Bodh Gaya, India: His Holiness The Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet initiated the 32nd Kalachakra teaching on January 1 amidst a series of unexpected changes and events. The initiation ceremony which was supposed to commence on 31st of December 2011 was postponed to the next day and was conducted despite untimely downpour.
Bodh Gaya, the city where Gautam Buddha is believed to have attained enlightenment is now chock-full with nearly 3,000,00 visitors consisting of Buddhist pilgrims, Buddhism enthusiasts, tourists, followers of the Dalai Lama and journalists with barely any space to move about.
Among the pilgrims are 8000 Tibetan pilgrims from within Tibet and 1000 Chinese nationals from mainland China.
The first of the ten-day-teaching took place on Sunday at the Kalachakra Ground at 1pm and began with the chanting of the 'Heart Sutra' in various languages that included Sanskrit, Pali and Tibetan.
The teaching was briefly interrupted by unexpected downpour, but the pilgrims displayed their devotion and positive spirit by braving the unkind weather throughout the initiation.
Greeting the New Year, the Dalai Lama went on to explain some parts of the Buddhist philosophy which were simultaneosly translated in 16 different languages.
"There are different religious traditions with a philosophical background. All of them unanimously accept ourselves as independent irrespective of whether they admit it in philosophical terms or not, they speak of an eternal independent substantial self of 'I'," said the Dalai Lama.
He then spoke about the belief in the concept of a past life and the concept of moving on to the next life in various religions.
" Many explain 'I' in terms of its racing to metaphysical aggregates but that is not what it means in Buddhism. Buddhism says that a certain 'I' which is independent does not exist but that does not mean that the self as an entity does not exist, " he said.
Speaking of the 'I' that is the possessor of the psychophysical element, the Dalai Lama concluded by saying that the meaning of 'I' is different from the meaning of 'Existance.'
One can catch the live telecast of the teachings during the scheduled timings on Tibetonline.tv and www.dalailama.com.
For schedules and informations on the current Kalachakra Initiation, visit www.kalachakra2012.org.