Thursday October 19, 2017

Dalai Lama’s tête-à-tête with Tibetan diaspora in US

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Dalai Lama

Minneapolis, USA: His Holiness the Dalai Lama journeyed through a nearly 90-mile drive from Rochester to Minneapolis on February 21, where the local Tibetan community had invited him to teach and interact with the Tibetan diaspora in the city.

Welcomed by the Tibetan community representatives, Mayor of Minneapolis, Betsy Hodges and State Representative Carolyn Laine, he spoke to scores of the audience gathered at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

Dr Tsewang Ngodup, President of the Tibetan American Foundation of Minnesota, while briefing the gathering, thanked the spiritual leader for accepting the Foundation’s invitation. Affirming the intention of Minnesotan Tibetans to be active members of the Tibetan diaspora, Dr Ngodup said they desire to contribute to their local communities and conduct themselves as global citizens.

Tibetan community members greeting and offering His Holiness the Dalai Lama a traditional welcome drink
Tibetan community members greeting and offering His Holiness the Dalai Lama a traditional welcome drink.

We give a brief view of Dalai Lama’s speech and other activities that enveloped the event:

  • Seated before thangkas of Chenrezig, the Medicine Buddha, and Guru Rinpoche, His Holiness began his talk by appreciating the efforts of the Tibetan diaspora who are trying to maintain their Tibetan values and ethics outside the country as well:

“I always start by greeting my brothers and sisters. That’s how I think of you and how I think of all 7 billion human beings, so I’m never lonely. Two years ago we celebrated Losar together and I’m happy to see you all again…”

“I’m glad to know that you are trying to preserve our traditional values. It’s 57 years now that we’ve been in exile while the turmoil in Tibet began 60 years ago. Nevertheless, you’ve kept your spirits up, which is praiseworthy, and maintained our cherished values, for which I’d like to thank you all. The Tibetan spirit is strong and we’ve kept our culture and religious traditions alive, which is important because they have a contribution to make to the world at large. That’s something to be proud of.”

  • He then spoke about his experience as a human being and not as a Buddhist or as Dalai Lama:

“The key is to develop a concern for others’ well-being; a sense of compassion. If, instead of anger, hatred and suspicion, we were moved by loving-kindness, we would naturally have greater respect for others and our actions would be non-violent.”

“In my experience, what we need is a calm mind and warm-heartedness provides a basis for that. I believe that if we can train those who are young today in these qualities the world will be a more peaceful place later in this century. This is not something we can hope the government or the UN can do, real change starts with individuals. We each have to make a contribution. I request you to do so too.”

Upon hearing this, the feedback from the 3000-strong audience was a heavy applause.

His Holiness speaking before the 3000-strong audience
His Holiness speaking before the 3000-strong audience.

  • The spiritual leader went on to explain his second commitment of promoting inter-religious harmony, declaring that all religions carry a common message of love, forgiveness and tolerance.

“Those of us who follow a religious practice ourselves have a responsibility to work to foster inter-religious harmony.”

  • Gratifying the nurturing he received from the Tibetan culture while growing up, His Holiness referred to the Tibetan culture as a culture of peace and non-violence:

“I’m also a Tibetan and since I’ve been nurtured by Tibetans since I was small, I can never give up the cause of Tibet. In 2001, I semi-retired from political responsibility and in 2011 completely retired. I did this to promote democracy. Still, Tibetans both in Tibet and outside have placed their hopes in me…”

“Tibetan culture can contribute to making the world a more peaceful, compassionate place.”

He further praised Tibet’s Buddhist traditions as a complete transmission of the traditions of India’s Nalanda University, including logic, psychology and a range of philosophical views.  Translated mostly from Sanskrit into Tibetan, the traditions are contained in the more than 300 volumes of Buddhist literature.

  • Continuing to speak about Nalanda’s tradition, he spoke of the great Nalanda scholar Shantarakshita. He told how Shantarakshita gave the first monastic ordination in Tibet, helped found the first monastery at Samye, and explained the great treatises. He also encouraged the translation of Buddhist literature into Tibetan.
  • Talking about the ‘Eight Verses for Training the Mind’ by the disciple of Potowa, Geshe Langri Tangpa, His Holiness explained all the verses one by one:

The first verse is about altruism and the need for compassion and affection for others. The second is about humility. The third is about being mindful in daily life while the fourth verse is to not give in to anger but showing compassion upon encountering reckless and unruly people. The fifth suggests accepting defeat and giving the victory to others while the sixth verse recommends cultivating patience around people who mock or despise you. The seventh verse deals with the practice of giving and taking. The final of the eight verses advises not to give in to the eight worldly concerns and to see everything as an illusion, something which completely lacks independent existence.

  • Quoting the renowned Indian Buddhist philosopher Nagarjuna, he said:

A person is not earth, not water,
Not fire, not wind, not space,
Not consciousness, and not all of them.
What person is there other than these?

He said that while a person is designated on the basis of the above six elements, these elements exist only as designations.

