Dharamshala: - His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet has begun a 4-day teaching on Shantideva's A Bodhisattva Way of Life (TIB: Choedjug) at the main Tibetan temple, McLeod Ganj, the Himalyan town in Dharamshala Saturday, June 1, 2013.
The teaching is being held at the request of Nalanda Shikhsha comprised a group of 16 Sangha organisations across India.
In his introductory address, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said, "even though the teacher today is a Tibetan, the place and the source of this rich religion is India. And I feel glad to be able to repay these ancient traditions back to the well-educated new generations of India."
The Nobel Peace Prize laureate also noted that every living being on this earth desires happiness and an escape from suffering. "But we, as human beings, have this special intellect to discern right from wrong. The seven billion human beings on this earth all share a common desire for happiness and an end to suffering," he said.
The teaching began with a recitation of Heart Sutra (TIB: Sherab Nyingpo) in Sanskrit led by a female Indian devotee.
Over seven thousand people including local Tibetans, 1,900 foreigners and about 14 Chinese from Mainland China are attending the teaching. The teaching will be held till 4 June 2013.
Last year, a thousand Indian devotees came to this town to listen to what His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama has to say on things spiritual and temporal. This year, the number has gone up by nearly 200.
"These teachings were organised the second time, especially on the request of a group from India. Out of the 8,000 participants, over 1,200 were Indians," Tenzin Taklha, joint secretary at the Dalai Lama's office, told IANS.
The four-day teachings, which concluded Monday, saw participants from 69 countries. "We have come from Bangalore for the first time to attend the teachings of His Holiness (Dalai Lama)," Supriya Sharma, a senior executive with a multinational company, said.
Her friend Isha Goel said: "Indians are known to rely on their spiritual and yoga gurus. Their inclination is often the result of the appearance of such gurus on television channels, but gradually there has been a shift from Hindu philosophy to Buddhism propagated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama."
"Quite relaxing. The visit was focused on understanding Tibetan culture and the sources of its spiritual sustenance," Isha said.
On the first day of teachings, the 77-year-old pontiff expressed happiness at teaching the Indians. "I am pleased to give teachings to Indians as these teachings originated from India," His Holiness the Dalai Lama, whose sermons on ethics, non-violence, peace and religious harmony have made him one of the twentieth century's most popular and revered gurus, was quoted as saying by Tibetan news agency Phayul.
Aides of the Dalai Lama said that seeing how Indians are drawn to the Dalai Lama's teachings, his official website (dalailama.com) was made available in Hindi too from May 25.
Octogenarian Tashi Dolma, who was part of the Indian Buddhist group, travelled along with over 100 Buddhist devotees from Keylong in Himachal Pradesh for an audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
The spiritual guru's teachings are free and open to the public. Even board and lodging is free for the participants, says the Dalai Lama's office.
The teaching sessions are held at the request of followers and devotees, mostly Westerners and Asians.
In his addresses, His Holiness the Dalai Lama is often quoted as saying: "India and Tibet share millennia old teacher-student relationship as Buddhism reached Tibet directly from India in the seventh century."
His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaks in Tibetan, and there are simultaneous translations in English, Hindi, Chinese and Russian for the participants.
His Holiness Dalai Lama will visit Pune city, the ninth largest metropolis in India, during Rev Dada JP Vaswani's 95th birthday celebrations this July.
According to Times of India, this will mark His Holiness Dalai Lama's third visit to the city. "His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Dada have great love and respect for each other. And this being Dada's 95th birthday, it's going to be amazing when they meet. This time he will take a tour of the museum and will attend an event at the mission," said a spokesperson from the Sadhu Vaswani Mission.
When asked if he plans to stay longer on this trip to the city, the spokesperson said, "As of now, we are not sure if he will plan to extend his stay ."