(TibetanReview.net, Jan02’24) – The Dalai Lama concluded on Jan 1 his 11 days of scheduled programmes at Bodh Gaya, gracing a long-life ceremonial prayer offering made to him by an assortment of three Tibetan entities. They consisted of the Central Institute of Tibetan Studies, Sarnath, and its alumni; former students of the Dalhousie Tibetan School; and residents of the Tibetan settlement at Paonta Sahib, Himachal Pradesh.
Held on the Kalachakra Teaching Ground before a mammoth gathering of Buddhists from across India and numerous other countries, the ceremony was led by the Chant-master of Namgyal Monastery and presided over by the Ganden Tri Rinpoché, the throneholder of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism. Jangtsé Chöjé Rinpoché and Sakya Gongma Rinpoché also attended the ceremony while Trulshik Rinpoché also took part in the ceremony.
In his address, the Dalai Lama said he considered it his responsibility to bring to people’s attention the fact that “if we learn to appreciate the oneness of humanity, that we are all the same as human beings, we will learn to live in harmony and friendship, able to be of help to each other.”
He reiterated this message while offering his greetings to the gathering on the occasion of the New Year Day. He said: “As Buddhists we pray for the welfare of all sentient beings, but at least we should do what we can to help the beings of this world. What’s important is to recognise our companions as fellow human beings—then we’ll be able to create a more peaceful world.”
And in a separate message for New Year, the Dalai Lama said: “I also firmly believe that we can find peace in the world only when we find peace within. Every human being has the potential to cultivate inner peace, and by so doing to contribute to the peace of our global community.”
The Dalai Lama earlier arrived at Bodh Gaya on Dec 15 after concluding his teachings in Sikkim’s capital Gangtok and at Sed-gyued Monastery in Salugara, West Bengal. He began by undertaking a pilgrimage to the Mahabodhi Temple, which marts the location where the Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment more than 2,500 years ago.
On Dec 20, he inaugurated the first International Sangha Forum, a conference of over 2,000 Buddhist monks, nuns and scholars belonging to different traditions from 33 countries, organized mainly by his office and Delhi-based International Buddhist Confederation.
He led a prayer for world peace with the forum participants on Dec 23 after the three-day conference.
Over Dec 29-31, the Dalai Lama gave religious teachings to a gathering estimated to be over 50,000 people that included some 15,000 from over 50 countries.