Dalai Lama https://www.dalailama.com/ en-us Thu, 26 May 2022 09:02:21 +0000 Thu, 26 May 2022 09:02:21 +0000 Long Life Offering https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/long-life-offering Tue, 24 May 2022 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/long-life-offering Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - This morning a Long Life Offering was presented to His Holiness the Dalai Lama by members of the Sakya Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism at the Tsuglagkhang, the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala. Hierarchs of both palaces, the Dolma Phodrang and Phuntsok Phodrang, headed by Sakya Dagtri Rinpoché, led the ceremonies.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama being escorted to the Main Tibetan Temple for a Long Life Offering presented by members of the Sakya Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism in Dharamsala, HP, India on May 25, 2022. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Sakya Dagtri Rinpoché greeted His Holiness as he stepped out of his car just inside the gate to his residence. The two of them walked steadily through the gate and into the garden, where they were welcomed by a group of dancing drummers. Walking through the garden, His Holiness smiled and waved to members of the public, stopping occasionally to greet young children. He rode the recently installed lift up to the temple veranda and continued to engage with the public on his way round to the temple door.

Once His Holiness was seated on the throne, the Sakya Lamas offered scarves in welcome and the ceremony began. Tea and sweet rice were distributed while the congregation recited the mantra of White Tara.

After the text of the long life prayer had been recited, statues of the deities of longevity, White Tara, Amitayus and Ushnishavijaya, were presented to His Holiness. Sakya Dagtri Rinpoché then offered him a bowl full of long life pills. His Holiness took one for himself and gave another back to Sakya Dagtri Rinpoché, a process he repeated when he was given a spoonful of long life nectar.

The incumbent Sakya Throne-holder, the Sakya Trizin, Gyana Vajra Rinpoché recited verses requesting His Holiness to live long while offering him a large, golden mandala. The previous Throne-holder, Ratna Vajra Rinpoché, continued to make prayers for His Holiness’s longevity as he presented him with a statue of White Tara, a volume of scripture, a reliquary object, a vase of the nectar of long life and a vajra and bell, which His Holiness rang. His Holiness briefly put on a Sakya hat.

The incumbent Sakya Throne-holder, the Sakya Trizin, Gyana Vajra Rinpoché offering His Holiness the Dalai Lama a large mandala during the Long Life Offering at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on May 25, 2022. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Avikrita Vajra Rinpoché offered a mandala and representations of the enlightened body, speech and mind in thanks to His Holiness for agreeing to remain.

Meanwhile, a procession of members of the Sakya community, monastics and laypeople carrying a variety of offerings to His Holiness, made its way through the temple. The line ended with an elderly white-haired man and someone carrying the flag of Tibet.

Another Sakya hierarch, a monk, Abhaya Vajra Sakya, offered the three robes of a monk and a khakkhara, a Buddhist monk’s staff. These were followed by silver emblems representing the eight auspicious symbols. His Holiness again put on the Sakya hat as he received a plateful of Tsog. Another young hierarch from the Phuntsok Phodrang, Asanga Vajra Sakya, concluded the offerings with a presentation of silver symbols representing the eight auspicious substances. When each of the Sakya hierarchs had played his part in the ceremony His Holiness offered him a white scarf and red ‘protection thread’ in gratitude.

“Led by Sakya Dagtri Rinpoché,” His Holiness told the congregation, “members of the Dolma and Phuntsok Phodrangs have today made this long life offering based on the Wish-fulfilling Wheel of White Tara.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the gathering at the Main Tibetan Temple during the Long Life Offering presented by members of the Sakya Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism in Dharamsala, HP, India on May 25, 2022. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“I’ve received the Hévajra and Lam-dré—Path and Result—teachings from Chopgyé Trichen Rinpoché. Each Tibetan Buddhist tradition has its own unique teaching and these are the teachings unique to the Sakyas. I do the Hévajra practice every day, so I may be counted as among the line of Sakya practitioners.

“Thank you for this long life offering. If I don’t live long, there’s a chance the Tibetan people’s wishes and aspirations will not be fulfilled. For this reason I pray that I will live to be more than a hundred and I ask you too to make the same prayer.

“Tibet is our own land and Sakya is a place characterized by the grey earth of the Ponpori Hills. We Tibetans are upholders of Buddhist traditions including the Vajrayana. You too preserve teachings of both Sutra and Tantra. I request you to keep these traditions alive.

“I’ve known Sakya Dagtri Rinpoché since he was very young and I commend the service he has granted people and the Buddhadharma over all these years. That’s all I have to say just now.”

As dedication prayers were said, flower petals were tossed into the air.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama waving to the crowd gathered in the courtyard of the Main Tibetan Temple as he heads back to his residence at the conclusion of the Long Life Offering in Dharamsala, HP, India on May 25, 2022. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness stepped down from the throne and mentioned that he had been reminded of Tagdrag Rinpoché, one of his root lamas, who would recite a verse that said, ‘May the Lamas and disciples not be separated’ and would look teasingly at His Holiness on the throne when he repeated the lines, ‘May they enjoy tea and liquor continually, and may there be happiness and auspiciousness forever.’

Congratulating Anthony Albanese on his Election as Australian Prime Minister https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/congratulating-anthony-albanese-on-his-election-as-australian-prime-minister Sat, 21 May 2022 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/congratulating-anthony-albanese-on-his-election-as-australian-prime-minister Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - Following the announcement of the results of the Australian parliamentary elections, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has written to the Prime Minister-Elect, Anthony Albanese to congratulate him on his party’s victory.

“Beginning with my first visit to Australia in 1982,” His Holiness wrote, “I have had the privilege to visit your beautiful country quite regularly, mostly at the invitation of educational institutions and organisations committed to peace. I have been deeply touched by the openness and warmth of people from all walks of life. I have been encouraged by the enthusiastic interest many have shown in my efforts to promote basic human values such as kindness, tolerance and forgiveness, as well as inter-religious harmony.

