Gangtok: Sikkim celebrated the 87th birthday of Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama at two different venues in Gangtok. Chief Minister Prem Singh Golay was in attendance at Sera Jhe Monastery in Chandmari and the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology celebrated with Crown Prince Tobgyal Wangchuk by planting 200 medicinal plants and 200 saplings at its premises.
The Chief Minister, cabinet ministers and prominent Buddhist spiritual leaders such as Rinpoches from different monasteries participated in the celebrations. The celebration in NIT had the attendance of NIT Secretary TW Rinzing along with students and faculties of NIT.
Chief Minister Prem Singh Golay shared, “Dalai Lama preaches unity and to live with happiness as an example, the Tibetan community in Sikkim have exemplified that unity. In 2019, I met the Dalai Lama. It was a blessing. We have tried to bring Dalai Lama to Sikkim, but we failed on two occasions in 2019-20 over the pandemic…we will continue to write to the Tibetan Government in exile for his visit to Sikkim.”
Highlighting the previous visit of Dalai Lama, Golay shared, “In 1996-97, when I served as the Ecclesiastical Minister, the Sikkim government had funded the Kalchakra Puja in Siliguri which was attended by Dalai Lama.”
Speaking to the Tibetan community in Sikkim, Golay shared, “Sikkim is always ready to extend support to the Tibetan community. Sikkim has different communities and religions flourishing. However, since forming the government, we have tried to avoid a communal divide among the people. Our government welcomes every religion and community. One must learn to survive with their traditions and practices. The government is trying to push people to realise the same, such that traditions that are indigenous to communities do not get lost.”
The Tibetan community demnanded a community hall, to which Golay said, “The community hall construction will be in the supplementary budget, and funds will be allocated. But maintenance is the responsibility of the people. The community hall must come of use for all the people of the Chanmari area.”
Golay also pushed for more traditional learning and teaching than rituals, he shared, “More than the traditions, the teaching of Dalai Lama and collectively of Buddhism should be preached. The rituals help, but the teaching of traditions will help the community more.”
Elsewhere, Namgyal Institute of Tibetology Secretary TW Rinzing highlighted how the NIT exists in Sikkim due to the vision of the Dalai Lama in 1957. He shared, “His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama is also an environmentalist, who has written many books on the environment. He has a very close link with my institute NIT. It was under his guidance that NIT was established in 1957. Also, the Tibetan medicine college Sowa Rigpa is being run out of his interest. All expert teachers are sent by him from Dharamshala. The students are from Sikkim, but due to lack of professional teachers, they are sent from Dharamshala for six months to one year.”
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