His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the audience at Sindhu Ghat in Leh, Ladakh, UT, India on August 23, 2022. Photo: OHHD/Tenzin Choejor

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Ladakh, UT, India — His Holiness the Dalai Lama inaugurated a new centre of learning at Thupstanling Monastery, Diskit Tsal, Leh on Tuesday and said, “the essence of all religions is to be of help to others. Of course, providing financial and other material support is good, but it is even better to counsel others to be warm-hearted and develop peace of mind”.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama formally inaugurated the new centre of learning at Thupstanling Gonpa ( monastery), Diskit Tsal, Leh on August 23, 2022. Built by members of the local community, it is a spacious centre, open to all religious denominations, where there will be facilities for holding classes on Buddhist philosophy, a library, and so forth.

The hall was packed to full capacity, with more than 1500 people inside and an equal number gathered in the courtyard outside. The Abbot of the Gonpa made the customary offering of a mandala to His Holiness, after which representatives of the Diskit Tsal community also sought his blessings. One of these community representatives gave an introductory speech in which he expressed deep gratitude to His Holiness for his visit and briefly explained the background and development of the project. The institution has grown to its present size from a small Buddhist temple first founded in 1984.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama said, "the people of Ladakh and Zanskar have been so devout and welcoming whenever I visit. As a follower of the Buddha, whose daily practice includes cultivating the awakening mind of bodhichitta, I am committed to serving my fellow human beings whoever they are. Indeed, the essence of all religions is to be of help to others. Of course, providing financial and other material support is good, but it is even better to counsel others to be warm-hearted and develop the peace of mind”.

“It is fortunate that we have all been born as human beings and have met the teaching of the Buddha. Since Avalokiteshvara is the patron deity of Tibet, Tibetans are accustomed to reciting the six-syllable mantra, ‘Om Mani Padme Hung’ and observing such practices as avoiding killing insects and the people of the Himalayan region share in these kind traditions,” His Holiness explained.

“Before I retired from political responsibility, we adopted the Middle Way Approach according to which we are seeking a mutually acceptable solution to the issue of Tibet. This means that we are seeking genuine autonomy rather than complete independence, primarily concerned with preserving our identity, language and rich Buddhist cultural heritage in all Tibetan speaking areas,” the spiritual leader of Tibet said.

“I am very glad that people of the Himalayan region, from Ladakh in the west to Arunachal Pradesh in the east, are also making a valuable contribution to protecting and preserving the Nalanda Tradition, rooted as it is in reason and logic. It is because of this logical, reasoned approach that many scientists today are able to take an interest in Buddhist psychology with its methods for training the mind and emotions. I would like to commend you for your efforts,” His Holiness urged.

His Holiness spoke of the affinity he felt for the Muslim community in Lhasa, who he described as very peace-loving people. He mentioned recently meeting some Muslim women whose parents had lived in Lhasa before 1959, many of whom spoke fluent Tibetan.

His Holiness once again emphasized the importance of caring for the environment. He recommended planting and caring for trees and taking steps to protect the local ecology.

His Holiness told his audience that times are changing, and that a time would come when Ladakhis would be able to visit Lhasa again, which prompted widespread applause. He ended by advising the gathering to be happy and warm-hearted.