༄༅། །བོད་མིའི་སྒྲིག་འཛུགས་ཆོས་རིག་ལས་ཁུངས་ནས་ཏོག་དབྱིབས་གཉན་རིམས་ ༡༩ དང་འབྲེལ་བའི་ལས་དོན་སྤེལ་ཕྱོགས་ཀྱི་གསར་འགོད་གསལ་བསྒྲགས།
Posted by TIBET TV on Friday, 24 July 2020
Dharamshala: Shining a light of hope and healing in the midst of extraordinary disruption and anxiety wreaked by the coronavirus pandemic, CTA’s Department of Religion and Culture has been dedicating prayers for all those affected by the Wuhan-originated disease, especially the COVID patients, frontliners, bereaved families and millions around the world who are struggling with all sorts of physical and mental challenges due to the coronavirus.
This prayer initiative which the department has been leading every day for more than two months now is aimed towards supporting the families of the deceased in observing prayer rituals according to the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and to provide spiritual strength and resolution to those sick and vulnerable so that they may overcome or be able to cope with the impacts of the pandemic.
This Friday the Chorig department began its 12th week of prayer service at Jonang Kalachakra Meditation Institute in Dharamsala. The prayers on a weekly basis were also previously held at Nechung Monastery, Kirti Monastery, Namgyal Monastery, Gaden Choeling Nunnery, Institute of Buddhist Dialectic, Shugseb Ugenzong Nunnery, Gyutoe Monastery, Dolmaling Nunnery, Gadong Sercheling Monastery, Dip Tsechokling Monastery, Lhundup Chemey Gatseling and currently at Jonang Kalachakra Meditation Institute.
So far there have been 62 individual requests, mostly from Tibetans based abroad and healthcare workers from COVID hotspots including Delhi.
For those who wish to send prayer requests may contact the department at [email protected] or on WhatsApp at (+91) 9805472150.
Speaking at a press briefing last week, Additional Secretary Dhondul Dorjee of the Chorig department spoke on spiritual resources that the Religion and Culture department has made available for the Tibetan Buddhist community worldwide.
The first concerns on how to tackle the destructive effects of the pandemic through the Tibetan traditional practice of dedicating the Ngoesang prayer regarding which the department issued an urgent circular on 1 April. (Read here)
Subsequently, on 2 April, the department issued follow up circular after seeking the blessings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the heads of various Buddhist traditions, urging the public to observe the Noesang and Riwosangchoe prayers and the initiative has successfully progressed with public participation. (Read the circular here)
On 28 April, the department issued a circular for all the 281 monasteries under its administration to observe prayer ceremonies dedicated for the Tibetans especially the deceased and for a speedy, global resolution to the COVID-19 crisis.
In its circular dated 1 May, the department as per the directives of the Kashag announced daily prayer initiative for those who died as well as those battling with the COVID disease. (Read the circular here) And since May 8, prayer sessions have been held daily by the Department of Religion and Culture beginning with Nechung Monastery. The full expenditure of the prayer services is being borne by the CTA.
The Department also issued a public appeal for prayers on 23 March. On 30 March, it also issued a new circular regarding Tensung prayers. (Read the circular here)
Several COVID-19 preventive guidelines were issued to Tibetan monasteries in collaboration with the Department of Health and through Settlement Officers on 6 March. From as early as 30 January, the Religion and Culture department had issued a public appeal for the Tibetan monasteries and public to observe select prayers prescribed by the Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. (Read the circular here)
Acting upon the Kashag’s directives issued on 17 March on restricting gathering for up to 1 month and all returnees to undergo 14 days quarantine, the department, as a precautionary measure, sent forms enquiring in detail about the measures taken by the respective monasteries to curb the spread of the disease and other necessary practices.
On 6 May, the Department of Religion and Culture, CTA, through a special circular, called on all Tibetan monastic and religious centres around the world to join the Virtual Vesak Celebration and Global Prayer Week organised by the International Buddhist Confederation based in Delhi. (Read the circular here) The virtual celebration of Vesak – Buddha Poornima on 7 May was dedicated to a speedy resolution to the COVID-19 crisis.
The Kalon for Religion and Culture, Ven. Karma Gelek Yuthok also congratulated the Secretary-General of the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC), New Delhi on his initiative aad expressed his support and appreciation to IBC head office for dedicating the event as Global Prayer Week to pray for the victims of COVID-19 and to honour the medical professionals and security personnel in the frontline of global fight-back against the pandemic.
On the auspicious occasion of the Saka Dawa, the Chorig department issued an appeal to the public to pray for the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and to accumulate positive karma in order to enhance the collective merit for the Tibetan cause. Especially, amidst the COVID-19 afflicted world, the department urged the people to pray for a speedy resolution to the pandemic. (Read the circular here)
Meanwhile, during the early lockdown period, the Chorig Department in collaboration with the Department of Information and International Relations (DIIR) organised weekly Wednesday programme through which many Buddhist scholars shared the Buddhist teachings and wisdom on coping with the pandemic.
In view of the pandemic growing unabatedly without a cure yet discovered, the Department issued its latest circular on 7 July, appealing Tibetan monasteries and public alike to continue observing the prayers until the pandemic subsides.
As of today, there are at least 16.1 million people worldwide infected with COVID-19, while the global death toll has surpassed 600,000 and continues to rise.