“We Tibetans have been honoured to enjoy the support of the Australian people and their respective leaders in our effort to preserve our Buddhist cultural heritage. Its principles of non-violence and compassion have the potential to help individuals find peace of mind and contribute to peace in the world.”

His Holiness concluded his letter by wishing the Prime Minister-Elect every success in meeting the challenges that lie ahead in fulfilling the Australian people’s hopes and aspirations and in contributing to a more harmonious world.

Congratulating Jose Ramos-Horta on his Election as President of Timor-Leste https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/congratulating-jose-ramos-horta-on-his-election-as-president-of-timor-leste Wed, 27 Apr 2022 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/congratulating-jose-ramos-horta-on-his-election-as-president-of-timor-leste Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - Following Jose Ramos-Horta’s recent election as President of Timor-Leste, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has written to him to offer his congratulations.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama and fellow Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Jose Ramos-Horta.

“It has been a privilege to have known you for so many years,” His Holiness’s letter continued, “beginning with your visits here to Dharamsala in the early 1990s.

“A great responsibility now lies ahead of you once more and I trust that under your leadership the people of Timor-Leste will continue to enjoy peace, prosperity and progress. I particularly hope that you will be able to improve the lives of the less fortunate members of society.

“With my prayers and good wishes for your success in meeting the challenges that lie ahead in fulfilling the hopes and aspirations of the people of Timor-Leste.”

Congratulating President Macron on his Re-election https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/congratulating-president-macron-on-his-re-election Sun, 24 Apr 2022 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/congratulating-president-macron-on-his-re-election Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - This morning His Holiness the Dalai Lama wrote to President Macron to congratulate him on his historic re-election as President of France.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Emmanue Macron in 2016.

“It has been the Tibetan people’s good fortune,“ His Holiness added, “to have received the friendship and encouragement of the people of France and their respective leaders in our endeavour to protect and preserve our ancient Buddhist culture, a culture of peace, non-violence (Ahimsa) and compassion (Karuna) that has the potential to benefit the whole of humanity. On behalf of all my fellow Tibetans, may I take this opportunity to express my gratitude once again.

“I wish you every success in meeting the challenges that lie ahead in fulfilling the hopes and aspirations of the French people and in contributing to a more peaceful and harmonious world.”

Meeting with Participants in a Dialogue for Our Future https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/meeting-with-participants-in-a-dialogue-for-our-future Fri, 22 Apr 2022 02:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/meeting-with-participants-in-a-dialogue-for-our-future Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - Today, Earth Day 2022, His Holiness the Dalai Lama met with participants in a Dialogue for Our Future that has been convened by a number of organizations here in Dharamsala. As he entered the room His Holiness smiled and wished his guests “Good morning”.

Climate mitigation innovator Sonam Wangchuk describing the block of ice taken from a glacier on the Kardungla pass in Ladakh to highlight the urgency of climate change to His Holiness the Dalai Lama during their meeting in Dharamsala, HP, India on April 22, 2022. Photo by Tenizn Choejor

First of all, climate mitigation innovator Sonam Wangchuk presented His Holiness with a block of ice, explaining that it had been taken from a glacier on the Kardungla pass in Ladakh to highlight the urgency of climate change on the Tibetan Plateau. It was brought by a team of young people on bicycles, public transport and electric vehicles to convey a message—‘Please live simply so we in the mountains can simply live.’

In his response His Holiness told the gathering, “I really appreciate that more and more people are showing concern for the environment. Ultimately water is the basis of our lives. Over the coming years we have a responsibility to take steps to preserve the great rivers that are the source of water for so many. Within my lifetime I’ve seen a reduction of snowfall in Tibet and a consequent reduction in the volume of the rivers.

“In the past, we took water for granted. We felt we could make unrestricted use of it without giving much thought to where it came from. Now, we need to be more careful about preserving our water sources. I believe that we have the technology to transform salt water, sea-water, into sweet water with which we could green the deserts in many places and grow more food.

“Now, we have a responsibility to ensure that future generations will continue to enjoy clean water. This is a way of expressing compassion for them. If we don’t make the effort, there is a risk of our world becoming a desert. If that happens this beautiful blue planet may become just an arid, white rock with no water.

“It often occurs to me that without water we cannot survive. Some of my Indian friends say that one solution is to plant more trees—and it will help. My friend Sunderlal Bahuguna asked me to promise to do whatever I can, whenever I can, to encourage people to plant and care for more trees, and I try to fulfil his wish.”

Former Minister of Environment of the Czech Republic Martin Bursik outlining the topics of the Dialogue for Our Future to His Holiness the Dalai Lama during their meeting in Dharamsala, HP, India on April 22, 2022. Photo by Tenizn Choejor

Martin Bursik who is a former Minister of Environment of the Czech Republic thanked His Holiness for being the inspiration that had brought this group of environmentalists together. He outlined four topics that will be the focus of their dialogue.

1. The state of the planet as described in the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

2. The role of technology, such as wind power, solar power and so forth in offsetting the climate crisis.

3. Tibet is regarded by some environmentalists as equivalent to a Third Pole. Not only are its glaciers receding, but as they do methane is released from the melting permafrost.

4. Energy democracy. How to change the energy model so ordinary people are more directly involved.

Bursik told His Holiness that as a result of this Dialogue for Our Future a manifesto will be prepared to be released in Egypt at the time of the COP27 meeting with a view to taking steps to protect the Tibetan Plateau and stop climate change.

