DHARAMSHALA: On the auspicious occasion of Lhabab Duchen, a combined community of Barkham and Central Executive Committee of the Khampas offered a long life prayer ceremony for His Holiness the Dalai Lama at Tsuglagkhang, Dharamshala. The ceremony was attended by Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay, Speaker Penpa Tsering, Kalons and officials of Central Tibetan Administration and members of the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile.
Prior to initiation of the long life offering ceremony, His Holiness the Dalai lama conducted a preparatory rituals for the Long-Life Empowerment he was to give. “Since it is an auspicious day, I thought I’d begin by making a reciprocal offering to you of a Long-Life Empowerment. We have groups of today’s sponsors, residents of Dharamshala, people from the Trans Himalayan regions and others who come from traditionally Christian countries gathered here today,” said His Holiness the Dalai Lama. An assembly of monks and nuns recited prayers such as the ‘Praise to the 17 Masters of Nalanda’, the ‘Prayer to the Successive Incarnations of Avalokiteshvara’ and Tara’s mantra.
As the Long-Life Empowerment of White Tara concluded, the Abbot of Namgyal Monastery led the procession of Offering requesting His Holiness’s Long Life. Members of Barkham Rongpo, Barkham Tsogshö, Trindo and the Central Executive Committee of the Khampas carried on the procession of offerings inside the main temple of Tsuglagkhang.
Minutes after the proceedings inside the main temple, a second event of offering gold medal and golden wheel of Dharma took place in the ground yard. Tsogshö Shabdrung Rinpoche read a citation expressing gratitude to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He also cited the community’s pledge to end propitiation of Dolgyal, to preserve the unique culture and tradition of Tibetan people and to cooperate with CTA’s policy of Middle way.
The Representatives of Barkham Tsogshö offered a gold medal bearing images of Tibet and Amitayus, the Buddha of Long Life to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The people of Barkham Rongpo offered His Holiness the Dalai Lama a golden Dharma wheel. They too pledged not to propitiate Dolgyal and to continue thier efforts in discouraging the practice inside Tibet.
Addressing the issue, His Holiness the Dalai Lama spoke about his responsibility as a Buddhist leader to speak out against the damaging consequences of the spirit worship. His Holiness made it very clear that whether or not his advice is heeded is a matter of choice on the individual.
His Holiness spoke about the continued protests by Shugden followers accompanying him on all of his foreign visits and urged the Tibetans to not criticise them but to sympathise them for their ignorance. “These days Shugden people protest against me. They call me a false Dalai Lama. They say I’m a Muslim and that Tibetans shouldn’t believe in me. Those who instigated people to protest against me like this must have done it out of a personal grudge. However that may be, I advise Tibetans not to be angry towards them. On my own part, every day I practice developing Bodhichitta and an understanding of emptiness, so I don’t feel anger towards them either. From the start of my propitiating Dolgyal I was also skeptical. So I researched his nearly 400 year history. I conducted various kinds of investigation. I did the practice out of ignorance. Once I discovered the reality of it I chose to stop. But I also felt it my responsibility to make known what I’d found out.”
His Holiness also spoke about the strong karmic bonds that he shares with the Tibetan people and narrated the significant historical moments since he assumed responsibility of Tibetan leadership at the age of 16.
Touching on key events culminating in his seeking asylum in India in 1959, he concluded that now in the 21st century the world has changed and what is required is a solution that is of mutual benefit to the Tibetan and Chinese people.