  • Dalai Lama then led the gathering, including around 2000 Tibetans, in reciting three verses meant to awaken the mind. He concluded his speech by explaining the ‘five paths’ which led him to the ‘Heart of Wisdom’ with the first ‘gate’ indicating the path of seeing and the last gate ‘bodhi svaha’- the attainment of enlightenment.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama accepting a gift of flowers at the conclusion of his teaching.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama accepting a gift of flowers at the conclusion of his teaching.

  • Being offered a white silk ‘katas’ as a token of respect, Dalai Lama left the stage smiling and waving to the happy crowd, and afterward was driven back to Rochester. (With picture courtesy and Inputs from tibet.net)

Also Watch this video about how Tibet is Burning:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ao5NxasryxA

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Dalai Lama on Three Day Visit to Manipur

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Dalai Lama
Dalai Lama will be in Manipur on Tuesday. ians

Imphal, October 16: Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama will arrive here on Tuesday on a three-day visit to Manipur, officials said.

This will be his second trip to India’s northeast after his April visit to Arunachal Pradesh.

Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh told IANS on Monday that the government had declared the Dalai Lama a state guest.

“We will extend a warm welcome to him. He will be given all facilities as an honoured guest,” he said.

On Wednesday, the Dalai Lama will be given a public reception at the Convention Centre here. It will be followed by a felicitation programme at the same venue.

The Dalai Lama will interact with members of the public and dignitaries.

The Dalai Lama, who has lived in India in self-imposed exile since fleeing his homeland in 1959, is coming to Manipur at the invitation of the Speaker of the Manipur Assembly.

His Arunachal Pradesh visit had sparked a diplomatic row between India and China.(IANS)

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‘Religion’ in India- Types and its Connection to Country’s Civilization

The Ancient religions of India are Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.

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Religion
Ancient Religions of India.

India’s economic and political strata in today’s world have reached a great level, but that is still not what the country is known for. The country is known for its diversity and religions because the term ‘religion’ in India is not just a system of belief and worship, but a way of life too. Since ancient times, it has been an integral part of its culture. For the citizens of this country, religion pervades through all the activities of life- from cooking chores to working and politics. The religion we follow plays an important role in our upbringing as well. Our conditioning is done based on the principles of our religion. India is a home to many religions- Hinduism, Sikhism, Christianity, Jainism, Buddhism, Islam and others.

How old is the Indian civilization?

The Indian civilization is around 4000 years old, with the existing Indian religions growing in that period. The antiquity of the religions in India begins from the Harappan culture. It’s a secular country which respects all kinds of religion and culture, but during the ancient times, when the Human civilization was developing, there were three main religions native to India- Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. The predominant religion during this period was Hinduism, which is said have originated in the Northern India.

Religion wise Indian Population:

  • HINDUISM – about 82%
  • ISLAM – about 12%
  • CHRISTIANITY – about 2.5%
  • SIKHISM – about 2%
  • BUDDHISM – about 0.7%
  • JAINISM – about 0.5%
  • ZOROASTRIANISM – about 0.01%
  • JUDAISM – about 0.0005%   (stated by adaniel.tripod)

Hinduism

Religion
Brahma                                                                                                                                                          Pixabay

Hinduism is a polytheistic religion. Its followers worship several deities. Unlike the other religions, this religion does not have one teacher. Its followers, the ‘Hindus’ believe in a supreme divine spirit called ‘Parama Brahma’. The concept of Parama Brahma states that Brahma is omnipresent.

Hindus believe in vasudhaiva kutumbakam, which means the whole world is a single family. They also believe in Sarva dharma Sama Bhava, which means all religions are equal. The practice follows the ideas of mercy, charity, compassion, benevolence, non-violence and mercy. It believes the concept of ‘Bhakti’ or devotion.

The sacred writings of Hinduism include the Vedas, Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Upanishads.

Also Read: The history and development of Indian Handicrafts

Jainism

Religion
Lord Mahavira                                                                                                                                                   Pixabay

According to tradition, the founder of Jainism was first Tirthankara Adinatha. However, the religion was widely propagated by the 24th Tirthankara, Mahavira. He was born in Vaishali, Bihar, who belonged to the clan ‘Licchavi’. Mahavira was moved by the sufferings of people, and therefore, left his home at the age of 30 to seek the truth. He supported the teachings of the previous Tirthankaras, and added his own beliefs to the teachings.
He believed in the ideology of leading a good life and not doing any wrong. He did not encourage the practice of needing the help of God for everything.
Doctrines of Jainism:
  1. Ahimsa (Non-violence)
  2. Satya (Truth)
  3. Asteya (Non-stealing)
  4. Brahmacharya (Chastity)
  5. Aparigraha (Non-possession)

Buddhism

Religion
Lord Buddha                                                                                                                                                    Pixabay

Buddhism is a religion which consists of different kinds of beliefs and practices based on the teachings of Lord Buddha. Buddha’s name was Siddhartha. He was the son of the Shakya clan’s leader. It is believed that Siddhartha made three observations, which changed his life:  a feeble old man; a person suffering from disease; and a dead body being taken for cremation. This propelled him in finding the true meaning of life. He left his home at an early age and attained ‘enlightenment’ in Bodhgaya.
He also prescribed the four noble truths and eight fold path.
Four noble truths are:
  • Dukkha (truth of suffering)
  • Samudāya (truth of the suffering’s origin)
  • Nirodha (the truth of suffering’s cessation.)
  • Magga (Direction to eight-fold path)

The eight fold path are- Right aims, Right beliefs, Right conduct, Right speech, Right effort, Right occupation, Right meditation and Right thinking.