“Previously we took our climate for granted,” His Holiness replied, “we thought of it as just part of nature. Some of the changes that have taken place are related to our behaviour, so we have to educate people about the factors that contribute to climate change. We have to pay more attention to ways to preserve our environment. This means making a basic understanding of climate change and its effect on the environment part of ordinary education.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking to participants in the Dialogue for Our Future during their meeting in Dharamsala, HP, India on April 22, 2022. Photo by Tenizn Choejor

Elizabeth Wathuti, a climate activist from Kenya asked His Holiness how we can appeal to world leaders to act out of love and compassion. He told her that we can let them know that by taking care of others we essentially take care of ourselves. He pointed out that the health and happiness of the community is the source of individuals’ health and happiness. He quoted several verses from the 8th century Indian Buddhist master Shantideva:

For those who fail to exchange their own happiness for the suffering of others, Buddhahood is certainly impossible—how could there even be happiness in cyclic existence? 8/131

All those who suffer in the world do so because of their desire for their own happiness. All those happy in the world are so because of their desire for the happiness of others. 8/129

Why say more? Observe this distinction: between the fool who longs for his own advantage and the sage who acts for the advantage of others. 8/130

“Wherever I go,” His Holiness remarked, “I smile and consider that, in being human, those I meet are just like me. Thinking of other people in terms of ‘us’ and ‘them’, focusing on how they are not like us, leads to mistrust and isolation. It’s much more helpful to think of how all seven billion human beings are fundamentally the same because we have to live together.”

Kim Stanley Robinson, who described himself as a science fiction writer, asked how Buddhism can help science. His Holiness told him that scientists have been interested to discuss ways to achieve peace of mind because they recognise that if the mind is disturbed people won’t be happy. He emphasised the benefits of discovering more about mental consciousness and learning to train it on the basis of reasoning.

Tsering Yangki, a Tibetan business woman from Canada, wanted to know how to make business and the economy part of the solution to the global challenge of climate change. His Holiness replied that while technology is one factor in the improvement of physical comfort, the most important change we can make is in training our minds.

Arash Aazami, an energy systems innovator, stated that energy is abundantly available, yet, we are fighting over it. He asked how we balance the needs of nature, human beings and the economy.

“Material development is both necessary and helpful,” His Holiness replied, “but there is a limit to what can be achieved. Meanwhile, cultivating our mind is a more effective way of addressing our needs. The Buddha fasted for six years intent on being of service to others. The Tibetan yogi Milarepa and, in recent memory, Mahatma Gandhi lived in the most meagre circumstances, but both achieved a deep level of mental satisfaction.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama answering questions from participants in the Dialogue for Our Future during their meeting in Dharamsala, HP, India on April 22, 2022. Photo by Tenizn Choejor

“The over-exploitation of nature has negative consequences. We have to take a broader, longer term perspective and make peace of mind our primary aim.”

Vibha Dhawan, Director General of TERI, The Energy and Resources Institute based in New Delhi, asked how we can we bring ethics, compassion, and a less materialistic way of living back to a natural, healthy and safe environment. His Holiness observed that as human beings we are brothers and sisters and we have to live together. And if that is to happen, it’ll be much more effective if we live in freedom, not under tight control, and cultivate a greater tolerance of other people’s views.

Christa Meindersma, the moderator for this meeting, who is an international lawyer with extensive experience in international diplomacy and conflict resolution told His Holiness how happy all the participants had been to be able to meet him today. She added that they would now open their dialogue and call to action.

“The survival of this planet, our only home, is in our hands,” she declared. “We’d like to come back, if we can, next year on Earth Day, please.”

His Holiness replied that over the next ten to fifteen years or so, he would be ready to meet again from time to time.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama's Message for Earth Day 2022 https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/his-holinesss-message-for-earth-day-2022 Thu, 21 Apr 2022 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/his-holinesss-message-for-earth-day-2022 On Earth Day 2022, let us remember that everybody wants to live a happy life. Not only human beings, but animals, birds and insects too. All of us should be concerned about our collective existence. As human beings our marvellous brains provide us with remarkable opportunities to do good, but if we look at how the world is today, we should be able to do better. We need a more holistic education, an education that incorporates inner values, such as a compassionate concern for others’ well-being.

Our world is heavily interdependent. New challenges, like the climate crisis that affect us all, as well as our participation in the global economy, mean that we must take the whole of humanity into account. We have to put the global interest first.

We need to take urgent steps to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and to adopt renewable sources of energy such as those that rely on the wind and the power of the sun. We must pay attention to deforestation and protect the environment better. We have to plant and care for more trees. In my own life I have witnessed the decline in snowfall, first in Tibet and later in Dharamsala. Indeed, some scientists have told me that there is a risk of places like Tibet eventually becoming deserts. That is why I am committed to speaking out for the protection of Tibet’s fragile environment.

Our life is based on hope, a desire for things to turn out well. Hope is concerned with the future. Although nothing about the future can be guaranteed, we remain hopeful, which is much better than being pessimistic. Even as global warming increases in intensity, many young people in particular are working together to find and share solutions. They are our hope.

Nowadays, when we face serious problems as a result of the climate crisis, we have to help each other by setting a timetable for change. As human beings, living on this one planet, we must make an effort to live happily together. The threat of climate change is not limited by national boundaries—it affects us all. We must work to protect nature and the planet, which is our only home.

The Dalai Lama

22 April 2022

Meeting Participants in the 25th Sho-tön Opera Festival https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/meeting-participants-in-the-25th-sho-tön-opera-festival Wed, 06 Apr 2022 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/meeting-participants-in-the-25th-sho-tön-opera-festival Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - As the early rays of the sun shone over the mountains this morning, His Holiness the Dalai Lama walked into the temple garden from the gate to his residence. More than 260 members of eight opera troupes—namely the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts, Tibetan Opera Associations from Paonta, Kalimpong, Kollegal, Nepal, Mussoorie Tibetan Homes Foundation, Bhandara and the Chaksampa troupe from the USA—as well as representatives from the Mainpat, Mundgod, Odisha, Bylakuppe and Chauntra troupes, in addition to more than 70 delegates from the Umaylam (Middle Way Approach) Association who recently held their Fifth General Body Meeting waited to greet him.

Performers from the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts welcoming His Holiness the Dalai Lama as he arrives at the courtyard of the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on April 7, 2022. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness briefly consecrated objects set out for his blessing and, dipping his finger into the milk he was offered as part of the traditional Chema Changpu offering, flicked it into the air. He was formally welcomed by a group of female performers from TIPA who sang as he walked to his seat beneath the temple.

