bodhisattva.

These teaching sessions are eagerly awaited by young students, who aspire to excel in the field of higher Buddhist knowledge, and also by lay persons who eagerly attend his teachings.

On the whole, the present visit by the Dalai Lama to the region is seen as a blessing by the people of Ladakh who also feel that each time His Holiness visits the region, numerous localised problems associated with the weather, the people, the politics of the region are sorted out.

At a personal level, every Buddhist in Ladakh feels that the visit is like a blessing that would do away with their personal problems. For the next month or so, the people of Ladakh would thus be living under the shadow of the Holiness. For His Holiness, there could be no better way than this to remain ensconced within the frame of giving away his rich knowledge to the people of the “little Tibet,” as Ladakh is often known.

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Dalai Lama visits Leh after 4 years

Chewwang also said that an invitation to visit Ladakh was sent to the Dalai Lama last year, but he could not consider it at that time…reports Asian Lite News

After making an overnight halt at Jammu, Buddhist spiritual leader the Dalai Lama arrived in Leh on Friday where he was accorded a rousing reception, as scores of people queued up on either side of the road to welcome him from the airport to his Choglamsar residence.

“It took two hours to cover a distance of less than 10 km from the airport to Chlogalmsar,” senior political leader and two-time Parliamentarian Thupstan Chhewang told.

Decorated with banners, the streets and market places of Leh wore a celebratory look.

The Dalai Lama is visiting Ladakh after a gap of four years. He will be will be staying in the UT till the mid of August.

“People of Ladakh are fortunate that he is visiting us. Earlier he used to visit Ladakh frequently. But he didn’t come lately due to the pandemic,” Chhewang said, adding, “He is aware of the love and devotion people of Ladakh hold for him, so whenever we request him, he comes to Ladakh.”

Chhewang said the Dalai Lama became emotional on seeing the immense devotion of the people of Ladakh and announced that he will give teachings to his followers during this trip.

“We expect that towards the end of his stay, he will deliver teachings to his followers for at least two days,” Chewwang said.

Chewwang also said that an invitation to visit Ladakh was sent to the Dalai Lama last year, but he could not consider it at that time.

He said it is the Dalai Lama’s first visit outside of Dharamsala since the outbreak of Covid.

“After the outbreak of Covid, he had stayed in isolation and didn’t go anywhere. It is only since last month or so he has started making public appearances,” Chewwang said.

In Ladakh, the Dalai Lama will stay in isolation for the first one week. His next set of engagements will be decided after that.

ALSO READ-Not seeking separation, but meaningful autonomy: Dalai Lama

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Dalai Lama back in public eye

In 2021, the Dalai Lama, who is known worldwide as a statesman, spiritual teacher and theologian, had no public events, while it was just one in 2020, nine in 2019, 10 in 2018 and nine in 2017….reports VISHAL GULATI

Buddhist monk-turned-globetrotting icon of peace, the Dalai Lama, the face of Buddhism for 60 years, last week encouraged the audience to pledge that from today they would do no harm but would only offer help to others.

After a long hiatus, the Dalai Lama started his frequent live public appearances at the Tsuglagkhang, the main temple close to his residence, for delivering a public talk on topics close to his heart, teaching and participating in religious activities.

His Holiness on March 18 made his first public appearance since leaving Bodh Gaya in January 2020 after the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak.

“His Holiness will certainly start travelling abroad, but no plans at the moment,” a spokesman told IANS, saying the 86-year-old pontiff has been invited to several countries but he has cut down public engagements owing to the pandemic.

“In July, he is making a trip to Ladakh,” the spokesman, said, adding, “this will be his first public visit out of Dharamsala since the pandemic outbreak”.

Amidst the pandemic, the spiritual leader, who loves to explain that science and faith can co-exist, had granted teachings and accepted talk invitations virtually only.

In 2021, the Dalai Lama, who is known worldwide as a statesman, spiritual teacher and theologian, had no public events, while it was just one in 2020, nine in 2019, 10 in 2018 and nine in 2017.

In 2018, the Dalai Lama, feted alike by influential people like Barack Obama, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Richard Gere, had public events in seven countries, with five in 2017 and 12 in 2016.

But foreign leaders do make the pilgrimage to visit him amidst the pandemic, as US Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, Uzra Zeya, did in May at his official residence in McLeodganj — a small and quaint hill station in the suburbs of this northern hill town of Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh close to the border with his homeland Tibet.

