By Tenzin Nyidon
DHARAMSHALA, March 15: The exile Tibetan government, known officially as the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) on Wednesday offered a long-life prayer (Tenshug) to the foremost Tibetan spiritual leader, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, on behalf of Tibetans inside and outside Tibet at Thekchen Choeling Tsuglagkhang temple in Dharamshala. The ceremony was attended by the executive head of the CTA Sikyong Penpa Tsering, members of the Tibetan Parliament in exile and officials of the Tibetan government in exile.
Today’s ceremony for long life prayer is characterised by ‘Buddha Amitayus’- ‘Buddha of Longevity’ or ‘Boundless Life’, unlike the usual Tenshug that is performed with prayer offerings and visualisation of the White Tara. The ceremony was led and presided by ranking lamas from different schools of Tibetan Buddhism and Tibetan’s native religion, Bon. Ganden Tri Rinpoche (Head of the Gelug sect) also took part in the ceremony by offering Mandela to the foremost Buddhist leader and imploring him to live long. Tenshug or long life prayer is a Buddhist ritual that implores and requests one’s teacher or Buddha to live long thus continuing to serve as a beacon for all sentient beings.
Addressing the devotees, the octogenarian leader thanked the organisers for offering the Tenshug on behalf of Tibetans inside and outside Tibet. In his address, the Dalai Lama once again reassured the general public, especially Tibetans, that he is in ‘good health’ despite his advanced age.
In 2016, a report claimed that the 88-year-old exiled leader was diagnosed with prostate cancer which was later rubbished by his personal physician, Dr. Tseten Dorjee as ‘false’ and ‘baseless’. The reincarnation of the foremost Tibetan leader has been a much politicised issue by China, particularly over apprehensions that Beijing might install their own 15th Dalai Lama, after the demise of the present Dalai Lama.
However, many including international bodies and governments have criticised China’s interference in the succession process of the next Dalai Lama and called for respect for the religious and cultural rights of the Tibetan people, while reassuring that they will never accept any Dalai Lama appointed by the Chinese government.