Dharamshala: “Tibetans who live in free countries, outside Tibet, have a responsibility to keep up our spirits to encourage our brothers and sisters in Tibet who remain impressively determined,” said the Tibetan spiritual leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama who gave a public address to over 2000 Tibetans in Boston, MA, USA on 25 June 2017.
“Like Tibetans everywhere, you are keeping the spirit of Tibet alive. We’ve been in exile for 58 years. In India we have the Central Tibetan Administration. Major monasteries have been re-established and are thriving. Tibetans in exile are scattered all over the world but wherever we are, we form local communities, as you have done here, to preserve our identity and traditions,” His Holiness said.
Calling for freedom and equality for Tibetans inside Tibet, His Holiness said, “In the face of restrictions on education in Tibetan, their spirit remains strong. But they are not free to do what they want. There is discrimination when Tibetans’ loyalty to their community is regarded with suspicion and labelled splittist, while Chinese loyalty to their community is praised. There needs to be equality.
He maintained that historically Tibet was a free and independent country, in the 7th, 8th and 9th centuries, after which it fragmented. “What has since held us together is our common religion, culture and language. Today, it’s very important that Tibetans of the Three Provinces remain united. While remaining within the PRC we want genuine autonomy so we can continue to keep our culture, language and traditions alive.”
“We have a responsibility to uphold this Nalanda tradition that has been handed down to us, not out of attachment, but because it provides us an opportunity to be of service to others. Ensuring that the younger generation have a command of Tibetan ensures that they too have access to it.”
“In 7th century, Thönmi Sambhota devised a Tibetan script or improved on what already existed taking the Indian alphabet as a model. In 8th century, Trisong Detsen turned not to China, but to India to invite Shantarakshita to Tibet. Right from the start, he, and following him, his student Kamalashila, established the importance of employing logic and reason. It’s because of this that over the last more than 30 years we have been able to hold fruitful conversations with modern scientists.
“The tradition handed down to us from Nalanda includes profound philosophy and logic, as well as a rich understanding of the workings of the mind and emotions. We have kept this alive for more than 1000 years and now are in a position to draw from it to make a positive contribution to the well-being of humanity.
“Lately in India I’ve been urging people to study, to develop a sound understanding not content to rely only on faith. In monasteries and nunneries from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh efforts are being made to study. It’s on this basis that Buddhism will last for centuries to come. China was historically a Buddhist country following the Nalanda tradition as we do. What the Chinese lacked was the command of logic and epistemology that we have maintained and a corresponding path of rigorous study,” His Holiness said.
The ballroom filled with cheers of joy as His Holiness declared that he’s in excellent health and mentally sharp.
According to Boston Tribune, “People of all ages, many clothed in traditional Tibetan dress, some with babies in strollers and others accompanying elders, came to a Boston hotel early Sunday morning with a collective mission: to see the Dalai Lama in person.
Tseyang Lama, 14, drove eight hours with her family from Baltimore to see the Tibetan spiritual leader, and said the opportunity to hear him speak in person was well worth the trip. “I really want to get a chance to see him and hear what he has to say,” she said.
“Whenever you see him, whenever you’re near him, you kind of lose control over yourself,” said Tashi Dhondup, who came from El Cerrito, California, to hear the spiritual and political leader speak. “Tears start streaming down your eyes. This is the feeling you get every time. You just kind of lose the sense of time.”