October 11, 2009
   Posted in News Flash
Published By Tashi

His Holiness the Dalai Lama Successfully Concludes Washington DC Visit Sunday, 11 October 2009, 9:21 a.m.


 
Nancy Pelosi, left, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s interpreter, Thupten Jinpa, with His Holiness the Dalai Lama at a Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice event. (By Melina Mara — The Washington Post)

Washington, DC: His
Holiness the Dalai Lama concluded his five-day Washington, DC visit
Saturday, 10 October, by conferring a Buddhist teaching, meetings with
a select group of Administration officials, diplomats, members of
Congress, and members of the Tibetan American community.In the
morning, His Holiness went to the Bender Arena at American University,
the venue of his teaching.  His Holiness was received by Greg Kruglak,
President of Conservancy for Tibetan Art and Culture (CTAC), Rinchen
Dharlo and Ani Tenzin Lhamo, members of CTAC’s Board. The Conservancy
was the organizer of this teaching session. His Holiness first went to
the nearby Provost’s Office where he was received by American
University President Cornelius Kerwin and Provost Scott Bass.The
teaching program began with the recitation of the Heart Sutra in Pali,
Chinese, Vietnames and Tibetan. Thereafter, His Holiness first dwelt on
the topic of religious harmony.  He explained that different religions 
were not only needed in order to suit the mental disposition of
different individual but that they also had the same objectives both at
the theoretical and practical levels.  His Holiness said in the
theistic religious traditions, there was the special bond between the
individual and God the creator. This called for total submission of the
individual to the will of God. He said this resulted in the reduction
of a self-centered ego, which is something that religions like Buddhism
also aspire for. At the practical level, he said all religious
traditions called for the practice of compassion in different ways.

 
 People listen as His Holiness the Dalai Lama delivers a Buddhist teaching at American University in Washington, 10 October 2009.Reuters/Jonathan Ernst/US

