November 30, 2011

Tibet: Global Buddhist Conference to Hear Dalai Lama’s Address

Despite protests from Beijing, His Holiness the Dalai Lama will address 900 Buddhist scholars at a conference organized to commemorate the enlightenment of Buddha.  Due to India’s refusal to forbid the spiritual leader’s attendance, an upcoming meeting with Chinese diplomats has been canceled.

Below is an article published by The Tibet Post:

Despite strong objections from China, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet, left Dharamshala today [29 November 2011] to address the Global Buddhist Congregation in New Delhi on November 30 [2011].

Indian officials say a meeting between Indian and Chinese diplomats has been canceled, after China attempted to interfere in India's internal affairs.

The Buddhist Congregation is now into its second day, with religious scholars debating the finer points of Buddhist philosophy and morality.

Yesterday [28 November 2011], China reportedly objected to His Holiness' attendance and warned India to cancel the conference, which is being attended by around 900 Buddhist scholars and others from 46 countries.

Speaking from Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said, "We oppose any country that provides a platform for his anti-China activities, in any form."

The Global Buddhist Congregation has been organized by the Asoka Mission, to commemorate the 2,600th year of Sambobdhi Prapti (the enlightenment of the Buddha).

His Holiness the 17th Karmapa Ugyen Trinley Dorjee addressed the conference's second day. Speaking on the Buddhist view of the environment and the natural world, he stressed the importance of a clear understanding of nature and the interdependence of all things.

He added that environmental problems are man-made - a result of human self-centeredness.

Speaking at one of the conference venues, Hotel Lalit, Mr Tempa Tsering, the representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in the Indian capital New Delhi protested against China's attempts politically colour a religious event, saying that India "has done the right thing" by refusing to cave in.

He commented, "The conference delegates have no other motive than to bring Buddhist scholars together to discuss Buddhist philosophy and share experiences of how the Buddhist teachings can help humanity.

"India is a free, democratic society. China is a closed society. That's why they are reacting in a paranoid manner.

"His Holiness the Dalai Lama has been a guest of India for the last 52 years. It would have been unusual if His Holiness, who is regarded the world over as a spiritual leader and the head of Tibetan Buddhism, will not attend this conference."

The Asoka Mission has also objected to the politicization of the event by China. Its president, Lama Lobzang, said, "The world is dealing with...violence, social and economic disparity, environmental degradation and discord between and within communities and nations.

"The objective of the congregation is to stand united when it comes to sending their collective message to the world on such issues."

Among the countries represented at the conference are Taiwan, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Mongolia, Bhutan, Nepal and Myanmar.

According to the 2001 census report, India, where the Buddha attained enlightenment, is home to nearly eight million Buddhists.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama is also scheduled to give a talk on The Power of Compassion in Delhi, as part of the Penguin Annual Lecture Series, to be held at the India Habitat Center on December 3 [22011].

He will then leave for Gyurmey Tantric monastery, in Gurupura (Hunsur), to give teachings on the Commentary on the Five Stages by Nagarjuna, written by Panchen Lobsang Choegen, from December 5 to 7 [2011].

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