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The Dalai Lama’s in Town… and you’re invited!

Priyesh Ranmal
NHSF (UK) PR Team

”…suffering is caused by ignorance. People inflict pain on others in the selfish pursuit of their happiness or satisfaction. Yet true happiness comes from a sense of brotherhood and sisterhood”.

There is more to “Dalai Lama” than the bald headed, stylish glasses-wearing monk, robed in maroon and streaks of yellow. It is in fact a system, a concept and a line of succession (starting from the year 1391, there have been 14 of them till date). Dalai Lama is a title given to the monk of the “yellow hat” school of Tibetan Buddhism. The monk isn’t just any ordinary monk. He is special. Very special!

In Mahayana Buddhism, “The Dalai Lama” is regarded to be a divine successor or incarnation of “Avalokiteshwar” (Sanskrit for “Lord who looks down”). Now, that’s got to be special, right?

But what is even more special, is the fact that out of hundreds of thousands of babies born in 1935, it was this one particular Tibetan baby called, Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso (or simply, Tenzin Gyatso) that was proclaimed by the holiest Buddhist sages to be the 14th incarnation of his kind. Today, we all know him as being the bald headed, stylish glasses-wearing monk, robed in maroon and streaks of yellow – “His Holiness, The Dalai Lama”.

Apart from the fact that he is the longest-lived incumbent “Dalai Lama”, he’s famous for a number of reasons. He’s the man who brought Buddhism to Hollywood and to the rest of the West. He is famous for having been chucked-out of his own country, Tibet, when it was forcefully taken by China in 1950. Ever since then, he’s been living in exile in the Indian city of Dharamsala, which has now become The Dalai Lama’s official residence and headquarters of the Tibetan government in exile.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I’d be pretty angry if I was evicted out of my house like that. Despite all that, he has remained exceptionally peaceful and has stood as the head of the non-violent opposition to China’s occupation of Tibet. This scale of Ahimsa – j the cardinal virtue of compassion and peace that is central to Hindus, Buddhists and Jains, alike, is truly commendable. His reverence for all living entities and disposition to compromise and seek reconciliation despite brutal violations, earned him the Nobel Peace Prize Award in 1989.

In his award acceptance speech, he asserted that he believed “the prize is a recognition of the true value of altruism, love, compassion and non-violence which [he] tries to practice, in accordance with the teachings of the Buddha and the great sages of India and Tibet”. He further explained, that “as a Buddhist monk, my concern extends to all members of the human family and, indeed, to all sentient beings who suffer. I believe all suffering is caused by ignorance. People inflict pain on others in the selfish pursuit of their happiness or satisfaction. Yet true happiness comes from a sense of brotherhood and sisterhood. We need to cultivate a universal responsibility for one another and the planet we share”. It is this very ideology and level of selflessness that we admire him for.

His Holiness will be in London on Sunday, 20th September 2015 to give his talk, titled “Ahimsa –India’s Contribution to The World”. This ‘not to be missed’ event to be held at London Coliseum. Admission to the event is by advance booking only and tickets can either be booked through the following dedicated website: www.eno.org/whats-on/other/dalai-lama or by phoning the Box Office on 020 7845 9300 quoting “Tibet House”. Hurry tickets are going fast.

For the latest news about The Dalai Lama’s visit: www.dalailama2015.uk

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