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Lobsang Sangay Re-elected as Prime Minister by Tibetans in Exile

The Dalai Lama and his followers have been living in exile in Dharmsala since they fled Tibet after a failed 1959 uprising against Chinese rule

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Lobsang Sangay, the incumbent prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile, speaks to media after being re-elected for second term in office in Dharmsala, India, Wednesday, April 27, 2016.

Lobsang Sangay has been re-elected prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile in voting held last month, officials announced Wednesday, with Sangay saying the election shows that Tibetans in exile “are practicing democracy, whereas China is not.”

Tibetan election officials announced the result in the northern Indian town of Dharmsala, the headquarters of the government-in-exile. Sangay, 47, defeated his only rival, Penpa Tsering, receiving about 58 percent of the 58,740 votes cast.

It was the second election since the Dalai Lama stepped down as head of the government-in-exile in 2011 to focus on his role as the Tibetans’ spiritual leader. Tibetans living in exile cast their votes in 40 countries.

China says Tibet has historically been part of its territory since the mid-13th century, and the Communist Party has governed the Himalayan region since 1951. But many Tibetans say that they were effectively independent for most of their history, and that the Chinese government wants to exploit their resource-rich region while crushing their cultural identity.

China doesn’t recognize the Tibetan government-in-exile, and hasn’t held any dialogue with the representatives of the Dalai Lama since 2010.

“This election sends a very clear and powerful message to the Chinese government and the country, China,” Sangay told reporters after the result was announced. “It is a clear statement that even exile Tibetans are practicing democracy, whereas China is not.”

Sangay said his government would continue to fight for basic freedoms and genuine autonomy for Tibetans living under Chinese rule in Tibet.

Last month, Sangay called for China to engage in dialogue on autonomy for his people’s homeland. Stressing that a dialogue with China would be his main initiative, he said he hoped that Chinese President Xi Jinping would look at the Tibetan issue and take the initiative to hold talks with Tibetan exiles.

On Wednesday, Sangay called the results of the election “the consolidation of democracy” and said an increased participation of Tibetans in the voting process reflected their maturity.

“By democratic standards, the exile Tibetan democracy is now a full-fledged, consolidated democracy,” he said.

The international community, he said, should look at his administration as a legitimate democratic identity. He said the exiled government “in many ways” reflected the aspirations of Tibetans inside Tibet.

The Dalai Lama and his followers have been living in exile in Dharmsala since they fled Tibet after a failed 1959 uprising against Chinese rule.

Exiled Tibetan officials say at least 114 monks and laypeople have set themselves on fire to protest Chinese rule over their homeland in the past five years, with most of them dying. U.S. government-backed Radio Free Asia puts the number of self-immolations at 144 since 2009.

Beijing blames the Dalai Lama and others for inciting the immolations and says it has made vast investments to develop Tibet’s economy and improve quality of life. (VOA)

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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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Caste System is a form of Religious Discrimination, says His Holiness the Dalai Lama

The Caste system exists not only in India but other regions of the world as well

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Caste System
Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama. Wikimedia
  • The Dalai Lama has clearly stated that the practice of caste system is against religious beliefs of the individual
  • Speaking in Padum, Zanskar for the Avalokiteshvara, he urged the people to stop this practice
  • The caste system is a failed aspect of the feudal system in India, which no longer exists 

New Delhi, August 10, 2017: Speaking to his devotees at Padum, Zanskar for the Avalokiteshvara, His Holiness the Dalai Lama explained how caste system is a practice that discriminates against the individual’s religious beliefs.

The Dalai Lama also urged the people to stop using this practice. He explained that the practice of caste differentiation was an aspect of the feudal Indian society, which no longer prevails.

Caste system goes against religion. In fact, no religion in the world promotes or encourages caste differences.

ALSO READ: Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama offers prayers for the victims of floods in Sri Lanka

The Tibetan spiritual leader reminded us that the feudal system was beaten by a democratic system. It is the high time people realize this.

He continued that just because one is from low class does not mean we should discriminate against them. No religion teaches that. Love is a common universal philosophy propagated by every religion. Gautam Budha was against discrimination 2,600 years before the caste system was even established!

