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India: Dalai Lama’s Ladakh visit completely religious

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(TibetanReview.net, Jul16’22) – Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, has been visiting Ladakh regularly in this part of the year to mainly give religious teachings and for other non-political purposes, save during the past two pandemic years. However, speculations abound in Indian news reports this time, saying his current, ongoing visit is bound to rile China which may therefore lodge a protest. And the government of India has explained that the visit is completely religious.

“The spiritual leader’s visit to Ladakh is expected to rile China as it comes amid the military standoff between Indian and Chinese troops, at several friction points in eastern Ladakh,” said thehindu.com Jul 16.

The report also cited an unnamed Indian government functionary as saying Jul 15, “The Dalai Lama is a spiritual leader and his visit to Ladakh is completely religious. Why should anyone have objections to the tour.”

The report noted that earlier this month, China criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for greeting the Dalai Lama on his 87th birthday, saying India should stop using Tibet-related issues to interfere in China’s internal affairs.

India, of course, rejected the criticism, citing its consistent policy to treat the Dalai Lama as an honoured guest of the country.

“Notwithstanding opposition from China, the Dalai Lama reaches Ladakh on Jul 15 afternoon for over a month-long stay in the mountainous region,” reported ibtimes.co.in Jul 15, even though China was yet to raise an objection and there were no news reports of an objection thus far.

Arriving from Jammu, hundreds of people lined both sides of the road outside of the Kushok Bakula Rimpoche (KBR) Airport of Leh town to welcome the spiritual leader, who is touring outside his base in the Himachal Pradesh’s Dharmsala for the first time since the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020, the report said.

At his residence at Shewatsel Phodrang, near Choglamsar, the Dalai Lama was greeted by Drikung Chetsang Rinpoché, Thiksé Rinpoché and other top Lamas. Mr Tashi Gyalson, Chairman of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC); his colleagues Mr Jamyang Namgyal, MP; Mr Thupten Chhewang, President of the Ladakh Buddhist Association (LBA); and Acharya Tenzin Wangdak, President of the Ladakh Gompa Association (LGA); as well as district officials, former government servants and representatives of various organizations, were also present to pay their respects, said a DalaiLama.com report Jul 15.

After a few days’ rest here, where the weather is easier on my knees, I would like to give a Chenrezig (Avalokiteshvara) empowerment and continue the explanation of the ninth chapter of Shantideva’s ‘Entering into the Way of a Bodhisattva’ that I began in 2018,” it quoted the Dalai Lama as saying.

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