SARNATH, Varanasi: Tibetan spiritual leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Monday graced the Golden Jubilee Celebration of Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies in the holy city of Varanasi.
The landmark celebration was attended by Gaden Tripa Kyabje Jetsun Lobsang Tenzin Palsangpo, Thrangu Rinpoche, Professor Samdong Rinpoche, former Governer of Sikkim B.P Singh, the President Dr Lobsang Sangyal, Central Tibetan Administration, Speaker of Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, Khenpo Sonam Tenphel, Gaden Tripa and Vice-Chancellor Geshe Ngawang Samten and over 250 alumni of the Institute.
The culmination of three-day golden jubilee celebration was held on the theme ‘Mind in Indian Philosophical Schools of Thought and Modern Science’, attended by hundreds of eminent scholars, philosophers, sanskritists and experts including Swami Atmapriyananda, Vice-Chancellor of the Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda Educational and Research Institute, Prof Asanga Tilakratne, Pali and Buddhist Studies at University of Colombo, Sri Lanka and Michel Bitbol, Directeur de Recherche at CNRS, Paris among others.
Speaking at the golden jubilee celebration, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said, “Since this is an institute of higher Tibetan studies, I would like to speak the beautiful dialect of Central Tibet. First of all as we celebrate this golden jubilee, we are reflecting back on the great achievement of this institute. When we talk about the great achievement of this institute, we are talking about achievement over long period of time. Many of the key people who are part of the great achievement are no longer with us. As we celebrate, we must remember their contribution as well.
“Another important point I would like to emphasise here, given that this is an institute of learning is the need to constantly to shake up our brains. The best way to do that is to make sure that we are not fixated on single point of view. We must develop mutifaceted reality which then throws up all sort of angles of approaching a situation. In order for us to utilise our brain in constructive way, the brain and education alone is not adequate. So therefore what is required is a skilful union of intelligent brain as well as compassionate motivation.”
While congratulating everyone on the 50th anniversary, His Holiness also wished them Happy New Year. He inspired the gathering to approach the new year in fresh spirit, with conscious intention to make transformation within oneself in order to drive change outside. “Infact if an individual were to make conscious intention to live his or her life with sense of purpose, live it in a good way. The ripple effect of that really spreads. First form individual to family, then to community, to friends and neighbors and so on. This is how society gets changed and affected. Otherwise when we talk about transformation of society, the transformation really has to start from individual, from inside to outward.”
President Dr Lobsang Sangay congratulated the members of CIHTS on behalf of the Central Tibetan Administration. He lauded the former teachers for their contribution to the Institute’s development and complimented the Vice-Chancellor for his leadership. He praised Ven Samdhong Rinpoche for the 30 years of his life he dedicated to the Institute.
President Dr Sangay encouraged students and members to emulate His Holiness’s commitment to promoting human values and inter-religious harmony, preserving Tibetan language, religion and culture, protection of Tibet’s natural environment, and the reviving of ancient Indian knowledge in modern India.
“With the occupation of Tibet, Chinese Communists tried to eliminate the Tibetan identity, culture and its Buddhist traditions and they thought they had succeeded, but they had underestimated His Holiness efforts to re-establish the Nalanda Tradition among Tibetans, the peoples of the Himalayan region and even among Chinese Buddhists. Under the leadership of His Holiness, the traditions of the Nalanda Mahavihara that were destroyed in Tibet continue to flourish in exile,” CTA President said, while offering prayers for His Holiness’ long life and the dignified return of His Holiness to Tibet.
In his remarks, Vice-Chancellor Geshe Ngawang Samten expressed profound gratitude to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Prime Minister Jawarharlal Nehru for co-founding the institute and the Government of India for its continued support.
“In due course, Prime Minister Jawarhalal Nehru also lent his support to the founding of an Institute of Higher Education, which was launched in affiliation with the Sampurnanand Sanskrit University in 1968. Zong Rinpoche served as Principal for the first three years and he was followed by Samdhong Rinpoche, who served for 30 years. Renowned scholars, such as Pt Upadhyaya and Smt Kapila Vatsyayan contributed to the development of the Institute. The intention was to produce students who were wise, skilled and also kind, motivated to contribute to society. They were encouraged to aim high.
“Another early purpose of the Institute was the restoration in Sanskrit and translation into Hindi of classic texts that had been translated into Tibetan. So far about 80 such texts have been completed. Another 100 or so have been translated from Sanskrit into Hindi and English. There have also been efforts to revive the Indian tradition of debating different philosophical points of view. Results of research into the Tibetan medical tradition have been encouraging. A centre has been opened to focus on the study and history of Tibetan literature. In addition a substantial project is envisaged with the Government of Bihar to translate the entire collection of texts that Rahul Sankrityayan brought out of Tibet,” the Vice Chancellor said.
The Registrar, Dr RK Upadhyay delivered the vote of thanks. He described the celebrations as an auspicious occasion and harked back 50 years to His Holiness’s original vision. He said that in trying to fulfil and spread His Holiness’s message of peace and compassion, there is hope for the world.