“This is an opportunity for us to celebrate our traditional culture,” His Holiness began. “In Lhasa, the Sho-tön festival was observed over four days. I used to really enjoy it. It gave me time off from my studies and recitations in front of my tutors. It was one of my favourite holidays because my family had a house at Norbulingka and my mother would attend the Sho-tön Festival and would come to see me. Those were happy days.

“On the first day of the festival, the Gyalkhar Chösong troupe would perform operas about a Chinese Princess marrying the Tibetan king (Gyalsa and Belsa) and the story of the Dharma King Sudhana (Norsang). On the second day, the Chung Riwoché troupe would present one story about two brothers, Dhonyö and Dhondup, and another about the Dakini Nangsa Öbum. On the third day, the Shangpai troupe would enact the story of the Chinese princess marrying the Tibetan king, as well as the story of King Drimé Kunden (King Visvantara). Finally, on the fourth day, the Kyomo Lung troupe would perform operas about the Dakini Drowa Sangmo and Pema Öbar (Padma Prabhajvalya).

“We used to really enjoy ourselves during the Sho-tön Festival, so I thought it would be good today if each of the troupes taking part here could perform one song each to remind us of those cheerful days.

“Today, we are celebrating our traditional culture. Even after we came into exile, we tried not to think only of ourselves as we made the utmost effort to preserve our own traditions. Keeping our performing arts alive is a vibrant part of that. Things are definitely changing in China. There’s no use fighting with the Chinese. We are not seeking total independence from the People’s Republic of China (PRC). According to our Middle Way Approach we are prepared to live within the PRC, so long as we have genuine autonomy, which would allow us, as Tibetans, to look after our own language and traditions in the expectation that one day we will take them back.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the participants of the 25th Sho-tön Opera Festival and members of the Umaylam (Middle Way Approach) Association in the courtyard of the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on April 7, 2022. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“These days increasing numbers of Chinese are showing interest in our Tibetan Buddhist traditions. No other Buddhist country has preserved the Nalanda Tradition as we have done. There is growing acknowledgement that it is a tradition that takes a scientific approach based on critical analysis rather than faith alone. There is also some recognition that destructive emotions such as anger and attachment arise because we tend to see things as having an autonomous existence from their own side.”

His Holiness spoke of how Tibetans had kept Buddhism alive in their own land without sharing it extensively with others. He remarked that coming into exile as refugees had given rise to unanticipated opportunities. Despite being few in number, Tibetans in exile have not only been able to keep their religion and culture alive, they also discovered that many people across the world are interested in the heritage they have preserved.

He recalled that when Songtsen Gampo commissioned the creation of a Tibetan written script, despite his close links to China, he chose to model it on the Indian Devanagari alphabet. Songtsen Gampo was married to a Chinese princess, but was also strongly aware of his Tibetan identity. In the 8th century Trisong Detsen invited Shantarakshita, a preeminent philosopher and logician from the famed Nalanda University to Tibet. When he discovered written Tibetan he encouraged the translation of Indian Buddhist literature, the words of the Buddha and subsequent explanatory treatises, into that language. As a result, the Kangyur and Tengyur came about.

In exile, the establishment of separate Tibetan schools contributed to the preservation of Tibetan religion and culture. Today, scientists regard these traditions with interest and respect. The quality of Tibetan knowledge cannot be destroyed by Chinese hostility. His Holiness encouraged Tibetans to be proud of the language and Tibetan traditions they have preserved.

There followed a poignant musical interlude as a lead singer from each of the opera troupes present stepped forward to sing a song while the entire assembly joined in with the chorus. These lead singers included older men and women in traditional costume, as well as members of the younger generation. The songs began with a prayer for His Holiness’s long life and ended with a wish for peace in the world.

The lead singer of one of the opera troupes participating in the 25th Sho-tön Opera Festival performing for His Holiness the Dalai Lama in the courtyard of the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on April 7, 2022. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Urging Tibetans to be proud of their identity and heritage, His Holiness referred to himself as the boy recognised on the basis of the three syllables A, Ka and Ma, which were reflected in the surface of Lhamo Latso.

“I was born in the Tsongkha region of Do-mé, far from Lhasa,” he explained. “Then I came to Lhasa where I studied Buddhist philosophy with my Tutors and became a Geshé. I received many teachings from Tagdrag Rinpoché and my other Tutors, as well as instructions from erudite masters like Gyen Rigzin Tenpa and Khunu Lama Rinpoché. As a result, this person born in Do-mé has served the Buddhist tradition. However, I have also made many friends among Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Jews and so forth across the world.

“I’m nearly 87 years old, but according to one prophecy, I may still live for another ten or fifteen years. I’ll do my best, but I urge you all to work hard too. We need to remain healthy and to bring up healthy children who will be able to take our culture and traditions forward.

“Someone I know who works in a university in Tibet told me ‘The Chinese may rule us now, but there’s a real possibility that through our spiritual traditions we may lead China in the future. Communism in crumbling.’ Mao Zedong commended what he called my scientific turn of mind, but when he told me that religion is poison, I only pretended to agree. As far as I’m concerned, Tibet’s tradition, derived from the Nalanda Tradition, is based on reason and logic and deals with transforming the mind.

“In exile in this free country, I have used my intelligence and exercised my critical faculties. Indeed, we have all worked hard and our work has borne fruit. Please keep it up.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at the conclusion of his meeting with participants of the 25th Sho-tön Opera Festival and members of the Umaylam (Middle Way Approach) Association in the courtyard of the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on April 7, 2022. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“It has been very cheering to hear these moving songs this morning, which evoke memories of the Sho-tön festivals of my childhood. The people of Tibet cannot be easily changed as evidenced by the way we have protected our tradition in the face of Chinese opposition, both hard and soft. Our traditions are rational, practical and of benefit to others. They are not easily destroyed.”

