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Dalai Lama set for mid-December int’l Buddhist event in Mumbai?

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(TibetanReview.net, Nov12’23) – Tibet’s exile spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, is to visit Mumbai next month to take part in a high-profile international Buddhist conference, reported the PTI news agency Nov 12, citing India’s union minister Mr Ramdas Athawale. Those attending the dhamma diksha, to be held over Dec 15-16, will include the prime ministers of Sri Lanka and Thailand, the report said.

The venues of the conference will be the sports stadium in Worli on Dec 15 and the Mahalaxmi Race Course on Dec 16, the minister has told reporters in the city Nov 11.

Athawale has explained that after Dr BR Ambedkar, India’s first law minister, converted to Buddhism in Nagpur on Oct 14, 1956, he had planned to organise a dhamma diksha conference in Mumbai, but he passed away on Dec 6 that year.

“With the conference being held here this year, Ambedkar’s dream will be fulfilled,” he has said.

Dr Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (Apr 14, 1891 – Dec 6, 1956) was an Indian jurist, economist, social reformer and political leader who headed the committee drafting the Constitution of India from the Constituent Assembly debates. He served as Law and Justice Minister in the first cabinet of Jawaharlal Nehru, and inspired the country’s Dalit Buddhist movement.

Apart from the Dalai Lama, Sri Lanka Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, Thailand Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, Bhutan Princess Kesang Wangmo Wangchuk, and Buddhist leaders from Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand and other countries will take part in the event, the report said.

Athawale, a prominent Dalit leader from Maharashtra, has appealed to Buddhists and Ambedkar’s followers to attend the event in large numbers. A social activist and trade unionist from Maharashtra, he is the president of the Republican Party of India (A), a splinter group of the Republican Party of India, and the Minister of State in the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India.

The news that the Dalai Lama is coming has excited his followers in the city, especially because the spiritual teacher has curtailed his public engagements lately because of ill health, reported the freepressjournal.in Nov 11.

Earlier, on Oct 10, the Gaden Phodang Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama issued a notice, saying the 88-year-old’s scheduled visits to Sikkim in November and south India thereafter till mid-December had been cancelled to enable his full recovery from a nagging flu.

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