TibetNet will bring out a series of statements by Kalons of the seven departments of the Central Tibetan Administration on their initiatives and developments in the past one year since they took office in the 14th Kashag led by Kalon Tripa Dr Lobsang Sangay, the political leader of the Tibetan people, on 8 August 2011.
Department of Religion and Culture
By Kalon Pema Chhinjor
The Deparment of Religion and Culture has formulated a five-year plan in accordance with the three guiding principles of Kalon Tripa Dr Lobsang Sangay, unity, innovation and self-reliance.
Firstly, during this year’s annual conference of heads of four schools of Tibetan Buddhism and Bon religion, we had put forward and deliberated on the department’s plans for the next 2-3 years, putting a special focus on the plans that we are currently pursuing. One of the proposals was regarding the conferment of Geshema degrees to Tibetan nuns. We invited some senior nuns and teachers from six different nunneries and held a thorough discussion in the presence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Kalon Trisur Prof Samdhong Rinpoche and His Eminence the Gaden Tripa during an annual Buddhist conference in Dharamsala from 12-13 May 2011. It was decided that the nuns who passes the final examination after completing 21 years of studies will be conferred with a Geshema degree.
Similarly, there is another issue regarding the revival of the Gelongma title. But since this is not something we can decide suddenly, we have sent letters to all the heads of the different sects of Tibetan Buddhism, asking them to send two representatives to discuss on the matter at a conference at the College for Higher Tibetan Studies, Sarah, from 1 August. There will be discussion on how to revive the Gelongma title and whether it is possible to revive it at all.
Secondly, during the 32nd Kalachakra Initiation by His Holiness the Dalai Lama at Bodh Gaya this year, the department of religion and culture has conducted many services. Our services include organising introductory teachings about the Kalachakra for the general public, decoration of the statue of Buddha etc.
Thirdly, I visited different monastic institutions in and around Dharamshala from 5-9 May. I also visited monastic institutions in Dehradun and south India monasteries from 2-9 June. One the major development occurred during my visit to South Korea for the World Buddhist Conference from 9-15 June. We have achieved something that we have never achieved before during the conference. And more recently, from 2-18 July, I visited Europe to celebrate the birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama with the Tibetan community. I visited five different European countries that time and met the local Tibetan community as well as many Tibet support groups.
Fourthly, the Department of Religion and Culture organised a long life offering to His Eminence Kyabje Tsetrul Rinpoche, head of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism, in Shimla on 26 July. Similarly, we are planning to organise tenshug offerings to all the heads of the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism and Bon faith.
Fifthly, a new research conducted by the Department of Religion and Culture found out that there are about 700 Tibetan Buddhist centres or learning institutes in Europe, Asia and North America. We are making special efforts to keep daily contacts with them to strengthen our efforst towards the preservation and promotion of Tibet’s rich Buddhist culture for the well-being of the entire humanity.
(Correction: There are about 700 Tibetan Buddhist centres or learning institutes in Europe, Asia and North America. The figure of 1,700 mentioned in the earlier report was incorrect. We regret the error)