His Holiness then recited the concluding verses of the prayer of the Words of Truth:

Thus, the protector Chenrezig made vast prayers
Before the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas
To fully embrace the Land of Snows;
May the good results of these prayers now quickly appear.
By the profound interdependence of emptiness and relative forms,
Together with the force of great compassion
in the Three Jewels and their Words of Truth,
And through the power of the infallible law of actions and their fruits,
May this truthful prayer be unhindered and quickly fulfilled.

Finally, he repeated what he had said earlier about remaining with China and not seeking independence, so long as there is genuine autonomy.

“Harsh treatment cannot go on forever. Our traditions aimed at bringing about peace of mind will survive. Be proud, be at ease, and be happy.”

Condolences for Madeleine Albright https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/condolences-for-madeleine-albright Fri, 25 Mar 2022 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/condolences-for-madeleine-albright Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - On learning that former Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, had passed away, His Holiness the Dalai Lama wrote to her daughter, Alice Patterson Albright, to offer his condolences.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama with former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

“She was not only the first woman to serve as the United States’ Secretary of State,” he wrote, “she served with distinction. Her being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama stands as a brilliant inspiration for others to follow.

“I had the honour of meeting her several times in the United States over the years, and also on one occasion in Prague in the company of President Vaclav Havel. I believe it was her own family’s background as refugees that gave her a deep interest in and support for the freedom and well-being of other people.”

Celebrating the Day of Miracles https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/celebrating-the-day-of-miracles Fri, 18 Mar 2022 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/celebrating-the-day-of-miracles Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - This morning, on the fifteenth day of the new Water-Tiger Year, His Holiness the Dalai Lama came to the Tsuglagkhang, the Main Tibetan Temple, to celebrate the Day of Miracles that commemorates an episode in the life of the Buddha. Because of the intervening Covid-19 pandemic this was the first time he has appeared in public since leaving Bodhgaya in January 2020. He walked from the gate of his residence through the temple garden smiling broadly and waving to the excited crowd, young and old.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama walking through the courtyard of the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on March 18, 2022. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

Today’s event was part of the Great Prayer Festival established by Jé Tsongkhapa at the Jokhang in Lhasa in 1409, the observation of which continues to the present. Each day of the festival was divided into four sessions: an early morning prayer, a teaching session, a noon prayer, and an afternoon prayer. Throughout the days of the festival, the teaching session was dedicated to reading from Aryashura's Garland of Birth Stories (Jatakamala), a fourth-century poetic retelling of thirty-four of the most famous of the Buddha's former lives. On the fifteenth day of the festival, a full-moon day, Tsongkhapa also performed a large public ceremony for the generation of bodhichitta, the aspiration to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all beings.

Once he was settled on the throne below the temple and facing the congregation in the garden, His Holiness told them:

“I had thought to go to Delhi around now to have a medical check-up. However, I don’t feel unwell, in fact I feel fit for anything, so I decided not to go. Usually, during the winter, I go to Bodhgaya, but again, this year I decided to relax and take things easy here in Dharamsala. I also threw a ‘mo’ that indicated that this would be the better thing to do.

“So, today, I’m going to read from the Jatakamala.

“Now the question is, how do the Buddhas benefit sentient beings? They don’t wash unwholesome deeds away with water, and they don’t remove the sufferings of beings with their hands, nor do they transplant their own realization into others. It is by teaching the truth of suchness, revealing reality as they have experienced it and the means to pacify restless minds that they liberate beings.

“The Buddha first taught the Four Noble Truths, then later, at Vulture’s Peak, he presented the essence of his doctrine, the Perfection of Wisdom teachings that are summed up in the Heart Sutra that we regularly recite.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the crowd gathered to celebrate the Day of Miracles at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on March 18, 2022. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“I do my best to reflect on the teaching of emptiness, which I find helpful when it comes to tackling negative emotions. I also take to heart what Shantideva wrote:

For those who fail to exchange their own happiness for the suffering of others, Buddhahood is certainly impossible - how could there even be happiness in cyclic existence? 8/131

Proceeding in this way from happiness to happiness, what thinking person would despair, after mounting the carriage, the awakening mind, which carries away all weariness and effort? 7/30

“Destructive emotions cause unhappiness. If you can reduce them, you will naturally feel at peace. We Tibetans have a special relationship with Avalokiteshvara and the awakening mind, the intention help other beings and reach Buddhahood.”

There followed a recitation of the ‘Heart Sutra’, a prayer to the lineage lamas that mentions several of the previous Dalai Lamas. Finally, the Sikyong Penpa Tsering took part in offering a mandala to His Holiness.

Penpa Tsering, President of the Central Tibetan Administration, after offering a mandala to His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on March 18, 2022. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

While everyone enjoyed drinking butter tea and eating sweet rice, His Holiness recalled an occasion in Tibet when one of the dignitaries attending a celebration had a grain of rice stuck on his moustache. Rather than embarrass him by bluntly pointing out this faux pas, one of the attendants spontaneously uttered a couple of lines of verse that he understood and wiped his moustache clean.

“I was mentioning that Tibetans have a special relationship with Avalokiteshvara. We see this in relation to King Songtsen Gampo, who was smart and efficient. He decided to create a Tibetan written script, but, despite his close relations to China and its culture, he chose not to base it on the Chinese tradition, but took the Sanskrit Devanagari script as the model. This written form is still in common use right across the whole of Tibet.

“Then, in the 8th century, King Trisong Detsen, invited Shantarakshita from India who established the teaching in Tibet that the Buddha described as ‘profound and peaceful, free from complexity, uncompounded luminosity — a nectar-like Dharma’. It was at this time that we began to translate Buddhist literature into Tibetan. Despite more recent attempts to eliminate Tibetan culture, and with it the teaching of the Buddha, we have kept the Buddhist tradition alive. Part of the reason for this is Tibetans’ unwavering faith in Avalokiteshvara. And as time goes on, more and more people in China are taking an interest in Tibetan Buddhism.

