Long-life Empowerment in Guwahati & Convocation in Shillong

February 4th 2014

Shillong, Meghalaya, India, 3 February 2014 - Concluding his visit to Guwahati, this morning His Holiness the Dalai Lama returned to the Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra, venue of the Festival of Tibet to give a White Tara Long-Life Empowerment. He spent some time performing the preparatory rituals while the 3000 strong audience gathered, many of them Buddhists from Guwahati and Mon-Tawang in nearby Arunachal Pradesh. He took the opportunity to encourage his listeners to be 21st century Buddhists, not to be satisfied with blind faith, but to find out what the Buddha is, what the historical Buddha taught and how it can be put into practice in their own lives. He also released a newly published book by Tsering Tendar entitled ‘From Mon-yul’, which describes the religious heritage and history of that part of Arunachal Pradesh.

Once he had completed the empowerment, he drove to Guwahati airport to take the 20 minute helicopter flight to the former hill-station of Shillong, where he is the guest of the Government of Meghalaya. Tibetans and other members of the public lined the road to wave and greet him. At Raj Bhawan he was welcomed by the Governor, Dr KK Paul.


His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the elected head of the Central Tibetan Administration Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay enjoy a moment of laughter as they prepare for Martin Luther Christian University's Convocation ceremony in Shillong, Meghalaya, India on February 3, 2014. Photo/Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
After lunch a short drive brought His Holiness to the State Central Library, where Martin Luther Christian University were holding their 6th Convocation and had invited him to give the Convocation Address. Before entering the hall, he, the Governor and Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay put on the University’s ceremonial robe, His Holiness jokingly asking if there wasn’t also a hat. In the auditorium, the University choir led a moving rendition of the National Anthem.

Vice-Chancellor RG Lyngdoh welcomed the Governor, His Holiness, the Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma and the Sikyong to the occasion. In his address, the Chancellor reported on the significant progress the University has made in fulfilling its aim of contributing to the sustainable development of Meghalaya and North-east India and enabling its students to becoming capable global citizens. In his speech, the Chief Minister offered his hearty congratulations to those who would be graduating, commending them for fulfilling the dreams of a new generation. The Governor, Dr KK Paul, who trained as a scientist before embarking on a career in the Indian Police and who was one of the first to hold a PhD in the IPS, expressed the hope that His Holiness’s presence would attract peace and prosperity to the state. He extolled the role of the University in fostering equality and greater prospects in the lives of its students by greatly improving the quality of their education.

The University Choir sang a stirring song of good wishes for the future before an Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy was bestowed on His Holiness and the presentation of degrees and diplomas to the several hundred graduates began. Dignitaries on the platform, starting with His Holiness, and including the Governor, Chief Minister and Sikyong, were invited to participate in handing certificates to each graduate as they came up to the stage.


His Holiness the Dalai Lama is presented with an Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy from Martin Luther Christian University in Shillong, Meghalaya, India on February 3, 2014. Photo/Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
Pro-Chancellor Dr Glenn C Kharkongor spoke of the great privilege he felt in introducing His Holiness and inviting him to give the Convocation Address and the hall fell completely quiet as he began.

“Respected Governor, Chief Minister, Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, Pro-Chancellor teachers, today’s graduates especially and other guests, it is a great honour for me to participate in this ceremony. To begin with, I would like to express my heartfelt congratulations to all those who have graduated today. At the same time I want to warn you that this is the start of your real life, which may not be easy, but will provide you an opportunity to translate your knowledge into action. The education you have received is not for you personal benefit alone, but will enable you to contribute to the welfare of your state and your country.

“India is the world’s most populous democratic nation and since independence has proved to be remarkably stable. You young people can contribute to its further strength and development. When we look to the past, to the great ancient civilisations of Egypt, China and the Indus Valley, I believe the greatest number of wonderful thinkers derive from Indian civilisation. As the Governor remarked, this is the country that historically fostered the universities of Taxila, Nalanda and Vikramashila. I consider myself to be a student of the great Nalanda tradition. Some years ago, the physicist Rajah Ramanan told me of his excitement at discovering ideas in the writings of Nagarjuna that 2000 years ago anticipated the thinking of today’s Quantum Physics.”

