By Tenzin Monlam
His Holiness the Dalai Lama greeting senior Sera monks who originally escaped from Tibet in 1959 before their meeting at Sera Monastery in Bylakuppe, Karnataka, India on December 16, 2015. Photo/Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
DHARAMSHALA, December 17: The Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Wednesday met a group of 72 monks who fled into exile in 1959 along with him. He addressed them before the start of the third day of 30th Mind and Life conference in Bylakuppe.
He recalled that they ‘didn’t know what to do’ when they first arrived at Missamari in Assam, which was a hot remote place with poor food.
“Many of you monks fell ill. We thought of shifting to another place, but the Abbots felt that if they were dispersed many of the monks would disrobe, so it was better to stay together where they were. Eventually we were able to realize a plan to establish settlements elsewhere and you were able to come together to South India,” the Dalai Lama said.
The 80-year old leader also thanked the monks for having their utter faith in him and their hard work in the preservation of the Tibetans tradition in those testing times.
“Chinese have found they can’t uproot our religious culture, they have been forced to interpret our dedication to it as an expression of an urge for separatism. However, we are following a non-violent path; we are united and will not give in.”
Despite the many ups and downs in Tibetan history, His Holiness feels that we are still together because of the dedication towards Buddhism of the great religious kings in the past. He said, “In the past, monks used to come to our monasteries from Mongolia and China. Now we have people coming to join us from places that have not traditionally been Buddhist, scientists among them.”
“Nowadays people offer Long Life Offerings, but the time will come when we have to go. It’s the same for you, and when that time comes what you’ve learned and practised of the Buddha’s teachings will be important,” His Holiness said before handing them each a statue of Buddha. He asked them to keep it in their room and ‘recite Nagarjuna’s verse of salutation to the Buddha as I do.’
Today is the last day of the Mind and Life conference, after which His Holiness on December 19 will inaugurate the new Assembly Hall of Tashi Lhunpo Monastery. Followed by nine days of teachings on the 18 Great Stages of the Path (Lam Rim) Commentaries at the monastery from December 20 to 29.