Dalai Lama Ends Public Teaching In Northeast India

November 11th 2009

Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh, India, 11 November 2009 (By Muneeza Naqvi, AP) - The Dalai Lama exhorted thousands of his followers to maintain Buddhist culture as he closed a series of public teachings Wednesday in a northeastern Indian region near his homeland of Tibet in a visit that has drawn protests from China.

The exiled spiritual leader's trip to the remote Himalayan region of Arunachal Pradesh, the subject of a long-running border dispute between India and China, has increased already high tensions between the regional rivals.

The Dalai Lama said at the start of his trip Sunday that his mission was not political but a purely religious visit to local Buddhists.

"It's important for us to preserve our traditions and our culture. You must work hard to preserve these," the Dalai Lama told thousands crowded into a dusty playground in the town of Tawang on Wednesday.

Dancers, many of them in elaborately painted masks, performed at the last day's ceremonies.

The Dalai Lama, who has lived in exile in India since he fled Chinese-controlled Tibet in 1959, made no mention of China in his last public address in Tawang, saying only that the most "profound and detailed" expression of Buddhism was to be found in Tibet.

India brushed off China's demand to bar the Dalai Lama from visiting the region that has been under dispute since the two nations fought a border war in 1962.

Beijing opposes most activities of the Dalai Lama, whom it accuses of agitating for independence for Tibet. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate insists he only seeks autonomy for Tibet to practice its unique Buddhist culture.

India has tried to downplay the tensions with China, barring the foreign media from covering the trip and working to keep the Dalai Lama away from local reporters.

Thousands have attended the Dalai Lama's teachings since they began Monday. Many of them were poor villagers who had walked for miles (kilometers) through narrow and winding mountain paths to catch a glimpse of their spiritual leader.

Followers from the local Monpa tribe, dressed in maroon and black wool coats and stiff black hats made of yak hair, were the largest presence, but followers from across the country, neighboring Bhutan and also included a handful of Western visitors.

"I'm sad that he is leaving, but we have received his blessings and that is a great thing for us Buddhists," said Tsering, a local resident who uses only one name. "Seeing him and listening to him preach has made me very, very happy."

The Dalai Lama departs Thursday morning and will stop in a few other Buddhist monasteries before wrapping up his trip with a visit to the state capital, Itanagar, on Saturday.

 

Latest News

His Holiness the Dalai Lama Visits Madhya Pradesh to Talk on the Environment and Happiness
March 19th 2017
Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India, 19 March 2017 (PTI) - India should focus on development of villages to ensure prosperity, the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama said on Sunday. “India’s prosperity depends on the development of villages instead of developing big cities.

Visit to Nava Nalanda Mahavihara and 2nd Day of International Buddhist Conference
March 18th 2017

Inauguration of the International Conference on Relevance of Buddhism in 21st Century
March 17th 2017

Thousand Armed Avalokiteshvara Empowerment in Dharamsala
March 14th 2017

Teaching ‘Stages of Meditation’ and ‘37 Practices of a Bodhisattva’
March 13th 2017

Explore