On his first public appearance, His Holiness remarked: “I had thought to go to Delhi around now to have a medical check-up. However, I don’t feel unwell, in fact I feel fit for anything, so I decided not to go.”

“Usually, during the winter, I go to Bodh Gaya, but again, this year I decided to relax and take things easy here in Dharamsala.”

According to a post on his office’s website, the Dalai Lama gives teachings throughout the year at various times and in different places.

His Holiness also gives public talks. In India, teachings and public talks are usually free and open to the public. However, to attend teachings and public talks outside of India one is usually required to purchase a ticket. The proceeds from the ticket sales are used to cover the costs of the venue and other expenses related to his visit.

His teachings at the main Tibetan temple in Dharamsala several times a year are officially translated into several languages, including English, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Hindi and Japanese on FM channels.

In 1967, the Nobel Peace Laureate made his first visits abroad since going into exile, visiting Japan and Thailand. In 1973, he made his first visit to the West, visiting 12 European countries in a record 75 days. His first visit to the Americas was to the US and Canada in 1979.

Officials of the Dalai Lama’s office say the spiritual guru visits places only on invitation. These include invitations for various religious, social and cultural events.

And he prefers visiting universities and educational institutions to speak on peace, non-violence, environment, promoting human values and Buddhism.

What is a Dalai Lama?

As per his office’s website, the Dalai Lamas are believed to be manifestations of Avalokiteshvara or Chenrezig, the Bodhisattva of Compassion and the patron saint of Tibet. Bodhisattvas are believed to be enlightened beings who have postponed their own nirvana and chosen to take rebirth in order to serve humanity.

The present Dalai Lama, who along with many of his supporters fled his Himalayan homeland and took refuge in India when Chinese troops moved in and took control of Lhasa in 1959, believes in three commitments: The promotion of inner values as the source of real happiness, the fostering of inter-religious harmony, as exemplified in India, and the preservation of Tibet’s language, culture and environment.

He believes in a ‘middle-way’ approach, meaning greater autonomy for Tibet rather than outright independence.

Beijing regards the Dalai Lama as a dangerous “splittist”, or separatist, and frowns on any engagement with him.

A representative from the spiritual leader told IANS that since George H.W. Bush (1991), the Dalai Lama has met all the US Presidents, including Barack Obama on four occasions: February 18, 2010, July 16, 2011, February 21, 2014, and June 15, 2016.

Likewise, he met Bill Clinton and George W. Bush several times.

Every time the meetings prompted a sharp reaction from the Chinese government.

The 14th Dalai Lama was born on July 6, 1935, in a small village in the remote Amdo region of Tibet.

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RSS chief meets Dalai Lama

This was the first high-profile meeting with the spiritual leader since the onset of the pandemic outbreak….reports Asian Lite News

 Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat on Monday called on Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama during his visit to McLeodganj near here, officials said.

Confirming Bhagwat’s visit, an official in the Dalai Lama’s office said that the RSS chief had an audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in his official palace.

Regarding the purpose of the visit, he said it was simply a courtesy call.

Pic credits Twitter @NetTibet

In pictures released by the Tibetan government, Bhagwat was seen gifting a Ganesha idol to His Holiness, who was seen donning a Himachali cap.

The Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) is based in Dharamsala in Kangra district.

This was the first high-profile meeting with the spiritual leader since the onset of the pandemic outbreak.

The RSS chief arrived on a five-day visit to Kangra on December 16.

The Tibetan government-in-exile is not recognised by any country.

Some 1,40,000 Tibetans now live in exile, with over 1,00,000 of them in different parts of India. Over six million Tibetans live in Tibet.

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Dalai Lama in Sri Lanka

The Dalai Lama spoke on the first day of the event on December 17, which was followed by a question and answer session the next day. …reports Asian Lite News

Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama virtually addressed a two-day major event held in Colombo during which he spoke to around 600 monks from Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand.

The event as part of the Maha Satipatthana Sutta celebrations for the Theravada Sangha members from the above mentioned countries.

The Dalai Lama spoke on the first day of the event on December 17, which was followed by a question and answer session the next day.

He addressed the event from his residence in Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh.

The organiser, Sri Lankan Tibetan Buddhist Brotherhood Society aims to raise understanding and awareness of the common Buddhist heritage of the Sri Lankan and Tibetan peoples.

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