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29 April 2013 001Dharamshala: The Tibetan spiritual leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama made a two day visit to Dalhousie, India on April 27 and 38 where he was welcomed by representatives of local Tibetan and Indian communities.

A short teaching was given by His Holiness on the afternoon of April 27 at the school ground above the town, where about 2000 people had gathered to hear him speak.

His Holiness spoke about the past 50 years of life in exile; he explained that when Tibetans first came into exile, the only thing familiar to us was the ground beneath our feet and the sky above our head.

 ”No one expected at that time that we would be remaining in exile for more than 50 years. We were hopeful that we would return to our country after two or three years at the most,” he said.

 “The first head of the CST school was Kundeling Nyima Gyaltsen and he was succeeded by Prof Samdhong Rinpoche, who served for 7 years. Over these five decades the school has produced many illustrious students, who went on to do very well in their lives. And because it is our custom to show our gratitude where it is due, many of them are with us here today.”

His Holiness recalled that while the Central Tibetan Administration requested the Government of India’s help to accommodate monks, former abbots and others, who were gathered in a camp at Buxa in Assam, it focussed on establishing schools, the first of which was begun in Mussoorie and the second in Dalhousie.

His Holiness went on to say that studying religion is not just a matter of saying prayers; it involves coming to understand what religious teaching means and how to put it into practice.

He said that it is important to recognise that we depend on others’ support just to survive. Harmony and peace in society depend on inner peace in the hearts of individuals and to achieve that we need to observe such human values as love and compassion, but not them alone, trust, honesty and transparency too. 

His Holiness then spoke about the world’s religions, and the difference between theistic and non-theistic, “the non-theistic traditions accept causality, but only Buddhism questions the existence of an unchanging self. Many of our problems arise because we cling to the notion of an autonomous self. “

Turning to the text in hand, His Holiness spoke about the author of the Thirty-seven Practices of a Bodhisattva, Gyalsey Thogme Sangpo who lived and taught in 14th century Tibet. He then proceeded to read it, stopping to highlight points like the value of a precious human life, the immanence of death, the need to heed the principle of causality and the practice of the six perfections on the path to enlightenment. 

His Holiness concluded, “Always be mindful of what you are doing and concern yourself with the welfare of others. Having listened to this teaching, you have the text, go over it again and try to apply what it says in your own life. You’ll find it will grow within you and you will become calmer, which will be an improvement.”

His Holiness then led the crowd in a ceremony to generate the awakening mind using the well-known verse for taking refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha and the wish to achieve enlightenment on the basis of the merit of generosity and so forth.

His Holiness concluded with advice to dedicate whatever merit had been created to the benefit of all sentient beings, the flourishing of the Dharma, and the welfare of the people of Tibet.

On the morning of April 28 His Holiness was the chief guest in the 50th founding anniversary celebrations of the Central School for Tibetans(CST), Dalhousie. Over a thousand people gathered to celebrate; among those were Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, Trisur Prof Samdhong Rinpoche, Sanjay Kumar Dhiman, SDM of Dalhousie as well as other dignitaries.

The celebrations were preceded by a march by former and present students, followed by a minute silence in memory of all those Tibetans who sacrificed their lives for the cause of Tibet.

His Holiness greeted the public and then gave a small speech, stressing that education should be imparted in such a way that children transforms into responsible individuals when they grow up. 

Since many of these former students currently reside in different parts of the world representing Tibetan people, His Holiness urged them to retain the thousands of year old Tibetan religion and culture. “Without our roots, we are devoid of our core essence of being a Tibetan. We should be proud of our heritage,” His Holiness said.

The Tibetan political leader, Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay also spoke to the crowd, thanking the people and the government of India for their unwavering support to the Tibetan exile community.

He also thanked the various staff, past and present, of the CTSA schools for giving the Tibetan children modern as well as strong moral and ethical education. He acknowledged that the majority of the officials in the CTA are products of CST schools, adding that the heads of all the three pillars of Tibetan democracy, the chief justice, the speaker as well as the Sikyong himself were former CST students. The Sikyong also added that three Kalons from his cabinet are from CST Dalhousie itself.

Presentations of mementoes to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Kalon Trisur Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche and to the government and people of India as a mark of deep gratitude by the former students were carried out at the function.

The celebration concluded with song and dance performances by the school students, local Tibetan community and by the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts.  

In the afternoon of April 28, His Holiness visited the Dalhousie Public School (DPS) to deliver a talk on ‘Educating the Heart’.  Students asked His Holiness on the importance of religion, peace, and how to cultivate inner happiness.