I was listening to the Voice of Tibet’s report from Bodh Gaya relating to His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s teachings there.
The Dalai Lama on January 7, 2010, had a poignant message to the Himalayan Buddhist community while talking about the future of the Tibetan form of Buddhism on account of the political situation in Tibet. He said as per his philosophy of “Hoping for the best while preparing for the worst,” if the Tibetan issue remains unresolved then he said the Himalayan Buddhist community had the responsibility of serving as the defenders of Tibetan form of Buddhism and should strive to preserve the same.
In order to preserve the Tibetan form of Buddhism, His Holiness said one needed to learn the Tibetan language. He said one could call it by “Bhoti” or any other terms, but the reality is that fundamental Tibetan Buddhist scriptures like the Kagyur and the Tengyur are all in the Tibetan language. Therefore, one needed to study Tibetan to be able to study this form of Buddhism, he said.
In this regard, His Holiness referred to the increasing renewed interest among the Himalayan Buddhist community in India in learning Tibetan. He said there have been discussions with the concerned Indian Government officials to enable such students from the region interested in studying Tibetan to join some of the residential schools initially set up for Tibetan refugees.
In addition to the Indian Himalayan community, His Holiness also referred to the Buddhists in Bhutan (“a land of religion and moving along the democratic system”) and Nepal and implored on them to pay particular attention to the study of Buddhism.
His Holiness also said the Himalayan communities had a special responsibility in the protection of the region’s environment.
I hope the young Himalayan Buddhists are able to get this message. His Holiness’ call is timely and can encourage the younger generation of the Himalayan Buddhist community to look at Tibetan Buddhism not just from the ritual sense but also from a philosophy aspect. I think this also highlights the fact that the Himalayan Buddhist community has as much stake as the Tibetan Buddhists in the future of Tibetan Buddhism.
It is a historical fact that Guru Padmasambhava visited Tibet. But now it seems he has also been to Harbin, the capital of China’s Heilongjiang Province that borders Russia.
One of the displays at the 26th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival at a park in Harbin is that of Guru Rinpoche as seen above. Apparently, the Harbin Festival, that officially begins on January 5, 2010, is a big tourist attraction.
I have no idea who was behind the sculpting of a Guru Rinpoche figure at this year’s festival. It seems the statue is 21 meters high and 15 meters wide. A colleague found this photo in a website in Chinese and I did a little research into the festival. In addition to the many people who seem to be working on the statue in this picture, another photo even shows a bulldozer, which indicates that a lot of work goes into these sculptors.