By Phurbu Thinley
His Holiness the Dalai Lama wears a ceremonial hat during a prayer ceremony at the Tsuglakhang temple in Dharmsala, India, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2010. The Central Tibetan Administration led by the Tibetan Prime Minister Samdhong Rinpoche organized a prayer ceremony for the longevity of Dalai Lama. (AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia)
Dharamsala, Jan 23: Tibetan people led by the Tibetan Government-in-Exile conducted a very elaborate Tenshug
(long-life prayer offering) ceremony for His Holiness the Dalai Lama here this morning as a collective expression of gratitude and reverence for his leadership.
In his brief address following the prayer ceremony, the 74-year old exiled Tibetan leader thanked both the Tibetan government and the Tibetan people for the long-life prayer offerings.
The ceremony was attended by senior officials, including the Tibetan Prime Minister Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche and his cabinet members, of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile. The Dalai Lama's special envoy Lodi Gyari and envoy Kelsang Gyaltsen, who are currently in Dharamsala for a task force meeting, were also present during the ceremonial function.
Cultural songs and dances were presented by school children and performers representing different regions of Tibet at the temple courtyard, showcasing the Tibetan people’s unique and richly colourful traditions. 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.
Exile Tibetans offer prayers for the longevity of His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Tsuglakhang temple in Dharmsala, India, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2010. (AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia)
Speaking to thousands of Tibetan people gathered for the ceremony, the Dalai Lama stressed on the need to shoulder collective and greater responsibility towards the larger cause of Tibet.
“On a lighter level, it appears we are in a celebratory and relaxing ceremony, but on a deeper level, this gathering serves as a reminder that the Tibetan people’s identity, the unique and rich cultural heritage of Tibet and the Buddha Dharma are surviving under a critical stage,” the Dalai Lama said.
“Keeping these grim realities on our mind, there is an urgent need to make serious and collective efforts on our part,” His Holiness added.
“Above all, we must bear in mind that Tibetans inside Tibet, regardless of their age and all the hardships, have always remained strong and unified in their spirit,” the Dalai Lama said.
“And those of us living in exile, we are representatives of the majority of those Tibetans living inside Tibet,” the Dalai Lama said. “And living in the free world, it would be wrong if we give up or neglect our responsibilities,” the Dalai Lama added.
The Tibetan leader also urged Tibetans both in and outside of Tibet to make more concerted effort to appreciate and preserve the rich cultural heritage and spiritual nowledge of Tibet.
Tibetans believe conducting long life prayer offerings will clear the obstructions in one's life, thereby advancing one’s continued wellbeing.
Considered the living embodiment of Chenrezig
, the Bodhisattva of compassion, the Dalai Lama is revered by Tibetan people as both the spiritual and political leader of Tibet.
Born Lhamo Dhondrub on July 6, 1935, to a peasant family in northeastern Tibet, he was identified through tests at the age of 2 as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso. In 1950, the People's Republic of China invaded and occupied Tibet. A popular uprising in 1959 against continuing Chinese presence failed, and forced the Dalai Lama and thousands of Tibetan to flee Tibet. Since 1960, the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government have been in exile in Dharmsala, from where they lobby the world to help regain Tibetan freedom.