People and government of Sikkim offer Long Life Prayer to Dalai Lama

Phayul, December 24, 2010

Dharamsala, India -- The state government of Sikkim and its people on Wednesday jointly organised a long life prayer ceremony in honour of the exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama's eight-day visit of the north-eastern Indian state.

Tibetans stand to receive blessings from spiritual leader the Dalai Lama at the Tashiding monastery in Tashiding, in west Sikkim, India, Thursday, Dec. 16, 2010. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is in India on a three-day long visit, even as Tibetan activists protested his visit. China resents the presence in India of the self-declared Tibetan government-in-exile and the Dalai Lama. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)

A report posted on the official website of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile said over 25,000 devotees, including top government functionaries led by the state's chief minister Dr Pawan Kumar Chamling, attended the long life prayer ceremony held in the capital Gangtok.

Dr Pawan and secretary of department of religion and culture, Tsechogling Rinpoche presented Mendel Tensum and other auspicious offerings to the Tibetan leader during the ceremony.

Later in the afternoon, His Holiness the Dalai Lama attended the concluding session of a three-day international conference on science, spirituality and education.

The Tibetan leader expressed his appreciation to the state government for making elaborate arrangements during his visit. “I really enjoyed my meeting with the people, making pilgrimage to different places in Sikkim. The chief minister personally took special care in making the arrangement which I really appreciate. I feel my visit was meaningful and hope that I may have made some contribution for the well being of the people of Sikkim.”

Describing Sikkim as an important state due to its strategic location, the Dalai Lama said: “I usually tell my Indian friends that Tibetan Buddhist culture and the Tibetan Buddhist faith are something like the first defense line of India. Within India, the whole northern Himalayan region have strong Buddhist faith and Buddhist culture, which form one defense line. I jokingly tell my Indian friends that my visit here is strengthening the defense line of India,” he said.

His Holiness also spoke about the importance of bringing changes in teaching methods in the education system, which he said has drawbacks.

“I usually share my ideas with experts and scholars that we need more research work towards bringing something which the present education is lacking. Every nation has education system which put emphasis on keeping their own unique national identity, which is in today's reality is out of date," Dalai Lama said. "

Today, we must teach people about the concept of my world and our world,” His Holiness added.

Dalai Lama also said human intelligence must be used in developing human ethics through scientific research.

“Moral ethic should become a universal concept based on the scientific findings. Emotions developed through training are more reasonable and logical than the spontaneous emotions which are common even in animals also. Emotions based on reason or research can be done only by human beings. So let us make serious discussion among concerned people on human ethics and come out with clear presentation of their findings for implementation in different schools. If there is benefit and positive results after the implementation, then spread it wider,” Dalai Lama said.

"When we talk about universal moral education, we should not touch any religion because it could bring complications. So it should be purely secular," he added.

Speaking of the role of teachers, the Dalai Lama said affection could not be demonstrated by words but rather by action. “If teachers talk about compassion and do something rude then students would consider them as hypocrites. So, teachers must introduce compassion through action, attitude and sincere motivation. Therefore, teacher training is very important,” the Nobel Peace Laureate said.