Chinese scholars come to listen to Dalai Lama

By Vishal Gulati, IANS,

Dharamsala : A growing number of Chinese scholars from Taiwan, Tibet as well as mainland China are coming here to listen to discourses by the Dalai Lama.

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The Dalai Lama’s office says that of late, Chinese scholars from Taiwan and mainland China are regularly interacting with the Tibetan spiritual leader to understand his ‘middle-way’ policy for Tibet.

“If all Chinese citizens knew about it (middle-way approach), they would support it,” the 76-year-old Nobel laureate had remarked in Prague this month.

A group of 1,500 people from Tibet arrived here to attend a three-day teaching session from Dec 19.

Octogenarian Padma Dolma, who was part of the group, told IANS, “I am really blessed to have an audience with His Holiness. It reminds me of his early days in the Potala Palace.”

Dolma, along with the other Tibetans, is now heading to Bodh Gaya to attend the upcoming Kalachakra teaching session from Jan 1 to 10.

Hundreds of thousands of people, mainly Westerners and Asians, have been arriving in this Himalayan hill town to listen to the discourses of the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, who has been residing here since he fled Chinese repression in Tibet in 1959. His teachings on ethics, non-violence, peace and religious harmony have made him one of twentieth century’s most popular and revered figures.

Some people come here in search of Tibetan culture and spiritual sustenance.

The three-day teaching session from Dec 19 was organised specially for Russian devotees. “More than 1,300 Russians attended the three-day teachings,” said the Dalai Lama’s private secretary Chimme Choekyappa. Svetlana, a devout from Moscow, said she is a great admirer of his teachings on world peace, love, compassion and forgiveness.

Choekyappa said that the Dalai Lama would hold teaching sessions for Indian Buddhists for the first time. “The venue is either Dharamsala or Delhi,” he added.

The spiritual guru’s teachings are free and open to the public.

“When at home in Dharamsala, His Holiness’ teachings are held in the Tsuglagkhang temple (close to his official palace at McLeodganj). Outside India, the teachings are held at the venue of the event organiser,” Choekyappa told IANS.

He also added that the Dalai Lama’s office holds teaching sessions only at the request of followers and devotees. “Most of the requests come from Asian Buddhist countries and the West. We try to accommodate as many requests as possible. The requests include invitations for religious, social and cultural events,” said Choekyappa.

The Dalai Lama teaches in Tibetan only. On many occasions, his teachings in India are simultaneously translated into English. For people requiring translation services, there is a designated area at the teaching venue.

His Holiness’ office advises the followers to bring a FM radio, a cup and a sunhat at the teaching venue. Seating is usually reserved on a first-come, first-served basis. In the West, seating for public events is in most cases designated by ticket and seat number. In India, seating for teachings is usually on the ground.

The Dalai Lama fled Tibet after a failed uprising against Chinese Communist rule in 1959.

On reaching India, he first took up residence for about a year in Mussoorie in Uttarakhand, after which he moved to this Himachal Pradesh town where he continues to live.

(Vishal Gulati can be contacted at [email protected])