His Holiness the Dalai Lama visited Assam and Arunachal Pradesh on a twelve day tour which included a three day teaching in Tawang, high in the mountains of Arunachal, from April 8 – 10.The teaching took place in the main temple of the 17th century Tawang Monastery, attended by over 50,000 people. Indiatoday reported on April 9 that around 3,000 Bhutanese people from all walks of life had crossed mountains to walk down all the way to Tawang to listen to His Holiness.
The Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, Pema Khandu, thanked His Holiness on behalf of the people of Mönyul for undertaking the long journey to Tawang. The government of Arunachal had made special arrangements to ensure front seats for elderly and poor Tibetans so they could enjoy the teaching. Jambey Tashi, speaking for the government, said, “This is an effort to uplift the poor and downtrodden…compassion can spread only if we attempt to do something beyond what has been happening…They are the people who matter.” His Holiness spoke of the year 1959 when he passed through Tawang during his escape from Tibet and expressed his gratitude to the Mönpa people. “The greater the love and compassion there is among you, the happier and more contented you feel. When someone among you is angry, it disturbs you all. I believe we can ensure that the 21st century is an era of peace by more widely cultivating compassion”, said His Holiness. He gave a discourse on Kamalashila’s The Middling States of Meditation and Gyalsey Thokme Sangpo’s Thirty-Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva.
On April 10, His Holiness visited Ugyen Ling, where the Sixth Dalai Lama was born in 1683.His Holiness said he hopes to see more nuns taking up teaching in monastic centres, especially in the light of the conferment of Geshema degree to 20 nuns for the first time ever in December last year.
Chief Minister Pema Khandu invited His Holiness to hold the Kalachakra initiation – the most sacred teaching in Tibetan Buddhism – at Tawang Monastery in the future.
Before coming to Tawang, the Tibetan spiritual leader held teachings in Dirang, Guwahati, Bomdila and other places of the region, attended by tens of thousands of people. During these teachings he stressed the need for compassion as it leads to self-confidence, freedom from fear and greater trust. “All the world’s major religious traditions convey a message of love and compassion, just as here in the land of ahimsa we talk of maitri and karuna. Despite their different philosophical views all these traditions are dedicated to encouraging a sense of love and compassion”, said His Holiness during his visit at the Dibrugarh University where he spoke to 1,100 students. Answering questions from the audience at the Guwahati University, His Holiness explained that he is optimistic about the future because scientists have established that basic human nature is compassionate.
This is His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama’s 6th visit to Arunachal Pradesh since 1959 and his last visit was in 2009.