By Phurbu Thinley
His Holiness the Dalai Lama leads a mass prayer service for the victims of the Kyegudo earthquake at the Main Tibetan Temple (Tsuglagkhang) in Dharamsala, India, Tuesday, April 27, 2010. Gyalwang Karmapa (seen right) and other high lamas and senior leaders of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile took part in the prayer gathering. Tenshug or a long-life prayer ceremony for the Dalai Lama was also jointly conducted by Jonang Tradition of the Tibetan Buddhism and Dharamsala Tibetan Community earlier in the morning to mark the 50th anniversary of the Tibetan leader’s arrival to Dharamsala, his exile hometown in north India. (Photo by Abhishek Madhukar)
Dharamsala, April 27: His Holiness the Dalai Lama Tuesday led a mass prayer service for the victims of the recent earthquake in Tibet at the main Tibetan Buddhist temple here.
The prayer gathering, which lasted for over two hours this afternoon, was attended by hundreds and thousands of Tibetan exiles, including Buddhist monks and nuns, and non-Tibetan sympathisers.
The prayer service is the second one held every week since the devastating earthquake, which, according to official figures, killed more than 2000 people. Unconfirmed sources from the quake-hit area, however, contend that many times the official figures had died.
Weekly prayer service for seven consecutive weeks after the death of a person has religious significance in the Tibetan Buddhist custom.
The Dalai Lama, before presiding over the prayer service, expressed respect and admiration for the solidarity and mutual assistance displayed by Tibetan and Chinese people towards the relief and rescue efforts in Kyegudo.
“It is very encouraging seeing Tibetan people, both lay and monks, making outstanding contribution towards the relief and rescue efforts after the earthquake. I want to applaud and thank them,” the Dalai Lama said.
“It is also equally encouraging to know about the overwhelming response and sense of concern shown by Chinese people from different parts of China towards the victims and survivors of the earthquake. So I very much appreciate them for showing genuine feeling and support,” His Holiness added.
The Dalai Lama, revered by Tibetans as a Bodhisattva of compassion, had expressed his eagerness to visit the area to comfort the survivors and pray for the victims.
According to official Chinese statistics, Tibetans account for over 97% of the population in the affected area, one of several Tibetan Autonomous Prefectures that lie outside of the so-called Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).
Survivors of the earthquake have also written an open letter
to China’s President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao urging them to allow the exiled Tibetan leader to visit the quake-hit region and provide comfort to those affected.
Beijing has so far declined to respond directly to the request.
When asked if he would comment about his eagerness to visit the quake-affected area by a journalist here today, the Dalai Lama simply said: “That I am hoping, we will see, not clear, not easy.”
The Dalai Lama, however, said it would be more important to look forward and act with self confidence in rebuilding lives after the tragedy.
“So now looking forward, we must act with self confidence and built our community or village,” the Dalai Lama said.
“There are lot of money now, I think (as a result of) response from outside world and from within China. I think a number of Chinese (are) donating a lot of money, so with this money you should properly utilize with self confidence,” said the Dalai Lama.
“I think the response for donation fund is immense. So I want to express to those Chinese donors, you see, they (are) really showing genuine sort of feeling, so I very much appreciate,” the Dalai Lama added.