By Tenzin Dharpo
The Dalai Lama overseeing the proceedings at the Tsuklakhang temple in Dharamshala on June 3, 2019. Phayul photo- Kunsang Gashon.
DHARAMSHALA, June 4: The annual teaching on the introduction to Buddhism by the His Holiness the Dalai Lama to students began yesterday at the Theckchen Choeling Tsuglakhang here. The three-day teaching on 37 Practices of Boddhisatva
is being attended by over 8000 people in addition to 1200 students from the TCV schools and Men-Tsee-Khang institution.
The Dalai Lama told the students, “The students among you may have been born in India, but you are Tibetan by ancestry. Those of us who are Tibetan will remain so until we die. There are myths about the Tibetan people’s origins to which I don’t pay much attention. However, there is archaeological evidence that people have been living in Tibet for 30-40,000 years. Nevertheless, what is special about us is our religion and culture.”
The Tibetan leader who is a staunch follower of the Nalanda tradition heaped tribute to the founding fathers who introduced Buddhism into Tibet, such as Indian guru Shantarakshita, the three prominent Tibetan kings, the translators of Tibet’s pioneering Buddhist texts and Tibetan masters who have preserved and practiced Buddhism in Tibet.
Tibetan students at the teaching, Phayul photo: Kunsang Gashon
“Buddhism arose like the sun over Asia bringing illumination to many. In the west, Christianity prevailed, in the Middle East, Islam, whereas in India various Hindu schools, Jainism and Buddhism flourished. Those of us who live in freedom have the opportunity to keep alive this vast tradition of Buddhism—do your best,” the 83-year-old advised the youngsters.
The Tibetan leader covered Thokmey Sangpo’s 37 Practices of Bodhisattvas
on the opening day while scholar and Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche gave further teachings today. On Wednesday, the Dalai Lama will confer the Avalokiteshvara empowerment (Tib. Chenresig Wang) to devotees.
The annual teachings to the Tibetan students that began in 2007 was started by the octogenarian Tibetan leader who advocated the practical inclusion of Buddhism in Tibetan schools. Besides classes on introduction to Buddhism, students are also taught to debate which is a rudimentary element of learning Buddhist philosophies through logic and reasoning.