The spiritual leader went on to say that practicing caste system is an open declaration of being against the Buddha and Dalai Lama.

More than 10,000 people attended the talk at Photang Teaching Ground, with many visitors from different parts of Ladakh and Zanskar. The devotees of the Dalai Lama offered long life prayers afterward in a ceremony called Tenshug.

Caste system goes against religion, says Dalai Lama Click To Tweet

It is estimated that more than 260 million people all over the world suffer from caste discriminatory practices, the majority of these people being in South Asia. The Dalits from India are often cited as the most familiar example. But caste system also exists in the Middle East, Pacific, and African regions.

The discriminated caste is subjected to inhuman conditions of economics and politics. The Dalits, for example, live in severe poverty and are more commonly identified as ‘untouchables’ in India. The dirty and ‘looked-down-upon’ jobs are mostly given to the Dalits.

Even when it comes to distribution of wealth and access to resources, the Dalits are served last.

Thus, the Dalai Lama’s powerful words against caste system were much needed. The message of peace and harmony was important, especially coming from a popular spiritual leader- the Holiness himself.

– Prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394

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“Indians Ought to Take Pride in Their Buddhist Heritage” says Tibetan Legal Scholar and Politician Lobsang Sangay

Tibetan Buddhism across the Himalayas is intangible and therefore indestructible but so is the Indian Buddhism. It's about time we start taking pride in our Buddhist roots.

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Prayer Wheels in Buddhism
Buddhism in India. Pixabay

New Delhi, July 31, 2017: Tibet is the autonomous region of the Republic of China and due to the Sino-Indian standoff, Tibet is at the heart of political differences between these regions. However, the interview talked majorly about the cultural exchanges between India and Tibet. Upon being asked whether Momo is a Tibetian delicacy or not, Sikyong immediately certified with affirmation, as the term itself suggests meat filled dumpling in Tibet.

“Indeed, the origin of Buddhism and the provenance of the momo can be seen as two immutable truths that bind Tibet and India together forever. Others can claim them and offer seemingly convincing arguments but we know better. Buddhism, taken to Tibet from India from the 7th century onwards–most importantly by monks from the ancient Nalanda university–is now an inextricable part of the Tibetan people. And momos have become as intrinsic a part of India ever since Tibetans and their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, fled Chinese occupation to seek refuge, appropriately, in the land of Buddha’s birth.” Lobsang Sangay said.

“It may be also germane to remember that at its peak from the 7th to the 9th centuries, the Tibetan Empire was bigger than the Chinese one and extended as far south as Bengal and north to Turkmenistan, Mongolia, and Siberia. Maybe momos traveled along with Tibetan Buddhism to those areas, both morphed into local variants and then journeyed beyond.” He further added.

It was a remarkable revelation that Buddhism culture is more widespread than one would think, fourteen countries being a Buddhist majority, while the total number of Buddhists around the world account for a total of 500 million people who are spread across 52 countries in total. Buddhism is said to have its roots in India, while it’s celebrated around the world and enjoys immense popularity we Indians are yet to embrace the fact that Buddhism, in fact, is an integral part of our culture and to protect the culture is our responsibility.

Indians should take pride in their Buddhist culture Click To Tweet

Not only Tibetian but ancient Buddhist scriptures and commentaries by Indian scholars constitute an inconvertible link between India and Buddhists across Asia. Tibetian scholarly works are majorly based on and influenced by the references in the Indian scriptures, hundreds of books are written and preserved in Tibetian monasteries.

According to Sikyong, Buddhism in Indian origin is not emphasized enough and the links are blinded by the strong Asian narratives compounded by their inexplicable official resistance.

What could be more indicative of this indifference than the lament of a former Sri Lankan envoy to India that precious relics of the Buddha languish in closed quarters at the Indian Museum in Calcutta. We Indians must take pride in our Buddhist heritage too and build on the myriad cultural and emotional links with other nations that it offers, as the benefits are obvious.

Based on the blog Silk Stalkings in Economic Times.

Prepared by Nivedita Motwani. Twitter @Mind_Makeup


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