Tuesday July 17, 2018

Dalai Lama teaches the ‘Tree of Faith- a Self Exhortation’ to Tibetan students

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  • The Dalai Lama gave public teachings to over 10,000 people from June 1- 3
  • ‘Heart of Wisdom’ Sutra and The Tree of Wisdom were recited
  • The Dalai Lama departed with the words, “We’ll meet again next year”

Dharamshala, H.P., India: From June 1 – 3, the Dalai Lama gave public teachings to over 10,000 people on ‘Tree of Faith- a Self Exhortation’, who had gathered around the Tsuglagkhang. The Tsuglagkhang is the main Tibetan temple located in Dharamshala, HP, India and is the main focus for many visiting pilgrims and tourists.

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The 10,000 people who had gathered for this public teaching included school students, over 600 college students, 2000 foreigners from 66 countries and 5000 individuals from the Tibetan public. This event was organised by Tibetan Children’s Village School and the local Introductory Buddhist Study Group

On June 1, 2016, the yearly event began with the recitation of The Heart of Wisdom Sutra in Tibetan. It was followed by verses in homage to Buddha. His Holiness then went on to explain that the text ‘Tree of Faith- a Self Exhortation’ was obtained from 16 Drops of Kadam, a special teaching that emerged from the interaction of Atisha, Dromtonpa, Ngok Legpai Sherab, Nagtso Lotsawa and Geshe Kawa at Yerpa Lhari Nyingpo.

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Dalai Lama explained the first verses of the text, before concluding for the day. He then encouraged everyone gathered to read the verses once again, reflect on the teachings and discuss it among themselves.

On the second morning, His Holiness took his seat after addressing the pupils sitting around his throne. The ‘Heart of Wisdom Sutra’ was recited. He then went on to cite a verse that summarised the teachings of Buddha. After an active discussion with the individuals gathered, the reading of the ‘Truth of Wisdom’ was resumed.

On the final morning of the public teaching, his Holiness lead a ceremony for the awakening of the mind. He also gave the permission of Manjushri, the bodhisattva embodying wisdom. After that, he went on to finish the reading of the text, ‘Tree of wisdom’. Soon after His Holiness had given his final remarks, the senior staff members of TCV made their offerings to him, which included 113 copies of a prayer to Amityasus and images of enlightenment.

In the eulogy that followed, Ngodup Wangdu, the director of TVC expressed his gratitude. He also wished for His Holiness’s long life.

The Dalai Lama departed with the words, “We’ll meet again next year”.

Report prepared by Devika Todi. Twitter @devika_todi

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Tibetan Activist Sentenced to 5 Years of Imprisonment in China

A Tibetan education activist was on Tuesday sentenced to five years in prison by a Chinese court for inciting separatism, Amnesty International (AI) said, calling the sentence "unjust" and urging his immediate release.

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A Tibetan education activist was on Tuesday sentenced to five years in prison by a Chinese court for inciting separatism, Amnesty International (AI) said, calling the sentence “unjust” and urging his immediate release.

The main evidence against Tashi Wangchuk, who was sentenced by a court in Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Qinghai province, was a 2015 video by the New York Times about his campaign for saving the Tibetan language, according to his lawyer.

“Today’s verdict against Tashi Wangchuk is a gross injustice. He is being cruelly punished for peacefully drawing attention to the systematic erosion of Tibetan culture,” AI East Asia Research Director Joshua Rosenzweig was cited as saying by Efe news.

Before his arrest, the 31-year-old activist had expressed concern over the fact that many Tibetan children could not fluently speak their native language, contributing to the progressive extinction of the Tibetan culture.

Representational Image: Tibetan Teachings
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

“Tashi must be immediately and unconditionally released,” demanded AI, pointing out that the activist had already spent two years in detention without access to his family.

Rosenzweig claimed that Tashi Wangchuk “was a human rights defender and prisoner of conscience who used the media and China’s own legal system in his struggle to preserve Tibetan language, culture and identity”.

In the New York Times video, the activist had highlighted “the extreme discrimination and restrictions on freedom of expression that Tibetans face in China today”.

Also Read: An Attempt to Preserve Ancient Tibetan Literature

Non-profit Human Rights Watch (HRW) also criticized the prison term for Tashi Wangchuk, whose “only crime was to peacefully call for the right of minority peoples to use their own language”, a right safeguarded by the Chinese Constitution.

“His conviction on bogus separatism charges show that critics of government policy on minorities have no legal protections,” said HRW China Director Sophie Richardson. (IANS)