News and Views on Tibet

Dalai Lama to visit Ladakh in a first after pandemic

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His Holiness the Dalai Lama with Thiksay Rinpoche at the former's residence in Dharamshala (Photo/OHHDL)

By Choekyi Lhamo

DHARAMSHALA, April 18: The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama has agreed to visit the Union Territory of Ladakh at the request of Thiksay Rinpoche and former Indian lawmaker Thupten Tsewang, the current president of the Ladakh Buddhist Association, between July and August. The two representatives had a special audience with the octogenarian leader on Monday.

According to the CTA-run website, the President of the Ladakh Buddhist Association confirmed the potential visit by saying that the “followers in Ladakh would be delighted” to see His Holiness later this year. The proposed Ladakh visit is of great importance as it will rekindle the close relationship the Tibetan leader shares with Ladakh and its people. Prior to the pandemic, the 86-year-old visited Ladakh almost every year during the monsoon season.

The Tibetan spiritual leader had only granted virtual teachings and accepted talk invitations, followed by in-person audiences until very recently when the worst of the pandemic had eased globally.

The in-person audiences only began in December after the Nobel laureate granted an audience to the incumbent President Penpa Tsering. Following that, he has met Drikyung Chetsang Rinpoché of Kagyu lineage, Czech Republic delegation, and participants of recent TIPA’s Shoton [Yogurt] festival along with a teaching for the general public at the Dalai Lama temple, which amassed over a thousand followers.

The teaching in March marked the first public appearance after over two years, as the Office of Dalai Lama decided to call off all public gatherings and teachings due to the pandemic. The visit to the sensitive Indian region by the highest Buddhist spiritual figure, many say, would also be under the lens of both Chinese and Indian governments, against the backdrop of the Galwan valley clash in July 2020 between China and India at the Indo-Tibetan border in Ladakh.

One Response

  1. It’s my great pleasure that the His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama will visit Ladakh this year in the year of July/August. No doubt the Ladakhis and Tibetans share the same cultural/Buddhist values and certainly of great significance in creating the peaceful environment in the border dispute. I hope the Tibetans now under Chinese illegal occupation should also be allowed to receive HH the DL’s teachings in the near future in the hope reducing the border crisis.

    And as much we hope the Ladakh Buddhist Association should urge Indian government for HH the DL for a pilgrimage visit to Buddhist sacred sites in China. This of course to happen will be a great challenging and full of struggles but LBA should exert its pressure to Indian government for HH the DL visit to be strictly based upon spiritual purpose!

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