“This teaching we’ve preserved deals with reality as it is. There are many faiths in the world, but Buddhism is the only one founded on reason and logic. If I think of my role in this, I was born in Amdo in the vicinity of Kumbum Monastery. The letters A, Ka, Ma reflected in the surface of the Lhamo Latso Lake led to my being discovered. After that I came to Central Tibet where I was immersed in the study and investigation of Buddhism. Subsequently, in exile from Tibet, I’ve met many people with a background in science and many of them have shown an interest in what Buddhism has to say about the mind and emotions.

“We have gathered here on this special occasion to remind ourselves that this treasure, the teaching of the Buddha, can only be preserved through study and practice, and in so doing we can benefit other people in many parts of the world. ‘Entering into the Middle Way’ makes clear that even very learned masters like Vasubandhu and Dignaga did not fully understand the teaching on emptiness. However, at the end of Chapter Six it says:

Thus, illuminated by the rays of wisdom's light, the bodhisattva sees as clearly as a gooseberry on his open palm that the three realms in their entirety are unborn from their very start, and through the force of conventional truth, he journeys to cessation. 6.224

And like a king of swans soaring ahead of other accomplished swans, with white wings of conventional and ultimate truths spread wide, propelled by the powerful winds of virtue, the bodhisattva would cruise to the excellent far shore, the oceanic qualities of the conquerors. 6.226

“This teaching, based on reason, helps us counter destructive emotions within.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking to the crowd gathered at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India to celebrate the Day of Miracles on March 18, 2022. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

Addressing the school-children before him, His Holiness told them that he requested the help of Pandit Nehru, the Indian Prime Minister, to establish dedicated schools where Tibetan pupils could study in Tibetan. He remarked that although they are physically in exile, Tibetans in India and elsewhere continue to feel close their own traditions, religion and culture. He said he does his best and that they too should do their best to preserve this legacy.

He admitted that he is getting older but declared that he will be here for another decade or more, able to lead and encourage. He observed that his knees hurt, but he can still offer leadership even when relying on a walking stick.

“We’ve been able to gather here on the occasion of the Great Prayer Festival and I urge to rouse your courage. Think of yourselves as followers of the Buddha, of Arya Nagarjuna and his disciples, as well as Dignaga and his followers. Question what you hear. Ask why? Philosophy teachers in schools should teach not only poetry, but also philosophical thought.”

His Holiness took up the pages of the ‘Garland of Birth Stories’ (Jatakamala) and read a little from the ‘Tale of Vishvantara’ and with that fulfilled the long-standing tradition of reading from this book. He observed that the essence of the Buddha’s teaching is to discipline the mind. Noting that he respects all the great religious traditions, Hindu, Christian, Moslem, Jewish, Sikh and so forth, he remarked that only Buddhism is founded on reason and logic.

“As a guest of the Government of India,” he said, “I live here in exile, but my thoughts always dwell on Tibet and our Tibetan cultural traditions.”

Next, during a simple ceremony focussed on generating the awakening mind of bodhichitta, His Holiness advised his listeners to feel convinced that they were receiving the vow to attain Buddhahood for the sake of all sentient beings from an authentic follower of the Buddha. He encouraged them, as followers of Avalokiteshvara, to reflect on the teachings concerning impermanence, suffering, selflessness and emptiness and to be determined to keep this tradition alive.

The teaching concluded with a thanksgiving mandala offering, as well as a recitation of the ‘Prayer for the Flourishing of the Teaching’ and auspicious verses.

His Holiness walked about a third of the way through the yard, smiling and waving to members of the audience, before climbing into a car for the short drive back to his residence.

Hope for Dialogue to Restore Peace in Ukraine https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/hope-for-dialogue-to-restore-pease-in-ukraine Mon, 28 Feb 2022 04:22:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/hope-for-dialogue-to-restore-pease-in-ukraine I have been deeply saddened by the conflict in Ukraine.

Our world has become so interdependent that violent conflict between two countries inevitably impacts the rest of the world. War is out-dated – non-violence is the only way. We need to develop a sense of the oneness of humanity by considering other human beings as brothers and sisters. This is how we will build a more peaceful world.

Problems and disagreements are best resolved through dialogue. Genuine peace comes about through mutual understanding and respect for each other’s wellbeing.

We must not lose hope. The 20th century was a century of war and bloodshed. The 21st century must be a century of dialogue.

I pray that peace is swiftly restored in Ukraine.

The Dalai Lama

February 28, 2022

Condolences in Response to the Death of Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/condolences-in-response-to-the-death-of-venerable-thich-nhat-hanh Sat, 22 Jan 2022 07:16:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/condolences-in-response-to-the-death-of-venerable-thich-nhat-hanh Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - His Holiness the Dalai Lama was saddened to learn that his friend and spiritual brother Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh had passed away. He offered his condolences to his followers in Vietnam and around the world.

In his condolence message, His Holiness wrote:

"In his peaceful opposition to the Vietnam war, his support for Martin Luther King and most of all his dedication to sharing with others not only how mindfulness and compassion contribute to inner peace, but also how individuals cultivating peace of mind contributes to genuine world peace, the Venerable lived a truly meaningful life.

"I have no doubt the best way we can pay tribute to him is to continue his work to promote peace in the world."

Congratulating the European Parliament President on Her Election https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/congratulating-the-european-parliament-president-on-her-election Thu, 20 Jan 2022 10:18:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/congratulating-the-european-parliament-president-on-her-election Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - His Holiness the Dalai Lama has written to Ms. Roberta Metsola congratulating her on being elected the President of the European Parliament. His Holiness recollected his past visits to the the Parliament and expressed his gratitude for the hospitality and the support it has given to him and the Tibetan people.

Photo courtesy Manuel Bauer

Acknowledging her appointment as the youngest ever president of the European Parliament and its third female president, he said, "If I may say so, I believe that women are more empathetic than men in providing genuine concern for the well-being of others. Therefore, women can be better placed to lead the world to a more peaceful level."

