Dharamshala: His Holiness the Dalai Lama began three days of teachings at Namgyal temple in Dharamshala today (September 8) on the Heart Sutra (Sherab Nyingpo) and Gyalsey Thokme Sangpo’s 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva (Gyalsey Laklen Sodunma).

Unusually for his teachings in India, His Holiness gave an introduction to Buddhism in English, in which he talked about the interrelatedness of all people and the ways we will all benefit from a world free of conflict. He then switched to Tibetan to discuss the Heart Sutra, a popular Mahayana Buddhist text.

Over the next two days, His Holiness will cover the 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva, which are based on Thokme’s 14th century transcription of an oral tradition.

Over 5,000 people are attending the teachings, held at the request of a South-east Asian group.

Oakland, USA: Tibet Week, which is running from September 1 to 5 as part of the Shanghai Expo in China, continues to face criticism over painting a false picture of life in Tibet.

Tibetan advocacy groups have expressed their concerns over the portrayal of Tibetan culture at the expo, with New York based organisation Students for A Free Tibet staging an innovative multimedia event outside the Chinese Embassy to draw attention to various examples of art that have been banned in Tibet.

United Nations for a Free Tibet (UNFFT) have also criticized the expo, labeling it "a farce and a dishonest attempt to fool the world into believing Tibet is doing fine". To coincide with the event, UNFFT have released a video to draw attention to some of the challenges Tibet faces.


Dharamshala: His Holiness the Dalai Lama will inaugurate the world congress of the International Association for Religious Freedom at the Renewal Centre in Ernakulam, Kochi, Kerala on Saturday (August 4).

The theme of the congress is Beyond Conflict to Reconciliation: The Challenge of the 21st Century. Shivarathri Deshikendra Mahaswamigalu, head of Suttur Math, Mysore, will deliver the benedictory address, and the critic Sukumar Azhikode will deliver the keynote address during the first evening.

His Holiness will will be presented with the Albert Schweitzer Award after the inaugural session.

Discussions will then be led by: Swami Agnivesh, president of Arya Samaj; Swami Jitatmananda of Ramakrishna Mission; Sheikh Ali, former vice-chancellor of Goa and Mangalore universities; and Steven Leeper, president of the Hiroshima Foundation, Japan.

The congress will continue until September 7.

Dharamshala: A group of international parliamentarians has proposed the independent monitoring of the 15th Tibetan parliamentary and prime-ministerial elections in 2011.

Members of the International Network for Parliamentarians on Tibet (INPaT), who attended the 50th Tibetan Democracy Day celebrations in Bylakuppe yesterday (September 2), met with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Tibetan election commissioner Jampal Chosang. They discussed the possibility of having independent observers from the international community attend the 2011 elections, to monitor first-hand the advances made by the exile Tibetan democracy.

INPaT representatives reiterated the importance of the international community pressuring China to come to the table to negotiate a way of achieving genuine autonomy for the Tibetan people.

Next year, INPaT will stage an event for parliamentarians from around the world to discuss ways of improving the dialogue between Tibet and China.

Kathmandu: Two Tibetan activists were detained by Nepalese police on Thursday (August 26) for posting anti-Beijing leaflets ahead of a planned protest.

According to an Associated Press report, the activists have been identified as Kelsang Nordup and Tashi Dawa, both members of the New Age Network, a group involved in anti-China protests in Kathmandu.

Both are being held under public security laws which would usually allow for their release after the protest. However, Nordup also faces charges of resisting arrest and assaulting police officers which could lead to a jail term of several months.

Tibetan exiles have staged regular demonstrations in Kathmandu since 2008, and Nepal is under increasing pressure from China to crack down on the political protests.

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