(TibetanReview.net, Sep17, 2015) – Continuing his 9-day tour of the United Kingdom on Sep 15, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, visited the Magdalene and St Anne’s Colleges of Oxford University.
At St Anne’s College, the Dalai Lama addressed a gathering of more than 50 Chinese students. He outlined to them his three main commitments, namely, the promotion of happiness for all human beings, the encouragement of inter-religious harmony, and, as a Tibetan, the preservation of Tibetan language and Tibet’s rich Buddhist knowledge. He said that many among the estimated 400 million Buddhists in China today shared an interest in the preservation of Tibetan Buddhism. He reiterated that historically the Han and Tibetan peoples could and should be friends.
At the Magdalene College earlier in the day, the Dalai Lama took keen interest in the presentations to him by the President, Prof Clare Harris, of early photographs taken in Tibet. The earliest photograph taken in Tibet, in 1889, showed an image of a rock formation, possibly near the Indus, that could be attributed to Philip Egerton’s 1863 expedition into Tibet at the behest of the Viceroy of India, Lord Elgin. Egerton reached 10 miles into Tibet before he was expelled.
In 1990, Buryat monk Gombojab Tsybikov took the first photograph of the Potala Palace in 1900, which was widely reproduced. Prof Harris has suggested that a photograph of Gyantse Dzong taken three years later may have been prompted by Lord Curzon’s disgruntlement that the Russians had got to Lhasa first.