By Phurbu Thinley
His Holiness the Dalai Lama greets crowd as he leaves the Main Tibetan Temple (Tsuglag Khang) following the long life prayer ceremony on Monday, March 3, 2008 (photo by Tenzin Dasel / Phayul.com)
Dharamsala, March 3: Exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama said time was bound to come for Tibet issue to be resolved peacefully during a collective long life prayer (Tenshug
) offered to him at a ceremony held here today.
In his brief address, His Holiness the Dalai Lama thanked the organisers for the long life prayer offerings. “On my part, I will offer my prayers to live together with you for a long time and definitely there will come a time when Tibet issue will be resolved peacefully,” the Tibetan leader told a large prayer gathering of thousands of Tibetans.
A grand long life offering ceremony was collectively conducted for the Dalai Lama by Lithang Tenshug Committee, Gaden Choekhor Ling Monastery and Gu-Chu-Sum (Ex-Political Prisoners’ Association) Movement of Tibet.
The prayer ceremony was offered as a collective expression of gratitude and reverence to His Holiness the Dalai Lama for his gifted and benevolent leadership.
A huge Avalokiteshwara (the Buddha of Infinite Compassion) statue was part of the long life offerings made to His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Monday (Photo by Tenzin Dasel /Phayul.com)
ceremony was conducted by prayer Dignitaries including a former abbot of Gyume Tantric Monastery in the presence of the Tibetan leader. The ceremony was also attended by senior officials of the Central Tibetan Administration, based in Dharamsala.
In His speech, the Dalai Lama recounted the invaluable contribution made by Shang Gaden Choekhor Monastery (now based in Pokhara, Nepal) toward the Buddha dharma in producing several eminent Buddhist scholars in the past and urged the monastic community to relive its tradition.
His Holiness expressed sympathy as well as inspiration to the members of the Tibetan Ex-political prisoners Association who have long endured suffering for the cause of Tibetan people. “You were jailed and prosecuted not because of committing some criminal offences, but simply for standing up for the cause of Tibetan people,” the Dalai Lama said. He also commended the association’s current work for the welfare of the ex-political prisoners and the cause of Tibetan people.
To Lithang people, He said Lithang had had special relevance in being the birth place of two previous Dalai Lamas. His Holiness also lauded the Lithang people’s commitment for the greater cause of Tibetan people. His Holiness said the people of Lithang were among the first to resist China’s brutal and immoral aggression against Tibetan people when the communist troops first advanced into Tibet.
Lithang in Tibet’s Kham Province has long been a politically active place in the Tibetan freedom movement ever since the Chinese Communist troops marched into Tibetan territory in 1949. Lithang is also known for being the birth place of the 7th Dalai Lama Kelsang Gyatso and 10th Dalai Lama, Tsultrim Gyatso.
Today’s long life offering ceremony was led by the Lithang Tenshug Committee on behalf of Lithang people, both inside and outside of Tibet.
Tibetan monks hold Buddhist artifacts during the long life offering ceremony for His Holiness the Dalai Lama (Photo by Tenzin Dasel / Phayul.com)
Speaking to thousands of Tibetans gathered at the TsuglagKhang courtyard for the long life offering ceremony, Dr Lobsang Sangay, a Lithangpa by birth and a scholar on Tibet at the law school of Harvard University, said people of Lithang are known for making supreme sacrifices for the cause of Tibet, showing unwavering faith in His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s leadership and a staunch advocate of indestructible unity of Tibet.
“Even today, these characteristic spirits of Lithang people for the Tibetan cause have not waned away,” he said. Citing cases of Trulku Tenzin Delek, Rongye Adrak and others from Lithang, Mr Sangay said people in Lithang continue to further reinforce their struggle for Tibetan unity and freedom, and their call for His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s return to Tibet.
Mr Sangay called on fellow Lithang people to hold on to their nationalistic spirit in making supreme sacrifices for the cause of Tibet and Tibetan unity.
Cultural songs and dances were presented by Lithang people at the temple courtyard, showcasing the region’s unique and colourful tradition. The show kindled a celebration mood for hundreds of Tibetan and foreign visitors who joined in the prayer ceremony at a packed main temple courtyard.
Throughout 2007, Tibetans across the globe held series of occasional prayer gatherings and religious ceremonies for His Holiness' long life and well-being. Last year, according to Tibetan Lunar calendar, His Holiness turned 73, which is considered one of the obstructie stages in one’s life.
Tibetans believe conducting long life prayer offerings will clear the impediments in one's life.
The Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) conducted a very elaborate long life offering ceremony on 3 January 2008 in Drepung Monastery, in South India, as “an official expression of gratitude and reverence to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and his successful passing over the obstacle year based on his merits and that of entire Tibetan people” and to “celebrate the ever flourishing of his meritorious service and receiving numerous international recognitions, especially, the US Congressional Gold Medal conferred to him by President George W Bush in Capitol Rotunda on 17 October”.