His
Holiness emphasized the importance of individuals to stick to their own
traditional religious belief while respecting all religious traditions.
He drew a distinction between faith and respect. He said each
individual should have faith only in his or her own religion (this will
reduce confusion, he said) but that respect should be shown to all
religious traditions. His Holiness then explained the tenets
of Buddhism and also bestowed the Bodhicitta vows. While doing this, he
said that followers of other religious traditions could visualize their
respective religious Masters like Jesus Christ, the Prophet Muhammad,
etc. His Holiness explained the dependently arisen nature of our
happiness and suffering, showing by way of Buddha’s teaching of the
four noble truths how both of them are produced from causes under our
control. He explained the proper view to be adopted by practitioners.At
the conclusion, Amy Head of CTAC informed His Holiness and the
gathering about how the organisation intended to utilize income
generated from the event. She said part of it will be used to fund
CTAC’s Himalayan Education Program, a portion will be donated to the
Booker T. Washington Schoo, which His Holiness had visited some years
back, and another portion will be donated to a local organisation that
provides food to the needy.Followers and organisations
belonging to the following Buddhist traditions were involved in
supporting the teaching event: Thai, Sri Lankan, Tibetan, Vietnamese,
Japanese and Laotian traditions.His Holiness then left for the
residence of Senator Dianne Feinstein and Mr. Richard Blum, who were
hosting a lunch with a select group of individuals.His
Holiness’ last program was a visit in the afternoon to the Adas Israel
Congregation, the venue of his audience to the Tibetan community. On
his arrival at the synagogue, its Rabbi Gil Steinlauf received him. As
His Holiness’ visit coincided with the celebration of Sukkot festival,
Rabbi Steinlauf invited His Holiness to enter a structure set up
outside the synagogue where many of its members had gathered. They sang
a song as His Holiness reached the structure. In a brief address, His
Holiness expressed his admiration of the Jewish people and how Tibetans
were looking to the Jewish people to find the secret of maintaining
one’s own identity. His Holiness then went to the hall where
the Tibetan community were gathered. He was first received by Mr.
Kalden Lodoe, President of the Capital Area Tibetan Association (CATA),
and then by the Board of Directors of CATA.The
program,announced by CATA General Secretary Dhondup Gonsar, began with
the singing of the Tibetan national anthem and a prayer for the long
life of His Holiness.  Thereafter, the CATA President gave a brief
report outlining the activities of the community in the political and
cultural fields. He recognized the services of those involved in
running the Sunday school for the children, including the voluntary
teachers.  He also announced that CATA had requested His Holiness to
bestow the sacred Kalachakra Initiation in Washington, D.C. and
repeated the supplication.In his remarks, which His Holiness
chose to make standing up, he first dwelt on the strength of the
Tibetan identity.  He asked the Tibetans abroad to be specially mindful
of the tremendous hope placed on them by the majority of the Tibetans
who currently reside inside Tibet.  He said the best way of being able
to meet their expectation was to pay particular attention to
education.  His Holiness also asked that the people study the Buddhist
religion and not just look at it as a ritual.  His Holiness asked the
Tibetan community to uphold the best of standards and be a good role
model. He recalled a conversation he was having during his recent visit
to Ladakh in which he learnt that some Ladakhi people had  been
learning the bad habit of playing of Majhong from some Tibetans. He
said this was unfortunate.His Holiness addressed the members of
the clergy who were in the audience and said that they should really
stick to the tenets of the faith and not do anything inappropriate
bearing in mind that they were wearing the garment of religion.  He
said he had made a similar appeal during his address to the Tibetans
during his recent visit to Taiwan.In response to the
supplication for a Kalachakra Initiation, His Holiness said it need to
be studied as to what the situation and interest is and if appropriate
such a ceremony could be considered. He said it would not do to be
performing such a ceremony merely as a sort of performance.On the issue of the Tibetan political situation His Holiness said that he had nothing new to say.His
Holiness had a specific message to the people working in the two
Tibetan language radio programs based in Washington, D.C.  He said they
should certainly report both the positive and negative developments
truthfully. However, he said they should be particularly mindful of the
atmosphere under which many of their listeners in Tibet reside and the
risk they take to listen to them.  He said thus specific attention
needs to be paid so that reports are not based on mere hearsay or rumor
but that crosschecking needed to be done. Otherwise, there is the
danger of creating confusion, particularly if the motivation was not
good.His Holiness next touched on the issue of propitiation of 
Dholgyal or Shugden. He said recently he had met a Chinese from China
who informed him about how the Chinese Government was making political
use of the Dholgyal issue and the need, therefore, for him to continue
explaining the issue.  He then recalled hearing some delegates at a
gathering of Tibetan religious leaders saying that the propitiation
needed to be stopped because His Holiness had said so.  His Holiness
said he himself had at one time been propitiating Dholgyal and that he
had stopped after a thorough investigation and with full knowledge of
both his senior and junior tutors, Yongzin Ling Rinpoche and Yongzin
Trijang Rinpoche. His Holiness said since Ling Rinpoche did not
indulged in the practice he welcomed His Holiness’ move. While Trijang
Rinpoche, who did the practice, said that he understood that His
Holiness was taking the action after doing a thorough investigation. 
His Holiness said that his action thus had the concurrence of both his
tutors.Therefore, His Holiness said the pertinent issue was the
reasoning behind his urging rather than him merely saying it. He said
it was during the period of the Fifth Dalai Lama that the propitiation
began and so he would know the best. The Fifth Dalai Lama had
discouraged this practice and His Holiness said the situation could
only be altered by an individual with knowledge and standing equivalent
to the Fifth Dalai Lama who had a different view.His Holiness
said the people should not merely be engrossed in one’s own individual
interest after having immigrated to the United States but should also
pay attention to the common community’s issues.  He also said that the
recent establishment of Tibetan-Chinese Friendship Associations have
been beneficial and asked the people to continue paying interest on
such matters.His Holiness departed from Washington, D.C. after the Tibetan audience, on his return journey to India.
–Report filed by Mr Bhuchung K Tsering of ICT

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