By Phurbu Thinley
His Holiness the Dalai Lama with Himachal Chief Minister Prof P K Dhumal (2nd Right) Opposition Congress leader Mrs Vidhya Stokes (1st Left)(L) and Assembly Speaker Mr Tulsi Ram (1st Right) during a breakfast reception organised by the Tibetan Parliament in Exile at Tsuglagkhang, in Dharamsala, India, Thursday, December 9, 2010 (Photo: Phayul/Norbu Wangyal)
Dharamsala, Dec 9: His Holiness the Dalai Lama this morning shared a light moment with the Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prof Prem Kumar Dhumal and members of the state legislative assembly (Vidhan Sabha) during a breakfast reception hosted in their honour by the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile.
The honorary reception hosted in the courtyard of the Main Temple (Tsuglagkhang) here came on the concluding day of a four-day winter session of the Himachal state assembly, which began on Dec 6.
Mrs Gyari Dolma, the deputy speaker of the Tibetan parliament, described the "simple breakfast reception" as an “occasion to cherish and further strengthen" the bond of friendship and love with the people and leaders of the Himachal Pradesh state.
The leader of the opposition party Mrs Vidhya Stokes and Vidhan Sabha Speaker Mr Tulsi Ram and ministers of the Himachal state government were also present at the reception. Members of the Tibetan Parliament's standing committee and the Cabinet (Kashag) of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile also joined the reception.
Since 2004, the winter sessions of the Himachal Pradesh State Legislative Assembly have been held in Dharamsala, the seat of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile, while the summer sessions continue to be held in the state capital Shimla.
Addressing Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal as “my chief minister”, the Dalai Lama called the morning gathering a happy occassion to "meet many old friends".
Dalai Lama also said his being in the state for the last 50 years and his meeting with different people in the power has helped deepen his understanding and appreciation of the process of democracy.
"In Democracy people have the choice to elect their leaders and after every few years there are new people coming to power. This is a very good feature of democracy. In the last fifty years of my stay in this state, I have been able to meet and know many different leaders. And this has helped me better understand and appreciate the process of democracy," the Dalai Lama said.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama walks hand in hand with Himachal CM Prof Prem Kumar Dhumal (L) towards the Tsuglakgkhang courtyard for an early morning breakfast reception hosted by the Tibetan Parliament in exile, in Dharamsala, Thursday, December 9, 2010. (Photo: Phayul/Norbu Wangyal)
The Dalai Lama has been living in Dharamsala since he fled to India in 1959 following the Chinese occupation of Tibet.
To mark the 50th anniversary of the Dalai Lama's arrival in the hill state, the Tibetan Government-in-Exile, earlier in April this year organised a two-day event named “Thank You Himachal”.
The Dalai Lama arrived in Dharamsala on April 30, 1960, a year after entering India, to shift from his temporary base in Mussoorie in the present-day Uttarakhand state. Since then he has lived here with thousands of his followers.
Speaking at the breakfast reception here this morning, Mr Dhumal said it was a wonderful occasion to seek blessing from the Dalai Lama, whom he described as "the greatest living Buddhist monk of this era" and also an "apostle of Mahatma Gandhi's message of peace and non-violence.”
"I pray for the long and healthy life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama so that His Holiness can continue to bless us and also spread the message of Buddha as long as possible," he said.
Mr Dhumal also expressed hope that the Tibet issue would be resolved sooner or later.
Opposition Leader Vidhya Stokes said the Dalai Lama's presence in Dharamsala has made the place more beautiful.
“We are fortunate and blessed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama's presence in the state, and we thank him for sustaining Dharamsala as a very beautiful place.”