His Holiness said that likewise, compared to modern psychology, the understanding of the mind and consciousness found in ancient Indian thought is very advanced. India continues to have a great contribution to make to knowledge today. Ancient Indian scientists had no laboratory as such, they worked with the mind and their experiments were undertaken through inner examination and analysis. He continued:


His Holiness the Dalai Lama delivering the Convocation Address at Martin Luther Christian University in Shillong, Meghalaya, India on February 3, 2014. Photo/Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
“Wherever I go, I always talk about India’s longstanding tradition of ahimsa, non-violence, because of which there is also a great tradition of tolerance. I regularly praise this country as a living example of how all the major religions can live together in harmony. These are fields in which India can lead the world.”

He said that whether we follow a religious path or not, as human beings we all need affection. Warm-heartedness gives rise to the self-confidence and inner strength that supports a calm mind. Peace of mind in turn contributes to our physical health. This is based on the fostering of basic human values that His Holiness promotes as secular ethics. He mentioned that while some of his Christian and Muslim friends elsewhere have expressed misgivings that the word secular is dismissive of religion and spirituality, he uses it in the way it is used in India to indicate equal respect for all religions and even for those who profess none. He said that of the 7 billion human beings alive today, 1 billion claim to have no interest in religion, and yet as human beings they also wish for happiness and have a right to achieve it. He feels it important that they also have the opportunity to appreciate the contribution compassion and warm-heartedness make to happiness.

His Holiness spoke of how Tibetans regard ancient Indians as their gurus and saw themselves as chelas or students. What’s more, Tibetans have served as reliable chelas, keeping knowledge such as the Nalanda tradition alive and intact while it has declined in the land of its birth. He said he often describes himself as a messenger of India, promoting non-violence and inter-religious harmony. He encouraged members of the younger generation to develop experience of the principles of non-violence.

“When you face problems in your lives, don’t resort to the use of force, try to employ dialogue to find a solution. Pessimism is a source of failure, while optimism is a source of confidence. Try to remain truthful. The power of truth never declines. Force and violence may be effective in the short term, but in the long run it’s truth that prevails. Being honest and truthful engenders trust and trust leads to friendship and a good reputation. Because we all need friends, honesty and transparency are a basic aspect of human nature.


Students listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at Martin Luther Christian University's Convocation ceremony in Shillong, Meghalaya, India on February 3, 2014. Photo/Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
“May I be as bold as to say that while Indians are by and large a very religious minded people, at the same time there is a great deal of corruption. It seems even religion can be used to bully and cheat other people. Perhaps this is because the trend of modern education is towards materialistic values. It fosters the brain’s need for knowledge while neglecting the needs of the heart. This is why we need a renewed sense of morality, of secular ethics.”

His Holiness remarked that for nearly 55 years India has been his home. During that time he has been impressed that modern India is a country of many cultures, many languages and many religious traditions, there are different peoples following different lifestyles, all living together. This is India’s greatness, which remains an example to the rest of the world. He said that he often tells Chinese who come to see him that they should learn from India. It is in such a context that he feels that Tibet’s peaceful, compassionate culture, with its roots in Indian tradition, can also be of benefit to the Chinese people.

In conclusion, he said:

“I’d like to express my appreciation of your giving me this honorary degree. It’s quite something to have received such an honour on the very first day I came to Shillong.”

He laughed and the audience joined him in sustained applause. The occasion was concluded with an extensive vote of thanks. The University Anthem was sung, followed once more by the National Anthem. The dignitaries were led in procession from the hall accompanied by traditional music. His Holiness returned to Raj Bhawan. Tomorrow he is to spend the day giving religious teachings at the Polo Ground.
 

Latest News

Meeting with the Canadian Parliamentary Friends of Tibet
October 25th 2014
Vancouver, BC, Canada, 24 October 2014 - Before leaving Vancouver at the end of his four day visit to Canada, His Holiness the Dalai Lama met with 10 Canadian MPs from the Parliamentary Friends of Tibet. Among them were Jason Kenney, Minister for Employment & Social Development and Multiculturalism, Kerry-Lynn Findlay, Minister for National Revenue and the new Chair of the PFT, Bernard Trottier.

Eight Verses of Training the Mind & Avalokiteshvara Empowerment
October 24th 2014

His Holiness the Dalai Lama Expresses Shock and Sadness at the Recent Tragedy in Canada
October 23rd 2014

The Art and Science of Education of the Heart
October 23rd 2014

Education of the Heart
October 22nd 2014

Explore