Friday August 23, 2019

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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Measles Outbreak: N.Y. Eliminates Religious Exemptions for Vaccinations

The move comes while the United States is experiencing its worst outbreak of measles in 25 years

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Measles, NY, Religious
In this March 27, 2019 file photo, a woman receives a measles, mumps and rubella vaccine at the Rockland County Health Department in Pomona, N.Y., north of New York City. VOA

New York is the latest state where parents can no longer refuse to vaccinate children on religious grounds.

Both houses of the New York State Assembly passed the measure Thursday and Governor Andrew Cuomo signed it immediately.

The move comes while the United States is experiencing its worst outbreak of measles in 25 years.

Parents in New York have up to 30 days to get their children immunized against contagious diseases such as measles, or they would be barred from school.

Measles, NY, Religious
New York is the latest state where parents can no longer refuse to vaccinate children on religious grounds. Pixabay

Some parents shouted curses and booed as state lawmakers voted in favor of the bill, calling it a violation of religious freedom.

“People came to this country to get away from exactly this kind of stuff,” a member of a Russian Orthodox Church said.

But the bill’s sponsor said he is not aware of anything in the Torah, the Bible, or the Koran commanding that children not get vaccinated.

“If you choose not to vaccinate your child, therefore potentially endangering other children…then you’re the one choosing not to send your children to school,” Bronx assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz said.

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Most cases of measles in New York are in New York City’s Orthodox Jewish community.

Governor Cuomo said he “understands freedom of religion. I have heard the anti-vaxxers’ theory, but I believe both are overwhelmed by the public health risk.”

Health officials in the United States and around the world are fighting widely spread disinformation that vaccines against measles and other diseases cause autism.

Measles, NY, Religious
Both houses of the New York State Assembly passed the measure Thursday. Pixabay

They call the global anti-vaccination campaign a major threat to public health.

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Some of the New York lawmakers say some parents who believe vaccines are harmful may be using freedom of religion as an excuse not to get shots for their children. (VOA)