In his praise of the European Union, His Holiness said it is "an inspiring example for a cooperative and peaceful co-existence among different nations and peoples, and deeply inspiring for people like myself who strongly believe in the need for better understanding, closer cooperation, and greater respect among various nations of the world."

"At this time the world is facing many challenges and is in need of leaders who have long-term vision. I remain convinced that most human conflicts can be resolved through genuine dialogue conducted with a spirit of openness and reconciliation."

Commenting on Tibet, His Holiness said, "In fact, it was with this spirit in 1988 that I formally proposed resolving the issue of Tibet through a mutually beneficial solution with the Chinese leadership. I had consciously chosen the European Parliament as a venue to present my thoughts then to underline the point that a genuine union can only come about voluntarily when there are satisfactory benefits to all the parties concerned."

In conclusion, His Holiness once again offered his greetings and wished her a successful tenure.

Concerning the Joint Statement of the Five Nuclear-weapon States https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/concerning-the-joint-statement-of-the-five-nuclear-weapon-states Thu, 06 Jan 2022 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/concerning-the-joint-statement-of-the-five-nuclear-weapon-states Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - Following the recent joint pledge signed by the five recognised nuclear-weapon states affirming that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has issued a statement warmly commending their action.

“As an avowed campaigner for demilitarization throughout the world and the elimination of all nuclear weapons,” His Holiness wrote, “I firmly believe this to be a positive initiative.

“Despite many great developments that also took place, the 20th century was an era of violence that included the horrific use of nuclear weapons. It was a time during which some 200 million people are said to have been killed. This joint statement reflects the reality that we live in an increasingly interdependent world, and represents an opportunity to make this 21st century an era of peace and cooperation.

“It is essential that all of us, including the UN and its member nations, make concerted efforts to end the threat of nuclear weapons and dedicate ourselves towards total nuclear disarmament.”

His Holiness declared that he firmly believes in the oneness of humanity and considers the well-being and security of all human beings to be of supreme importance. As such, he stated that he is convinced that when there are issues between countries, they should be resolved through dialogue in a spirit of accommodation, understanding and diplomacy. He ended with the observation that history provides ample evidence that violence never leads to lasting peace.

Commemorating Jé Tsongkhapa https://www.dalailama.com/news/2021/commemorating-jé-tsongkhap Wed, 29 Dec 2021 11:02:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2021/commemorating-jé-tsongkhap Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - This morning, on entering the audience hall at his residence from where he can address a virtual audience, His Holiness the Dalai Lama saluted those waiting to listen to him. Two Chant Masters sitting in the Loseling Science Centre’s Meditation Chapel at Drepung Monastery in Mundgod in South India began chanting prayers which were followed by a brisk recitation of the ‘Heart Sutra’. His Holiness chanted along with them.

Ganden Tri Rinpoché at his residence in Sera Jé Monastery in Bylakuppe, South India, offering a mandala of the universe and representations of the body, speech and mind of enlightenment to His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the start of teachings on December 29, 2021. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

Next, the Ganden Tri Rinpoché could be seen at his residence in Sera Jé Monastery in Bylakuppe, South India, donning his pandit’s hat and offering a mandala of the universe and representations of the body, speech and mind of enlightenment to His Holiness. Today’s teaching commemorating Jé Tsongkhapa’s passing away was requested by the Geluk International Foundation. The preparatory recitations were concluded with the verse from the ‘Hundreds of Deities of Tushita’:

In the sky before me, on a lion throne with lotus and moon seat,
Sits the holy guru with his beautiful smiling face.
Supreme field of merit for my mind of faith,
Please stay one hundred eons to spread the teachings.

His Holiness then led the virtual assembly in repeating the verse for taking refuge in the Three Jewels and generating the awakening mind, advising them to correct their motivation. He noted that although today, Ganden Nga-chö, formally commemorates Jé Rinpoché’s passing away, it is also an opportunity to celebrate his study and practice. This is alluded to in the verse of rejoicing in the ‘Hundreds of Deities of Tushita':

In this degenerate time, you worked for broad learning and accomplishment,
Abandoning the eight worldly concerns to realize the great value
Of freedom and fortune; sincerely, O Protector,
I rejoice at your great deeds.

“The scriptural teachings are to be taught and studied,” His Holiness explained. “The teachings of realization are preserved through practice. So, on this occasion, we should remind ourselves that we are commemorating Jé Rinpoché, his passing away and his teachings. And the proper way to celebrate his teachings is to study them and put them into practice.

“Over many years, due to the kindness of my teachers, principal among whom was Kyabjé Yongzin Ling Rinpoché, I memorized the ‘Ornament for Clear Realizations’ and ‘Entering into the Middle Way’. I also received the oral transmission of both these books and even today can recite them from memory. In addition, I read the auto-commentary to ‘Entering into the Middle Way' every day.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the virtual audience during his teaching to commemorate Jé Tsongkhapa online from his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on December 29, 2021. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“We can best remember Jé Rinpoché but studying well and integrating what we learn with our own minds. Practice is not a matter of putting on this or that colour hat, it’s about study and incorporating what we learn within.”

His Holiness announced that to begin with he was going to read ‘Destiny Fulfilled’ in which Tsongkhapa revealed the progress he made in study and practice. The fourth verse reveals a summary of this:

In the beginning, I sought much learning.
In the middle, all teachings dawned on me as spiritual exhortation.
In the end, I practised day and night.
I dedicated all this virtue for the dharma to flourish.

The text consists of three chapters, the first illustrating how Tsongkhapa sought extensive learning. The second refers to a middle period when all scriptural traditions arose as spiritual instructions. The third chapter discloses how in the end he practised day and night and dedicated all virtues to the spread of the teaching.

Turning to the ‘Three Principal Aspects of the Path’, His Holiness explained that it was written in response to a request from Tsakho Önpo Ngawang Drakpa, who was one of Jé Rinpoché’s close disciples. Indeed, he promised him that if he followed his instructions well, when he, Tsongkhapa, became a Buddha, he would share the first nectar of his teaching with him.

