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Zamling Chisang in Gangtok 2013Gangtok : On 23 June 2013, Universal Prayer Day (Tibetan: Zamling Chisang) was commemorated, perhaps for the very first time at Chol-kha Sum Hall in Gangtok, Sikkim.

Honoured guest Ven. Choekhor Rinpoche of Sera Drophenling Monastery, Gangtok, and Mr. Jigme Dorjee, Welfare Officer, Gangtok presided over the ceremony in the presence of several other special guests and local Tibetans residing in Gangtok.

The ceremonies began with a prayer for the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the well-being of all sentient beings. Sang sol (incense offering by burning juniper twigs and tossing roasted barley flour in the air) was offeredd to the Dharma protectors' deities and spirits of Tibet and Himalayan region including Sikkim.

In his introductory speech, Mr. Lobsang Dorjee, the Chief Organizer, noted that "while the day is highly significant from religious/cultural point of view, at the same time it marks an important historical landmark in the annals of Tibetan history. "While our brothers and sisters in Tibet are self-immolating for the cause of religious freedom and for the cause of Tibet; we Tibetans living in free countries must take initiative in observance and participation in important day like today", he added further.

The Special Guest of the event, Most Venerable Choekhor Rinpoche, spoke about the history behind the celebration of this auspicious festival. "During the reign of the 38th king of the Yarlung Dynasty, the Emperor of Tibet, Trisong Detsen (742-797) invited Khenchen Boddhisattva (Santarakshita) from India to establish and propagate Buddha Dharma into Tibet. Tibet was then beset by local mountain deities obstructing the wishes of the Emperor. As per the advice of Santakrakshita, the Emperor invited Padmasambhava from India to help overcome their difficulties. Guru Rinpoche used his tantric powers to subdue the evil deities and made them protectors of Tibet. Trisong Detsen then had Samye Monastery built in 8th century and it is the first Buddhist monastery in Tibet (779 AD) and subsequent ordination of first Buddhist monks took place. During the opening ceremony of Samye Monastery, Guru Rinpoche composed 'GyaNgen Lha Sang', Sang Sol text for the local deities as a gift for their oath to protect Buddha Dharm and thus, the Zamling Chisang celebration began."

Mr. Jigme Dorjee applauded the initiative taken by Mr. Lobsang Dorjee (Tibetan Film Director), Tsangdak Tashi Phuntsok, (Meylong-7), and Mr. Sonam Topgyal (Social Activist) in organizing the event. He's stressed on the need to celebrate this festival every year henceforth and to keep the Tibetan spirit alive in Gangtok.

Universal Prayer Day (Zamling Chisang) falls on the 15th day of the 5th month of the Tibetan lunar calendar and this year it fell on 23 traditional festival is a Tibetan Buddhist festival and a time for spiritual cleansing. It is a day to celebrate Guru Rinpoches' subjugation of local deities and the founding of the Samye Monastery, Tibet's first monastery.

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