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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.
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.
- 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.
- 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:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday announced that 2022 will be celebrated as the friendship year for India and ASEAN countries as both have completed 30 years of partnership.
The event will coincide with India's celebrations of the 75th year of Independence from the colonial regime, he added.
While participating in the 18th edition of the India-ASEAN Summit, Modi said, "India is committed to deepening its relations with the next presidency, Cambodia and country-coordinator Singapore."
"History is witness to the fact that India and ASEAN have had relations for thousands of years. India-ASEAN relations are reflected in everything, including in our shared values, traditions, languages, scriptures, architecture, culture, food," the Prime Minister noted.
Speaking about the Covid pandemic which engulfed the whole world, he further said that the Covid period was also a test of India-ASEAN friendship. "Our mutual ties in the Covid time will keep strengthening our corporations in future and form a base for goodwill between our people," Modi added.
He further said that the unity and centrality of ASEAN have always been a priority for India and history has witnessed the fact that "we have had ties since thousands of years," he said.
The Prime Minister also said that India's Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI) and ASEAN's Outlook for the Indo-Pacific are the framework for their shared vision and mutual cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.
During the Summit, the head of the member states will review the progress of India and ASEAN Strategic Partnerships which was signed in 2012. They will also review the progress achieved in the sectors like Covid-19, health, trade and investment, connectivity, education among others, the officials of India's Ministry of External Affairs said. (IANS/JB)
Keywords: India, and ASEAN partnership, COVID-19, India, and ASEAN, India, and history, Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative.
Light, airy, and silky, Chanderi silk is to the standards of Indian royals. Some believe it resembles muslin because of its texture, but recently, it has been incorporated with silk threads which adds an additional sheen.
Madhya Pradesh's Chanderi town is where the silk fabric was born. Handwoven sarees were famous here, as it was the primary textile centre in between the 7th and 2nd century BC. Because of its transparency, lightness, and rich look, royals began to patronize this fabric. From the 11th century AD, Chanderi silk became well-known across the country.
The Chanderi weave is a heritage. Long lines of weavers passed this skill to their children, and it is not disclosed to anyone else. It is too delicate to be woven on power looms as the threads are spun until they are as fine as a 300 count. A special root named Kolikanda is used to extract the cotton wool for the silk. These days, gold and silver are embroidered into it. Motifs were created with metal dust.
A weaver working on a Chanderi loom Image credit: Wikimedia commons
Unlike other fabrics, Chanderi silk fibres do not go through a degumming process. They are not crafted to evade breakage and tear easily under high pressure. This is one of the reasons they are so light. It is often called 'woven air' for its breezy, soft texture.These days, the use of cost-effective raw materials spoils the natural beauty of the weave. One of the ways to identify a pure Chanderi saree is from its soft hues. This silk is usually dyed in pastel colours. The motifs are always handwoven and covered in copper dust. The machine weave tends to unwind with time and is not preferred. Original Chanderi can be differentiated from the fake by its glossy shine.
Keywords: Chanderi silk, Royals Silk sarees, Chanderi weave is a heritage.
Each year Diwali is celebrated on Krishna Paksha Chaturdashi, the 14th lunar day of the dark fortnight in the Tamil month of Aippasi. Ancient scriptures of India advise people to worship Yama, the deity of death on the days of Dhantrayodashi, Narak Chaturdashi and Yamadwitiya. People light an oil Diya or 13 oil diyas made of wet wheat flour in the evening. They are kept facing southwards just outside people's residences. These lamps which are traditionally dedicated to Lord Yama are known as Yama Deepam.
It is believed that placing a Yama Deep in the evening of Trayodashi of the dark fortnight of Kartik month prevents any untimely death in the family. The legend of Skanda Purana says that the lighting of Yama Deepams with faith and devotion by the devotees can get the lord to bless them with grace and long and healthy life. Yamadev, the lord of death himself gave assurance to his attendants that even though death is inevitable and cannot be avoided those who perform this Deepdan on Dhantrayodashi will not suffer an early death.
The ritual Yama tarpanam can also be performed early in the morning on Diwali day as a form of worshipping Yama.
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Story of Origin of Yamadeepadana
A 16-year-old son of King Hima was destined to die on the fourth day of his married life due to a snake bride. A girl agreed to marry the unlucky prince despite knowing his ill fate.
She wanted to save her husband; on the fourth day of their marriage, the young bride didn't allow her husband to sleep. She lit the palace with innumerable Deepas, and gathered all her ornaments, jewellery and coins, and placed them in a heap at the entrance. When Lord Yama, guise as a snake reached the palace, his eyes were blinded by the dazzle of deepas, preventing him from entering the room. He waited near the ornament and coins for the prince to approach them. He sat there all night listening to the songs and tales narrated by the young bride. Soon, the sun rose and Lord Yama had to return empty-handed. The wife had saved her husband from the mouth of the death. Since the day of Dhanteras was named Yamadeepdaan and this tradition was celebrated by burning lamps through the night dedicated to Lord Yama.
When Lord Yama, guise as a snake reached the palace, his eyes were blinded by the dazzle of deepas.Unsplash
Elements of Yamadeepadana
To perform the ritual of Yamadeepadan one requires sandalwood paste, turmeric, vermilion, flowers to offer to the god, consecrated rice in the ritualistic pattern. For achaman (purification ritual) a cooper platter, tumbler, and a spoon are required. The lamp is placed in a copper platter to be taken out of the house. Most importantly, you need to prepare 13 lamps made of kneaded wheat flour mixed with turmeric powder.
Significance of wheat flour lamps
On the day of Dhanteras, the Tama-dominant (negative) energy frequencies are active in a higher proportion which causes untimely death. The lamps made of wheat flowers neutralize these energies and protect you from any unfortunate death.
Why "13" lamps?
- 13 lamps are offered to the lord as the frequencies coming from Lord Yama stay only 13 moments of Hell. Hence, 13 Deepas are lit to appeal to the lord this is known as Yama-Tarpan.
- The number '13' has the power to impress Yama; therefore, on the day of Trayodashi, prayer is made to Yama by offering 13 lamps to escape from death.
- The period of death of an embodied soul is 13 days long, during this period a black covering of death occurs around the soul and slowly it succumbs, in the next 13 days the souls penetrate through subtle boundaries of time to go to other 'loka' from earth aka bhoo-Loka. Untimely death occurs by crossing over these 13 wheels of time. To avoid such untimely death in the subtle 13 wheels of time, 13 'Deep-Daan is performed.
Diwali is one of the most auspicious festivals celebrated in India with utmost dedication, happiness, enthusiasm, and passion by the people. By performing Yamatarpan, the sins of the entire year are cleansed.
Keywords: Diwali, Dhanteras, Lord Yama, prevent untimely death, Yamadeepadan, diyas ritual, wheat flour lamps