Tuesday, 21 September 2010

His Holiness the Dalai Lama visits the monasteries of Sera and Namdroling

Jurek Schreiner, who is studying Tibetan at Namdroling Monastery, as part of Rigpa's Tibetan translator training programme, reports on His Holiness the Dalai Lama's recent visit to the monastery.  

On the morning of August 31st His Holiness the Dalai Lama arrived in the area of Bylakuppe in the Karnataka state of southern India for a four-day visit.

This area is home to the great monasteries of Sera and Namdroling, where Rigpa's Tibetan Translator Training has been taking place, and to a growing number of Tibetan settlements, making it one of the biggest gatherings of Tibetans in exile.

In anticipation of his arrival, the main street that leads to the Gelukpa monastery of Sera was decorated with flags and banners everywhere and lined by thousands of local Tibetans, as well as Tibetan visitors from other parts of the country. Every house along the road was sporting flowers and incense offerings.

Closer to Sera, thousands of monks were lined up along the road. 

Upon his arrival, His Holiness was invited to the two big temples of Sera Jé and Sera Mé for a tea and rice ceremony.

Early the following morning,  a huge assembly of monks and nuns and lay Tibetans, 450 delegates of the Tibetan Government in Exile, as well as a few Western guests gathered inside, and outside, of Sera monastery where His Holiness gave the long life empowerment of White Tara. A long life ceremony was offered to him in return.

The big temple of Sera Mé was bursting with thousands of monks, creating a very special, sacred atmosphere.

The morning of the third day was dedicated to the celebrations of the 50th Anniversary of Democracy for Tibetans in Exile and took place at Sera Jé.

Various international speakers who had come to Bylakuppe especially for this event, including members of the European Parliament, offered their respect to His Holiness.

On the fourth and final day of his visit, His Holiness arrived at the Nyingma monastery of Namdroling, for the graduation ceremony for monks who had completed Shedra in the past few years. Some of Namdroling's main lamas, and Professor Samdhong Rinpoche, the Tibetan Prime Minister in Exile, were also present. 

His Holiness concluded by recalling the greatness of Namdroling's founder, the late Kyabjé Penor Rinpoche. He spoke about Namdroling as a special institute for learning, which has its root in Shantarakshita, the outstanding scholar from Nalanda university who, together with Padmasambhava, brought the Buddhist teachings to Tibet. As all schools of Tibetan Buddhism are thus connected with Nalanda, the Dalai Lama urged his audience not to fall into biased attitudes of considering any of the four schools as better than the the others. 

Being so close to the Dalai Lama for a few days was an amazing experience. And seeing how he is present, vibrant and fully engaged in every second, no matter how many speeches he has to listen to, is truly an indication for him being an unfailing source of refuge.

For more photos please click here.

(Story and photos by Jurek Schreiner)

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