The text opens with an expression of homage to the venerable teachers. It goes on to outline the three principles of the path, the determination to be free, the awakening mind and the wisdom understanding dependent arising.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama reading from Jé Tsongkhapa's ‘Three Principal Aspects of the Path’ during his online teaching from his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on December 29, 2021. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

In relation to cultivating the awakening mind, His Holiness quoted verses from the end of the sixth chapter of Chandrakirti's 'Entering into the Middle Way' that state that the bodhisattva sees clearly that the three realms in their entirety are unborn from their very start, and through the force of conventional truth, he journeys to cessation. He also generates compassion for beings bereft of protection. And like a king of swans, with white wings of wisdom and compassion spread wide, the bodhisattva soars to the excellent far shore.

With reference to wisdom His Holiness pointed out that Jé Rinpoché advises ‘strive to understand dependent arising,’ rather than strive to understand emptiness. He clarified that this is because when you understand dependent arising you dispel extreme views of existence and non-existence simultaneously. His Holiness mentioned the three verses from Chandrakirti’s ‘Entering into the Middle Way’ that refer to the logical absurdities that arise from assuming something is objectively real.

If the intrinsic characteristics of things were to arise dependently,
things would come to be destroyed by denying it;
emptiness would then be a cause for the destruction of things.
But this is illogical, so no real entities exist. 6.34

Thus, when such phenomena are analysed,
nothing is found as their nature apart from suchness.
So, the conventional truth of the everyday world
should not be subjected to thorough analysis. 6.35

In the context of suchness, certain reasoning disallows arising
from self or from something other, and that same reasoning
disallows them on the conventional level too.
So, by what means then is your arising established? 6.36

Finally, Tsongkhapa states that ‘When you understand the arising of cause and effect from the viewpoint of emptiness, you are not captivated by either extreme view.’

His Holiness the Dalai Lama commenting on texts by Jé Tsongkhapa' during his online teaching from his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on December 29, 2021. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

Next, His Holiness read the ‘Song of Spiritual Experience’, which consists of
concise points of the Stages of the Path. Tsongkhapa advises:

You will know that the teachings are without contradictions;How to take all the scriptures as personal instructions.

Further on the text highlights each of the perfections, encouraging the reader not to give in to fatigue, but keep up a steady effort. When it comes to wisdom, the text makes clear that,

Wisdom is the eye for seeing profound suchness;
The path which totally uproots worldly existence.

His Holiness remarked that to meditate on emptiness you need single-pointed concentration, but also that it should be developed in combination with analysis. Therefore, focussed and analytical meditation should be developed alternately and in combination so that they can reinforce one another.

When he had come to the end of the text, His Holiness stressed once more the importance listening to and reflecting on the meaning of the teaching. It’s when you gain experience of what you’ve learned in meditation that a transformation of the mind comes about.

“We’re all followers of Jé Rinpoché,” His Holiness declared. “Whatever progress I’ve made has been achieved on the basis of the texts that we all have access to. The key is to integrate the teaching within. Change doesn’t come overnight; you have to keep up your effort.”

Two Chant Masters sitting in the Loseling Science Centre’s Meditation Chapel at Drepung Monastery in Mundgod in South India leading recitations to close the online teaching of His Holiness the Dalai Lama on December 29, 2021. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

The session was brought to a close with the Chant Masters leading a recitation of the 1st Dalai Lama, Gendun Drup’s ‘Song of the Eastern Snow Mountains’, which begins:

Above the peaks of the eastern snow mountains
White clouds float high in the sky.
There comes to me a vision of my teachers.
Again, and again am I reminded of their kindness,
Again, and again am I moved by faith.

And continues:

That I, Gendun Drub, who tends to be lazy,
Now have a mind propelled by the Dharma to some extent,
Is due solely to the great kindness of this holy teacher and his chief disciples.
O perfect masters, your compassion is indeed unsurpassed.

“We still have access to Jé Rinpoché’s teachings. Their lineage of transmission survives. What we have to do is to learn how to put them into practice. To help me do this I read the special insight and awakening mind sections of the ‘Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path’. As we acquaint our minds with what is to be practised, familiarizing ourselves with it over and again, it will have an effect. Transformation will take place.”

The final prayer was the dedication prayer from the ‘Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path', which includes the verse:

In regions where the supreme, precious teaching has not spread
Or where it has spread but then declined,
May I illumine that treasure of happiness and benefit
With a mind deeply moved by great compassion.

Condolences in Response to the Death of Archbishop Desmond Tutu https://www.dalailama.com/news/2021/condolences-in-response-to-the-death-of-archbishop-desmond-tutu Sun, 26 Dec 2021 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2021/condolences-in-response-to-the-death-of-archbishop-desmond-tutu Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - Immediately on being informed that his “respected elder spiritual brother and good friend” Archbishop Desmond Tutu had passed away, His Holiness the Dalai Lama composed a letter to the Archbishop’s daughter, Rev. Mpho Tutu.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu during the Seeds of Compassion Interfaith Dialogue held in Seattle, Washington, USA on April 15, 2008. Photo by Tomas/Seeds of Compassion

“Please accept my heartfelt condolences,” he wrote, “and convey the same to your mother and other members of your family. I pray for him.

“As you know, over the years, your father and I enjoyed an enduring friendship. I remember the many occasions we spent time together, including the week here at Dharamsala in 2015 when we were able to share our thoughts on how to increase peace and joy in the world. The friendship and the spiritual bond between us was something we cherished.

“Archbishop Desmond Tutu was entirely dedicated to serving his brothers and sisters for the greater common good. He was a true humanitarian and a committed advocate of human rights. His work for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was an inspiration for others around the world.

“With his passing away, we have lost a great man, who lived a truly meaningful life. He was devoted to the service of others, especially those who are least fortunate. I am convinced the best tribute we can pay him and keep his spirit alive is to do as he did and constantly look to see how we too can be of help to others.”