(TibetanReview.net, Jan16, 2017) – Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, on Jan 14 reaffirmed his belief that he will live to be at least 100 years old as he concluded his 34th Kalachakra – or Wheel of Time – Empowerment to a mammoth congregation said to be of more than 200,000 devotees at Buddhism’s holiest site of Bodh Gaya in the Indian state of Bihar. The ceremonial teachings took place from Jan 2 to 13 and it concluded the next day with the Dalai Lama conferring an Avalokiteshwara empowerment and being offered a grand long-life prayer ritual jointly by the Central Tibetan Administration, the International Tibetan Business Association and the Worshipping Congregation from the Himalayas of Nepal.
Apart from the Dalai Lama, those who addressed the gathering at the conclusion of the Jan 14 ceremonies included Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of Bihar, Hollywood start and longtime Tibet activist Richard Gere, and the executive head of the Central Tibetan Administration, Sikyong Lobsag Sangay.
A visibly exuberant Dalai Lama reaffirmed to the gathering his belief that he will live to be at least 100 years old and continue to take rebirth to resume his service to humanity. “I have reached 81 years of age and I can see the benefit that I can do to others. Tibetans have a special karmic connection with me. As long as I am able to benefit you, I should live to that extent to do my best.”
He expressed disappointment that Tibetan devotees who had come from Tibet to attend the Kalachakra Initiation had been forced to return home with threats of punishment. “So many of Tibetans had come from Tibet to attend the teachings but they were called back. They were told that their family members will be punished if they didn’t return. So these actions, on the part of Chinese government, do not help anyone. They talk about harmony and stability but their actions are opposed to these goals.”
And referring to the Kalachakra teachings that he had just concluded, the Dalai Lama said, “Having discussed dharma for the last many days, you should be able to go back home with a warm heart. An individual with a warm heart and healthy body can help other people and they will in turn help the next person, that way the practice of compassion could exponentially increase throughout the world. Bodhichitta is sense of taking responsibility of all sentient beings. It is not only matter of dharma but in accordance with reality. Buddhism emphasizes the practice of love and compassion through reason. From your individual pursuit of happiness, or for world peace and harmony, you need the principles of Bodhichitta.”
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, the chief guest for the occasion, expressed his deepest gratitude to the Dalai Lama for having given the Kalachakra teachings for the fifth time in Bihar. He said the people of the state felt honoured and privileged to be able to serve in the organization of the Dalai Lama’s 34th Kalachakra teaching. “It is the blessing of His Holiness and his boundless teachings that has united all the people of different culture and nationality together to take part in the teaching. The practice of the Kalachakra Initiation is for the benefit of all sentient beings and it will really enhance love and compassion in the world.”
In his brief address, Richard Gere sought to draw attention to the plight of Tibetans in Tibet, saying, “Tibetan brothers and sisters inside Tibet are really the focus of our love and compassion. For many of them, the voyage to Bodh Gaya has been made especially difficult by the Chinese government. Many of them who came here had to go back for fear of losing their job, education, identity and security.”
Sikyong Lobsang Sangay said the 34th Kalachakra Empowerment was organized by the Central Tibetan Administration with the sole objective to spread peace around the world.