New York: Sikyong Penpa Tsering addressed the Tibetan community of New York and New Jersey, one of the largest diaspora communities in the West on Saturday. In the meeting, Sikyong underscored the profound geo-strategic significance of Tibet and the Tibetan plateau while also outlining his administration’s political approach, engaging like-minded governments to reinforce Tibet’s historical independent status, and dismantling the false narratives propagated by the PRC. Sikyong also highlighted his key political engagements on Capitol Hill, where he advocated for a legislative bill that is central to this strategy.
On the hill, Sikyong met with US leaders including Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Jim McGovern, Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues Uzra Zeya, Senators Chris Coons, Jon Ossoff, James Risch and Mit Romney, and Representative Mike Gallagher, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, Rep. Diana DeGette, Rep. Michelle Steel, and Deputy to the Ambassador at Large Office of International Religious Freedom, Mariah Mercer.
Sikyong next held a meeting with representatives of Tibetan Buddhist centres based across New York and New Jersey. The meeting focused on reinforcing the collective commitment to preserving Tibetan cultural heritage, and Buddhist traditions, and harmonising efforts to fulfil the noble aspirations of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
The exiled Tibetan leader pointed out the pressing concerns involving the politicisation of Tibetan Buddhism by the Beijing government to consolidate control over the lives and beliefs of Tibetan people and further eradicate the survival of Tibetan Buddhism in Tibet. Sikyong explained the implications of China’s Order no 5 being used as a political tool to brutally repress the religious faith and freedom in Tibet including interference in the selection of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s reincarnation.
As for matters concerning the reincarnation of His Holiness, Sikyong said the Kashag possessed a document produced by His Holiness in September 2011, that reiterated His Holiness’ firm decision to discuss his reincarnation on reaching his 90th birthday. Sikyong informed that the Kashag too had declared its “position on the reincarnation of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama” in October last year by coming out with the official Position Paper on the issue of reincarnation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The said document states Kashag’s firm belief that His Holiness will live to the ripe age of 113 as per propitious prescient and the repeated assurances of His Holiness himself. It further reiterates Kashag’s commitment to take responsibility as entrusted and delivers assurance to working on other related matters that need to be addressed concerning this issue.
At the meeting, Sikyong revealed Kashag’s plan to organise a grand celebration on His Holiness’ 90th birthday to be held in 2025. Sikyong also announced the decision to commemorate 2025 as the “Year of Peace” to celebrate the life and extensive legacy of the Tibetan spiritual leader.
The meeting with representatives of Tibetan Buddhist centres across NY&NJ is the first of such a congregation held under the umbrella of CTA. The meeting was attended by around 30 representatives from Bon Shen Ling, Namgyal Monastery in Ithaca, Chotrul Monlam Chenmo, Danang Trust, Sera Jey Buddhist Cultural Center, Pelpung Thupten Ling Choeling, Jonang Phuntsok Ling, Tashi Gyephel Ling, Sakya Tsechen Kunchab Ling, Karma Thegsum Choling, Tashi Lhunpo, Choephel Ling, Drukpa Kagyu, Nechung, Sere Mey, Shidey Kunyab Ling, Dolchok, Sakya Tsechen, Gashar, and Deprung Losel Ling.
Following this, Sikyong met with Chinese students and a group of Tibetans at the Taiwan Centre, discussing the Sino-Tibet conflict and emphasizing the CTA’s commitment to a nonviolent resolution rooted in the Middle Way Approach espoused by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Later in the evening, Sikyong visited Pari Rinpoche, the spiritual director of Sera Jey Buddhist Cultural Center of New York in a private audience.
In the following days, Sikyong will be visiting Tibetan communities in Connecticut, Amherst and Ithica.