Bylakuppe: Over 100 Tibetan monks at Sera Je monastery received their BA & MA diplomas in Buddhist philosophy on Saturday (August 28). The Venerable Tsering Phuntsok, Tibetan minister of religion and culture, presented the degrees at the 15th graduation ceremony in Bylakuppe, Karnataka state, South India.

Sera Je is one of the largest Tibetan universities to offer BA & MA (Tibetan: Uma and Pharshin) philosophy courses. The graduating class have studied there for 14 years, focusing on the Madhyamike and Prajñaparamita.

Please visit our gallery for the related event held in South India.

Dharamshala: Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama gave teachings on the Diamond Sutra at the main Tibetan temple in Dharamshala from August 28-29.

The teachings, held at the request of a group of Korean Buddhists, were attended by thousands of followers, including Tibetans, Japanese and  Spanish.

This morning (August 30), His Holiness left for south India to attend the first Tibetan National General Meeting, the recommendations of which will be presented at tomorrow's closing ceremony.

Visit our gallery for pictures of the first day of His Holiness' teachings

His Holiness in Manali: His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Saturday (August 22)  gave a press conference in Manali to mark the end of his teaching tour of Himachal Pradesh, north India.

In answer to questions from journalists, he explained his beliefs that the world should be viewed as one entity, consisting of interdependent factions, that the global population is now tired of violence and war, and that India, because of its history of religious diversity and harmony, will have an important role to play in the 21st century.

"The religious harmony is part of India's tradition," he said. "Wherever I go, I always carry the message of Ahimsa (the avoidance of violence) and the message of religious harmony."

On the issue of his advocacy of the 'middle-way' approach to Tibetan autonomy, His Holiness said that there are always disagreements withing the Tibetan community, but that the majority of Tibetans support his stance. He also said that, for Buddhism to remain relevant in the modern world, Buddhists need to learn about and question their religion, rather than simply enacting Buddhist rituals.

Visit our Outlook section for the full press conference transcript.

Dharamshala: The schedule for His Holiness the Dalai Lama's forthcoming teaching tour of Himachal Pradesh, north India, has been updated, as reported on His Holiness left Dharamsala this morning to visit towns including Manali and Jispa.

He will confer the Keruka (Tibetan: Dechok) initiation in Jispa on August 19 and give teachings on the following day. On August 22, he will teach on Gyalsey Thokme Sangpo's 37 Practices of A Boddhisattva (Tibetan: Laklen Sodunma) in Manali.

His Holiness' private office apologized for the inconvenience the changes have caused, saying bad road conditions hampered travel arrangements.

Dharamshala: Chinese authorities last month arrested the Tibetan scholar Kalsang Tsultrim (pen name Gyitsang Takmig), according to the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy. The reasons for the arrest, in Dzoge County, Sichuan Province on July 7, have yet to be officially confirmed.

Mr Kalsang's family suspect he has been detained because of his expressions of alarm about the situation in Tibet. In 2009 Mr Kalsang produced and distributed 2,500 VCDs discussing Tibetan history and recording the desires, aspirations and concerns of Tibetan people in Tibet. He also published the book Miyul La Phul Ve Sempa (Sharing the Inner Thoughts in My Heart), which also described the concerns of Tibetans.

Mr Kalsang's arrest is not unexpected - he has been on the move for at least a year to remain safe from the authorities - and is an example of China's current targeting of Tibetan artists, writers, bloggers and cultural figures allegedly guilty of 'political errors'.

Dharamshala: This morning, His Holiness the Dalai Lama performed the Heruk (Tibetan: Dechok) initiation in Garshia, Lahoul and Spiti district, as he continued his teaching tour of Himachal Pradesh, north India. Over 5,000 people attended the event, including Chinese and other foreign devotees.

His Holiness spoke on religious conversion, saying, I have heard many local people of Lahaul and Kullu used to be Buddhist but have now converted to Hinduism. "people who follow any religion, it is better to keep the ancestors' religion and follow it. Religious conversion brings complications and difficulties."

Tomorrow, His Holiness will conduct the Avalokiteshvara empowerment ritual, receive a ‘long-life' offering from the audience and attend a press conference.

Dharamshala: Tenzin Norzom - the Kingfisher Miss Tibet 2010 - on Friday joined a signature campaign protesting against China's oppression of Tibet, reports Asia News International.

The campaign, organised by activists in Dharamsala, north India, aims to fill a giant scroll with the signatures of supporters of the Tibetan movement, which will be presented to the UN Secretary General.

Mahesh Yadav, an Indian activist who joined the campaign, has been painting portraits of world leaders with his own blood for the past 14 years, including one of US President Barack Obama, appealing for Tibetan freedom.

"My blood is devoted to the freedom of Tibet," he said. "I am going to appeal the whole world with this message. This is a message to save humanity. We have appealed the US President to save Tibet, because Dalai Lama is fighting for non-violence."

Commenting on Mr Yadav's portrait, Tenzin Norzon said, "Firstly, as Miss Tibet, I have the responsibility towards the Tibet cause. When I saw a non-Tibetan people contributing his blood for Tibetan freedom, it really inspired me. I came to know him after I got my title. I just feel like working with him for the Tibetan cause."

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