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HHDL-Sikkim-CM-3013-2Dharamshala: - The spiritual leader of Tibet His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama teaches Long-Life Empowerment in Ravangla and Secular Ethics in Gantok, on March 26.

The morning of March 26 dawned bright after rain the previous evening, so His Holiness walked to the teaching pavilion in front of the Tathagata Tsal at Ravangla where thousands of people had gathered.

His Holiness summarized the Buddha's life before beginning the White Tara Long Life Empowerment.

Highlighting the Buddha's compassion, he spoke of his wish to liberate all sentient beings from suffering. He then discussed the idea of emptiness, that when the Heart Sutrya says that the five aggregates are empty of intrinsic nature, form is empty, emptiness is form, this does not mean that there is no form, but that form is dependent on other factors.

Furthering this, His Holiness said that a warm heart is fundamental to everyone and that if instead you cheat, bully and exploit others, you will not feel at ease; you will have no inner peace.

The assembled people were then led by His Holiness through a concise ceremony for generating the awakening mind of bodchitta, the Bodhisattava's aspiration, as part of the Long Life Empowerment.

With reference to the White Tara empowerment he said:

"This comes from the close visionary lineage of the Fifth Dalai Lama. I've received the empowerments and transmission and done the retreat and I thought to give this here because Sikkim has some connections to the Fifth Dalai Lama's teachings."

Immediately following this, there was an offering to His Holiness, requesting him to live long.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama then left for Gangtok, all along his journey the road was lined with people burning incense and holding khatas or flowers, waiting to catch a glimpse of him.

Arriving at the Manan Kendra in Gangtok he was received by members of the Sikkm Government and escorted to the school where around a 1000 students were gathered.

The Minister for Human Resource Development gave the welcoming address to his Holiness and two student representatives offered him scarves. Everyone present was taken by surprise as, just when His Holiness was about to speak, a small boy of about two or three years of age came forward to the platform to offer his own greetings.

His Holiness greeted the students:

"Dear young brothers and sisters, I am extremely happy to meet with you young people. Time is always moving on, nothing can stop it. The twentieth century has passed and with it much of my own generation. It was perhaps the most important century in history in terms of change and technological development, but it was also an era of immense violence. Some estimate that 200 million people died as a result of violence in the twentieth century. This is why it is important to take the opportunity to make the twenty-first century more peaceful."

His Holiness discussed the problems that we face on a global level, the rise in population of humans, yet the decline of natural resources and the huge and widening gap between rich and poor. He emphasised that we have a chance to take a new direction, but that we must take this chance to transform our past mistakes.

Dependence on this generation was talked about, he said that the role of the older generation is to tell this younger generation about the mistakes that they have made. "Those of you here who are not yet 30 years old truly belong to the twenty-first century. The future is in your hands. Whether this century turns out to be happy or full of fear and destruction is up to you."

His Holiness then considered the factor of trust; saying that it is the basis of friendship and a warm heart. Whereas on the other hand, if we are self centred and preoccupied with ourselves then there is a lack of trust which leads to fear and suspicion.

"Many well-known scientists are now beginning to acknowledge that warm-heartedness is good for our physical health because it brings inner peace. They have evidence that a healthy mind is a major factor in our maintaining a healthy body."

He finished up his talk by saying that he speaks to others only as a human being; the only difference between him and the students is an age one.

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