Dharamsala : Concurring with the purnima of the Saka Dawa ( month celebrating Shakyamuni Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and parinirvana ), Deputy Speaker attended the prayer flag hoisting ceremony as organized by Dharamsala Regional Ngari Chithun Association on May 29, 2018 at Lhagyal-ri.
Gathered there early morning at 6:45 am were its ‘Chief Guest’ Deputy Speaker of the 16th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, Acharya Yeshi Phuntsok, members of the aforementioned association and the general Tibetan public.
While addressing the gathering, Deputy Speaker commended the organizer for the event stating that it is an integral part of Tibetan culture, which was revived in exile in the 1985 after its practice was punctured from 1959 to 1980s due to the Chinese invasion.
‘Celebration of Saka Dawa (Buddh Purnima) – that commemorates Lord Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and parinirvana– in free countries are unobstructed but as you all are aware, the unique tradition of Tibet’s religious activities inside Tibet are increasingly restricted. Recently, as the month of Saka Dawa approached, an official decree has been circulated by the Chinese government banning Tibetan children and parents in participating from any religious activity,’ added the Deputy Speaker.
‘Two days before, the Chinese government has circulated announcement that assures to cater to the well-being of pilgrim’s health from 15th of Tibetan Lunar calendar till the 15th of next month by deploying armies. Thereby, trying to paint a picturesque image of relaxed religious practices inside Tibet. Such deceptive announcements are circulated inside Tibet to fool the world. Wherever Tibetans congregated in numbers, armies surrounded them and police in plain cloths are dispersed everywhere,’ continued the Deputy Sepaker.
While elaborating on the need to preserve the unique tradition of Mahayana tradition of Buddhism especially by the elders and the need to pay attention to it by the younger Tibetan generations, he also elucidated on the different schools of Buddhism viz., Hinayana and Mahayana, as practiced by Buddhist all over the world.
‘We are one of the chief practitioners of the religious ceremony and practices of the sublime day of purnima, the 15th day of the Saka Dawa as per the Mahayana tradition. By the grace of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Tibetans are able to revive and restore our culture and tradition in exile. However, letting the world recognize our unique tradition is also a salient factor. For instance, it is known all over the world that Hinayana practitioners of Buddhism observes the purnima of Saka Dawa yet many are ambivalent about the Mahayana practitioners. Therefore, it befalls on us as the practitioners of Mahayana tradition to let others know about its unique tradition. Taking Nepal for instance, there are many Mahayana practitioners there but under the pressure of Chinese government, even the celebration of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s birthday is difficult and even more so, the meritorious religious activities,’ he added.
‘After the invasion of Tibet by the Chinese government, pilgrims from all over the world including from India are unable to visit sacred sites in Tibet, especially the holy Mt. Kailash, which is sacrosanct to the practitioners of different religions including the Hindus,’said the Deputy Speaker as he pointed out the various predicaments faced by the pilgrims during the Kailash-Mansarovar Yatra. He also stressed the practices of religious activities by the high lamas, Khenpos (abbots), monks and lay-men despite the strictest surveillance and mortal threat by the Chinese government inside Tibet and the self-immolation by the Tibetan ranging from 15 years old to the 64 years old Tibetans inside Tibet for the sake of religious and cultural freedom.
He concluded his speech by stating the importance of sustaining the unique culture and tradition of Tibet in exile for however long it takes and commended the Dharamsala Regional Ngari Chithun Association for their dedication and contribution in its preservation and promotion on behalf of Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile.