By Tenzin Sangmo
DHARAMSHALA, June 3: The Tibetan leader Dr. Lobsang Sangay has urged Tibetans to strive for unity, at the inaugural ceremony of New York & New Jersey (NYNJ) community hall “Phuntsok Deshe,’ graced by His Eminence Sakya Ghongma Rinpoche's presence.
The inauguration of the community hall of Tibetans in NY&NJ in Queens, New York marked the end of decades-long endeavour by the growing Tibetan community to have a centre to come together and preserve their culture and identity.
North America Representative Ngodup Tsering attended as the special guest, along with Tibetan parliamentarians and city council members among other prominent guests.
The President of the community’s 16th board member, Sonam, thanked individual donors, welfare committees, institutes and all fifteen former board members and Tibetans in the area for their monetary contribution and other services rendered in the completion of the project.
He also thanked the office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Sakya Ghongma Rinpoche Dr. Lobsang Sangay for their sustained moral support and assistance in raising funds.
The street outside the community hall will be called Tibet Way. Jimmy Van Bramer, the Council Member of the 26th District, which includes Woodside in Queens, co-sponsored the renaming of the street and said he loves Tibet and representing the very large, very vibrant, growing Tibetan community in Queens.
The President of the Tibetan community of NYNY claimed that the total expense for the project amounted to $10 million of which, six million is still owed as a loan.
Youdon Thonden and Kevin, who donated a sum of $1 million to the project, were presented with Tibetan scroll paintings as a token of gratitude along with other major donors and individuals who extended significant support.
The representative of North America said he hopes that people would make it a learning centre, a wish His Holiness the Dalai Lama expressed in 2014 at the inaugural ceremony of the Tibetan community hall in California.
Dr. Sangay said the community is lucky to have the hall named by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and inaugurated by His Eminence Sakya Ghongma Rinpoche as the two share a precious bond, with the latter having conducted the role of Dorje Lopon during many Tenshuk events (life-long offering ceremony)
Dr. Sangay said that His Holiness had asked him to travel more, adding that the onus is now on the Tibetan leadership and people to take on bigger political responsibility, unite and focus on the larger national issue at hand, instead of remaining engrossed in divisive infighting.
His Holiness the Sakya Trizin, congratulated the community and asked everyone to work together, saying said no amount of prayer, religious offering or merits could compare to following the teaching of one’s teacher.
New York and New Jersey area is home to more than 10,000 Tibetans, mostly in Queens, NY, represented by the office of Dalai Lama in Washington DC.