Group with Ama Adhe atop the Reception Center for newly arrived Tibetan refugees, McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala
Things here in Dharamsala over the past few days have been fantastic and dynamic.
McLeod Ganj has been abuzz with His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teachings, which are being offered primarily for the monastic community on the vinaya traditions of the Buddhist order. Their Holinesses the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa and Sakya Trizen are also in town for this event, which makes for some truly powerful people in the neighborhood.
We had the good fortune of attending an afternoon teaching and reception with HH the Gyalwa Karmapa yesterday afternoon, which was an excellent introduction to the traditional style of Tibetan Buddhist public teaching as well as the protocol of meeting rinpoches and high lamas. Before this, we spent the morning and early afternoon at the tranquil Norbulinka Institute, visiting the artistic workshops and galleries which produce and preserve such exceptionally fine Tibetan works of art.
This afternoon we will visit the Tibet Museum before having an afternoon discussion with Tenzin Choeying, President of Students for a Free Tibet, India. This will make a fitting conclusion to our guest speaker series here in Dharamsala, learning how, once back home, we can act on all that we have learned here in India about the Tibet and China political situation and independence movement. Previous discussions with local and prominent authors, activists, and former political prisoners, including Lhasang Tsering, Tenzin Tsundue, and Ama Adhe have provided an exceptional foundation for our new understanding of this complex situation.
Other activities here in McLeod Ganj and Dharamsala have included: visits to the Men Tse Khang Tibetan Medical and Astrological Center (for the new experience, a number of students and teachers had consultations with doctors and astrologers as well); a talk with Geshe Lhabdrak, Director of the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives; morning attendance at Namgyal Monastery, where we were able to see Their Holinesses the Dalai Lama, Gyalwa Karmapa, and Sakya Trizen on a couple of occasions; and ample time to explore McLeod’s many bookstores, clothing shops, and cafes.
Students returned from their homestays this morning, having again connected quickly and closely with these wonderful and welcoming families. Final writing assignments are being completed today, before group presentations commence this evening. After dinner we’ll then be driving to Pathankot, from where we’ll take an overnight A/C train back to Delhi. One more day for all the last minute things tomorrow, and then we go our separate ways.
It’s been a terrific time here in McLeod Ganj and Dharamsala and we’ll be in touch again from Delhi once we’re back down south in the heat.