By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, March 18: The Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama gave his first public appearance in two years at Tsuglagkhang temple on Friday, where he reassured the public of his good health. “I was first supposed to go to Delhi for a check-up, but look I can even fight off the doctors . . . The Lama from Kumbum is in good health,” he said chuckling.
“I am getting older, but I think I’ll live for at least ten more years, to lead and advise the people. There is a slight problem in my knee, so when I see the need, I might use a walking stick or a wheelchair possibly in the future,” the Nobel laureate further remarked.
“In our history, especially King Songtsen Gampo had a clear vision of the need for a separate Tibetan language; unlike Pali or Chinese script. Our script and language were made available for all the three regions in Tibet,” the octogenarian leader said, inviting all Tibetans, especially students and young people to participate in preserving this distinct language.
“Tibetan people continue to struggle due to political reasons, and are stripped away from practising one’s religion, but Chenrezig is in the hearts of all Tibetans across the world. Om Mani Padme Hum can never be altered or erased from us. Tibetan Buddhism is gradually gaining attention in China,” he told the packed audience in thousands, many of who had come from neighbouring states in India. The Dalai Lama went on to highlight why Tibetan Buddhism as an intellectual quest that surpasses other religions in its rigorous practice of critical thinking. He concluded by urging all Tibetans to carry forward the practice of critical thinking which is inherent in the legacies of past scholars and leaders of Tibet.
The foremost Buddhist figure gave a short teaching from the Jataka Tales followed by the Ceremony for Generating Bodhichitta (semkye).
His Holiness was last seen outside his residence briefly in March 2021 during his first Covid-19 jab at the local hospital in Dharamshala. The teaching marks the first public appearance after over two years when Office of Dalai Lama decided to call off all public gatherings and teachings in January 2020, well before coronavirus was declared a pandemic worldwide.