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Dalai Lama calls for collective effort to preserve Tibetan culture
Phayul[Sunday, March 08, 2009 20:43]
By Phurbu Thinley

Tibetan spirutal leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama (Center) addresses a religious congregation in Dharamsala, India. Also seen in the photo are: 17th Gyalwa Karmapa (R), Menri Trizin (Head of Bon Tradition) and Sakya Trizin Rinpoche (L).   (Photo: Tenzin Dasel)
Tibetan spirutal leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama (Center) addresses a religious congregation in Dharamsala, India. Also seen in the photo are: 17th Gyalwa Karmapa (R), Menri Trizin (Head of Bon Tradition) and Sakya Trizin Rinpoche (L). (Photo: Tenzin Dasel)
Dharamsala, March 8: Exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama Sunday urged heads and representatives of various Tibetan religious sects, including the traditional Bon tradition, to shoulder greater and effective responsibility in making collective contribution in the preservation of Tibetan cultural identity and its spiritual traditions.

“Spiritual culture of Tibet is interlinked to Tibet’s cause, and we must make some collective contribution to preserve and keep it alive for our common cause,” the Dalai Lama said.

“Being into exile has offered opportunity for us to open up and come closer together rather than remaining ourselves aloof and isolated like in the past,” His Holiness told the gathering of religious heads and representatives, however, adding “Of course it is a sad and tragic experience to be exiled from one’s homeland.”

“Our struggle has continued since China invaded Tibet some 50 or 60 years ago. So it is now time that the great religious traditions of Tibet to realise the need to work closely together in making greater collective contribution. In exile if we continue to remain isolated like in the past, it is not going serve our common cause.

“If we fail to build an accord among us to contribute collectively, it will create a real danger in the long run,” His Holiness said.

In Tibet, the Dalai Lama said, Chinese authorities had been slowly depriving Tibetans of their cultural affinity and identity in order to promote Chinese culture and language among them.

The Tibetan spiritual and political leader was speaking on the last day of a 3-day Tibetan Religious gathering organized by the Religion and Culture Department of the Central Tibetan Administration.

Religious leaders and reincarnated lamas, including the Sakya Trizin Rinpoche, Gyalwa Karmapa and Menri Trizin and, abbots and learned teachers from four schools of the Tibetan Buddhism and the traditional Bon are participating in the meeting which began Friday in the residential premise of the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala.

Top brass of the Tibet’s Government in exile, including the Prime Minister Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche, also made their presence on the opening session of third day’s meeting this morning.

Photo: Tenzin Dasel/Phayul
Photo: Tenzin Dasel/Phayul
This is the 10th Religious Conference till date. The last conference was held at the Norbulingka Institute, Dharamsala, in June 2006.

The religious meeting is held to commemorate the 50 years of being in exile and also to coincide with the 50th Anniversary of the Tibetan Uprising Day that will be observed on Tuesday.

“This is the first official program to commemorate our 50 years in exile. For this we sent invitation to some 82 spiritual leaders and representatives. Of them 62 have managed to participate in this meeting,” Jeshong Lobsang Tsultrim, secretary for Department of the Religion and Culture of the Central Tibetan Administration, said.

Among other things, Tsultrim said, participant of the meeting will discuss on the possible formation of a high-level managing body for religious traditions in the exile Tibetan community and to discuss on a resolution regulating “living Buddhas” in Tibetan Buddhism.

In recent times the practice of reincarnation of “Living Buddhas” became a thorny issue for China. In 2007, China's State Administration of Religious Affairs implemented a new law called the order no. 5, containing 14 articles on Management Measures for the Reincarnation of 'Living Buddhas' in Tibetan Buddhism.

The order bans Tibetan lamas, or trulkus, from reincarnating without Chinese government approval and says anyone outside China cannot influence the reincarnation process and only monasteries in China can apply for permission.

The move has been denounced by many as another attempt by communist Chinese leaders to undermine Tibetan culture and even absurdly to control the religious afterlife.

Dharamsala based Tibetan Government-in-exile and Tibetan Buddhist heads, now mostly based outside of Tibet, have repeatedly repudiated the order as Chinese Communist government’s blatant interference to tighten its control over Tibetan Buddhism and its unique tradition.
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