His Holiness and his association with Ladakh

Srinagar, July 17 (IANS): Ladakh is the country of the Buddha as some would tend to say. This is mainly due to the predominant Buddhist population in the region who over the years have nurtured the values ​​and traditions of Buddhism.

The extensive presence of the Mahayana and Vajrayana forms of Buddhism in the region has led to the development of an active Buddhist community that significantly emphasizes the essence of Buddhist education, in particular eliminating the core values ​​of ancient Buddhist traditions.

Dotted with a series of beautiful ancient monasteries and Gompas, Ladakh has been the hub of Tibetan Buddhism. Gompas are centers of intense educational programs in different facets of Buddhism. The people of Ladakh regard His Holiness the Dalai Lama as the supreme religious leader of Tibetan Buddhism and regard him as the living incarnation of the Buddha.

In this context, the visit of the Holiness to Ladakh is a significant encouragement for the great Buddhist community of Ladakh as well as for the remnant population who,

whatever their origin, have a special affection for the Dalai Lama.

Today, the mood in Ladakh is one of ecstasy and enthusiasm, the Dalai Lama having decided to spend a good month in the region.

The people of Ladakh have gone through a difficult transition phase due to the continuing tension along the border with China, with heavy troops and air movements becoming part of their lives.

The Dalai Lama has also not been spared questions from the media on topics that could be described as “controversial” or “difficult”. Under the current circumstances, his visit is indeed seen by political strategists as linked to the ongoing tension between India and China along the border.

However, in an effort to remain neutral and not be drawn into controversy, the Dalai Lama told reporters that any dispute between India and China should be settled through dialogue and discussion and not conflict.

He downplayed the relevance of a relationship based on stalemate and instead stressed the need for both sides to settle their differences peacefully. His gentle and balanced posture indeed suits all parties and also sends a strong message to the Chinese about his preference for an approach based on dialogue and engagement on controversial issues.

Speaking on Tibet, the Dalai Lama reiterated the traditional position that he and his people are asking for autonomy against complete independence for Tibet.

However, he mentioned that there are elements within the Chinese government that are playing on the Tibet issue by linking it to Tibetans’ apparent demands for independence. The Dalai Lama believes that ordinary Chinese people’s lack of awareness of the Tibet issue has been exploited by certain elements within the government to portray Tibetans living outside China as enemies of the nation.

However, he pointed out that the Chinese people are becoming increasingly aware of the realities and the tide is turning against the insidious attempts by some sections in China to portray the Dalai Lama and his followers as anti-China.

During the month-long stay in Ladakh, the Dalai Lama is expected to lecture on a range of issues considered to be part of his teachings to the community.

These lectures would be attended not only by the locals, but also by a large number of people from different parts of India and abroad, who would travel to Ladakh specifically for this purpose.

In the post-pandemic scenario, the Dalai Lama has been cautious in engaging the public keeping his delicate age in mind. The visit to Ladakh and the meetings scheduled there could be considered his first breakthrough in public interactions in recent times.

Although much has been written and spoken about the visit which is taking place against the backdrop of the difficult and trying times between India and China over the border issue, the fact remains that the Dalai Lama has visited Ladakh quite regularly. in the past to preach to the locals. on a variety of specialized topics.

In 2014, His Holiness’ 79th birthday was celebrated in Leh, marked by the 33rd Kalachakra empowerment event on July 6th. a follow-up of the lessons given by him in Leh in 2017.

One of the Dalai Lama’s main contributions to the region was the statue of ‘Maitreya’ (Buddha of the Future), which he inaugurated in 2010 at Diskit Monastery.

During this visit, the Dalai Lama remained immersed in an in-depth teaching program focusing on “Kamalashila”, the intermediate stages of meditation and the 37 Bodhisattva practices of the Gyalsey Thokme Sangpo.

These teaching sessions are eagerly awaited by young students, who aspire to excel in the field of higher Buddhist knowledge, but also by lay people who eagerly attend his teachings.

Overall, the Dalai Lama’s current visit to the region is seen as a blessing by the people of Ladakh who also feel that whenever His Holiness visits the region, many localized issues related to weather, inhabitants, to the politics of the region are sorted.

On a personal level, every Buddhist in Ladakh feels that the visit is like a blessing that would eliminate their personal problems. For about a month, the people of Ladakh would therefore live in the shadow of the Holiness. For His Holiness, there could be no better way than this to remain ensconced in imparting his rich knowledge to the people of “little Tibet”, as Ladakh is often known.

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