By Tenzin Dharpo
The Dalai Lama during the tenshug ceremony at Tsuglakhang temple on Feb. 27, 2018. Phayul photo- Kunsang Gashon
DHARAMSHALA, Feb. 28: During a long life prayer ceremony on Wednesday at the Tsuklakhang temple here, the exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama said that he must take more rest and lessen his public engagements in order to live a longer life.
The long life prayer (Tib. Tenshug) is a Buddhist ceremony that is offered by devotees for their spiritual teacher’s health and longevity. The tenshug yesterday was offered by the exile Tibetan government’s Department of Education, Gyalrong community in exile and Tibet, All India Tibetan sweater sellers’ association and Tibetan medical practitioner Kelsang Dhonden.
The prayer was led by the former Kalon Tripa Prof. Samdong Rinpoche who recited the Mandala offering, and attended by the CTA President Dr Lobsang Sangay, members of the Kashag, Deputy Speaker Acharya Yeshi Phuntsok, members of the Tibetan Parliament in exile and officials of CTA.
“The members of organisers and Tibetan people in general have expressed unwavering faith and prayers for my long life and health. This sacred prayer ceremony is representational of the spiritual bond between the teacher and his disciples. Therefore, I am certain that your prayers will surely bear positive results,” he further said.
Reading the statement submitted by the four groups, His Holiness commented that he has an intimate connection with Gyalrong and contemplated on the sorry state of affairs in Tibet at the moment.
“Even though Tibet has landed in a pitiful political state after its disintegration in 9th century, our culture and religion have kept us together,” he said. “From Ladakh in the west to Mon in the east, Kangyur and Tengyur has bound us together.”
As His Holiness inches closer to turning 85 according to Tibetan tradition, he said he has exceeded the lifespan of the longest-living Dalai Lama in Gedun Drupa, the first Dalai Lama who lived to the ripe age of 84 for his time.
“But I too will gradually pass away,” said the Tibetan leader.
Talking on the never-ending engagements that demand his presence, His Holiness repeated the statement he made in Ladakh, “I asked if they would prefer the Dalai Lama to live a long life with fewer engagements or a very active but short life?”
At the recently concluded 7th Tibetan General Conference on Education attended by close to 250 teachers, administrators and education professionals, it was decided to add “secular ethics” to the Basic Tibetan Education Policy implemented 13 years ago.
His Holiness, who was apprised of the outcome of the conference commented that Tibetan students by the virtue of being born Tibetan are already the holder of values espoused by the Nalanda tradition of Tibetan Buddhism and that secular ethics should be incorporated as a purely academic subject for students with no religious affiliation or those not initiated into the Nalanda tradition of logic and psychology.
The Sonamling Tibetan settlement in Ladakh’s local assembly is scheduled to hold a meeting later this month along with the CRO and camp leaders, to specifically discuss how to prevent the overwhelming requests for visits and audience with the Tibetan leader when he visits Ladakh. A source told Phayul that the meeting’s proposals will be forwarded to the private office of the Dalai Lama and the CTA.
The age and health of the Tibetan leader has become a contentious issue in the last decade with many saying that the Tibetan leader is synonymous with the Tibetan movement and identity. However, the Dalai Lama himself has rubbished such opinions.
The octogenarian Tibetan leader who is approaching 84 years of age has said that he is feeling healthy and is bothered only by age-related ailments from time to time. He has said that he is confident of living at least till the age of 100.
The Dalai Lama has dialled down on his public engagements especially when it comes to travelling for long distance flights overseas. Instead, the Dalai Lama is seen resorting to more and more video-conferencing and video messages for his followers and devotees worldwide. With inputs from Tenzin Sangmo