-by Megha Acharya of NewsGram. Megha can be reached at twitter @ImMeghaacharya.

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Angkor Wat: History behind Cambodian Hindu temple

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Angkor Wat: World’s Largest Hindu Temple


In this article, we will discuss about the “History behind Angkor Wat Hindu Temple“, which is the world’s largest Hindu temple located in “Cambodia” – southeast asian nation.


 

Angkor Wat: Lost in the woods for over 400 years, the discovery of Angkor Wat, the largest Hindu monument literally shocked the world. Angkor Wat, Cambodia’s famous temple is a place full of still unexplored history, myth and legend.

Discovery & History of Angkor Wat – World’s Largest Hindu Temple

  • Angkor wat denotes Cambodia’s unwrapped mystery of civilization that for centuries looked like it never existed. The hidden temple was a stuff of legend until 1860 when a French naturalist, “Henri Mohout”  accidently came to that place during his expedition. He saw the ruins of Angkor Wat. But why did the civilization collapse? How did they make this sophisticated temple with no modern technologies? What must have happened?  It’s the high time to uncover these hidden secrets.
  • Angkor, the capital of last Cambodian empire was home to millions of people over 800 years ago. The powerful empire covered South East Asia including Vietnam, Bay of Bengal and North West China. Built in the 12th century, Angkor Wat is among the wonders of the world. Even today, this world’s largest hundu temple or religious monument has a huge complex stretched at about 200 hectares of land. While entering the main temple a vast gate gives an impression that you have reached the temple, however, you realize that the main temple still is 400 yards away. The expansive nature of temple is seen to be believed.
  • Angkor Wat is also known as the city temple as it was surrounded by urban areas (long back before disappearing). When built,  it was dedicated to representing Hindu god, “Lord Vishnu”. There is a 213 feet high central tower(temple) encircled by 4 small towers representing Mount Meru, a celestial home of god based on Hindu mythology. It took 50,000 workers to build this extraordinary temple, that was completed in the year 1145.
  • This huge temple can be compared to Egyptian pyramids in the context of the strength. Compared to the construction of modern European temples which require almost 300 to 400 years, Angkor Wat was completed in only 32 years. How did they do? The answer to this question lies inside the temple. There is a carving in the main temple which gives clues to the mystery of building this huge temple without any modern technology. The story carved in the stones speaks: a lever used to push big stone blocks one over another to assemble it perfectly. This shows Angkor Wat was planned, assembled and then carved.
  • The surface of this masterpiece is covered with carvings that display the Hindu mythological stories originated in India. But how did the stories from India arrive in Cambodia? The answer is “Indian Traders”. The Indian traders travelling towards south-east Asia passed their religion, art and architecture to the local people of Cambodia. This way the traders were an important part of spreading Hindu culture in Cambodian Empire.
  • Archaeologists have used sophisticated aerial imaging techniques to look into the past of Cambodia. In 1994, NASA took the first image which shows Angkor Wat was huge and another recent satellite image show collection of hundreds of temples in the area. The modern technology has also thrown light on the extensive water management system of the Cambodian empire which existed those times. This shows the engineering marvels of Cambodians. They constructed rectangular reservoirs and water systems in such a way that the water from Kulen Mountain irrigates the farms resulting in a good harvest. It could have been the work of only advanced and skilled people.

History behind Cambodian Hindu temple
Wikimedia

How did the civilization collapse? Hard evidence points towards the failure of Water management system. But the debate is still going on. Surprisingly the temple was never abandoned, a group of Buddhist monks stayed there and aggressively worked to save the religious place for over centuries. This also gradually resulted in the transformation of a Hindu Temple into a Buddhist temple.

In 1992, Angkor Wat was listed as World Heritage site in danger. Subsequently, it was removed from the endangered list, to be included as a World Heritage site. France, Japan and China have helped  in temple restoration project. India’s archaeological department had also chipped in the 1980s. Currently,  German Apsara Conservation project is in place to save the sculptures carved on the stones. Due to the continuous efforts of UNESCO and other nations Angkor Wat has become a major tourist spot with over 2 million people visiting this place every year. (Inputs from Aakash Sinha)(image-Unesco)

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  4. Ancient Hindu Temple Changu Narayan in Nepal Possesses Historical Significance.
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