(TibetanReview.net, Jan02’23) – More than 16,000 monks and nuns, many of them from the Himalayan Regions, took part in a long-life offering ceremony made to His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Jan 1 at Bodh Gaya in the Indian state of Bihar. It followed three days of religious teaching given by the exile Tibetan spiritual leader, which was attended by around 65,000 followers, including some 3,000 from 80 countries outside India. The Dalai Lama has vowed to keep teaching until at least 100 years of age.
The offering was made on the Kalachakra Ground as a part of the Geluk Great Prayer Festival, organized by the Geluk International Foundation, which is an umbrella organization for the entire Geluk Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.
The Gaden Tri Rinpoché, the Sharpa Chöjé and the Jangtsé Chöjé presided over the ceremony. Also present were top leaders from the Sakya, Nyingma and other traditions of Tibetan Buddhism.
The Gaden Tri Rinpoché is the Throneholder of the Ganden Monastery and overall head of the Geluk tradition. The Sharpa Chöjé, the abbot of Gyuto Tantric Monastery, and the Jangtsé Chöjé, the abbot of Gyümé Tantric College, alternate as successors to the Ganden Throne for a term of seven years each. The current, 104th, Ganden Tripa is the Jangtse Choejey Kyabje Jetsun Lobsang Tenzin Palsangpo.
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In his address to the gathering, the Dalai Lama spoke of his determination “to continue to serve the Buddhadharma, especially the Tibetan Buddhist Tradition, until I’m at least 100 years old.”
He spoke of being driven in this determination by the prayer lines: “For as long as space endures
And for as long as living beings remain, / Until then may I too abide / To dispel the suffering and misery of the world.”
He said: “People in Tibet are facing difficulties, but it is the people of the Three Provinces — Amdo, Kham and U-Tsang — the Himalayan Regions, as well as Mongolia, Kalmykia, Buryatia and Tuva, who most fervently pray for me to live long. These heartfelt wishes will bear fruit. I am determined to live for a long time and in my dreams I’ve had indications that I will live to be more than 100. The karmic connections between us serve as conditions for this to come about.”
“I’m well,” he also said. “My brain is sharp and alert. I’m still able to smile and will continue to do so for years to come.”
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The ceremony saw the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Mr Pema Khandu and his brother Tashi Tsering, an MLA, making a presentation of a twig, leaf and seeds of what is now regarded as an auspicious tree as a souvenir to His Holiness.
They reminded His Holiness that after entering Indian territory at Khen Dze Mani in Tawang District of Arunachal Pradesh on Mar 31, 1959, he had planted his walking stick on a rock at a spot called ‘Grong Kukpa’.
That stick has since grown into a beautiful and revered tree and the twig, leaf and seeds came from it, they have said.