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01october2011-teachingsDharamshala: The spiritual leader of Tibet, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama commenced four days of Buddhist teachings at the main Tibetan temple in the Himalayan mountainside town of McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, north India, on Saturday (October 1), at the request of devotees from Taiwan.

This morning, at 9.30am, a group of men and women from Taiwan played and recited a prayer song for His Holiness at the main temple. His Holiness was touched by the warm wishes from the Taiwanese devotees before starting the teachings.

More than 5,500 followers were in attendance, including over 900 Taiwanese, 1200 foreigners from 52 countries, over 1,100 Buddhist monks and nuns, over 2,200 lay Tibetans and some devotees from mainland China and Hong Kong.

"Buddhists from Burma, Sri-Lanka and Thailand mainly followed Pali tradition of Buddhism and Sanskrit tradition of Buddhism spread into China, Taiwan, Korea and Japan. So, Pali students of Lord Buddha are the seniors," said His Holiness in his introductory teaching.

"As far as Sanskrit tradition of Buddhism is concerned, it flourished in China long before Tibet. So, Chinese are the senior students of Buddhism while Tibetans are the junior students, as it mentioned in the Vinaya (Tib: Dulwa). Therefore, as a younger student, I came with respect towards my elders," said Tibetan spiritual leader.

His Holiness asked the devotees from Taiwan, "How many of you do not receive my teaching before? Most of the people in the group raised their hands. His Holiness expressed his heartfelt concern about the importance of basic introduction to Buddhism for the new arrivals: "I feel that a brief introduction is extremely important for those attend this teaching for the first time."

The teachings will cover on Nagarjuna's In Praise of Dhammadhatu (choying toepa) and will be translated into Chinese, Spanish, Japanese, Korean and English.

An increasing number of Taiwanese Buddhists have traveled to Dharamshala in recent years. In 2009, over 1000 Taiwanese sought teachings and blessings from His Holiness, rising to over 1300 in October 2010. That same year, His Holiness led ordination vows in Dharamshala, with 46 Taiwanese, 16 Tibetans and one Korean taking part.

The current teachings run until October 4, with two sessions each day from 09:30-11:30 and 13:00-15:00 Indian Standard Time, and a live webcast at. www.thetibetpost.com

His Holiness will give three-day teachings (October 23 to 25) from sections on serenity (shiney) and insight (lhaktong) from Je Tsongkhapa's The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment (lamrim chenmo) at the request of a group of devotees from Korea.

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