Leh, Ladakh: More than thousands of devotees lined up the streets to Shiwatsel Phodrang with flowers and adornments to welcome the Tibetan spiritual leader as he arrived on his 19-day visit to Ladakh.
Members of Ladakh Buddhist Association, Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, Gaden Trisur Rizong Rinpoche, Taklung Matru Rinpoche, Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche, Thigtse Rinpoche, All Ladakh Gonpa Association, Ladakh Ama Association, District Commissioner, SP, Ladakh Muslim community and local representatives received His Holiness the Dalai Lama at Leh airport.
At the Shiwatsel Phodrang, Gaden Trisur Rizong Rinpoche made a Mandala offering to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Addressing the gathering of religious and local community leaders, His Holiness commended the progress made by the Buddhist institutions and monasteries in Ladakh in the field of training and education.
“I’ve been coming here for more than 50 years. To begin with Ladakh was quite under-developed. That’s now changed and we can see all sorts of material progress. In the monasteries too, compared to 50 years ago, the quality of study has grown significantly”.
He recalled a meeting with a group from Himalayan region, who proposed a project to support the Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in Mon region and Ladakh and help establish them as institutes of Buddhist studies. He said, “Indeed, I recently met members of the Tawang Foundation who have plans to transform all the monasteries from here to Tawang into serious centres of learning”. Heaping praises for the initiative, he said it was very commendable and benevolent work.
“I am very happy to be here once more. I seem to be physically fit and if that continues I hope to spend some time here, avoiding the monsoon on the plains. The warm weather here will probably help relieve my joint pain. You people of Ladakh have a special bond with me based on your faith and loving-kindness, of which I am very appreciative,” he told the members. Tomorrow His Holiness will make a brief visit to the Leh Jokhang.
On 6 July, a grand celebration in honour of the 83rd birthday of His Holiness is scheduled to take place at Shiwatsel Phodrang. From 10 to 12 July, His Holiness will give teachings on Shantideva’s A Guide to the Bodhisatva’s Way of Life (Tib: Chodjug). He will also participate in the Yarcho Chenmo-the annual ‘Summer Buddhist Council’ of philosophical debate and discussion – from July 18 to 20 at Samstanling Gonpa Sumoor in Nubra besides teachings in Nubra as well as in Leh at Shiwatsel teaching ground.