Dalai Lama to visit Leh in July, likely to stay for over a month

by Varinder Bhatia, Indian Express, June 20, 2023

Dalai Lama to impart teachings to the Buddhists and people from other communities in Leh, Ladakh from July 21st till July 23rd.

Chandigarh, India
-- Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama is once again all set to visit Leh, Ladakh next month. He turns 88 years on July 6th and is expected to land in Leh on July 10th. The Dalai Lama had last visited Leh, Ladakh in July 2022, after a gap of four years.

According to Ladakh Buddhist Association, the Dalai Lama shall be imparting teachings to the Buddhists and people from other communities from July 21st till July 23rd. He is expected to stay in Leh, Ladakh till August 25th.

Talking to The Indian Express, Regzin Dorjay, president of the youth wing of the Ladakh Buddhist Association, said, “As per the information that we have received, His Holiness the Dalai Lama shall be arriving in Leh on July 10th and shall be staying here till August 25th. According to the programme finalised, as of now, he shall first take a four-five day rest to acclimatise to the weather and then first visit the Chokhang Vihara monastery. He shall also be visiting Lamdon Model Senior Secondary School in the second week of July. From July 21st till July 23rd he shall be holding the teaching session at Choglamsar at the request of Ladakh Buddhist Association and the Ladakh Gonpa Association. He shall be staying at Choglamsar village on the banks of Indus river till August 25th”.

“His Holiness the Dalai Lama will give 3 days of teachings on the mornings of July 21, 22 & 23 at Shewatsel Teaching Ground near Choglamsar at the request of the Ladakh Buddhist Association and the Ladakh Gonpa Association. On July 21 & 22 mornings, His Holiness will give teachings on Gyalsey Thokme Sangpo’s 37 Practices of a Boddhisattva (laklen sodunma). On July 23 morning His Holiness will confer the Avalokiteshvara Initiation (chenresig wang) followed by a short long life prayer to His Holiness offered by the Ladakh Buddhist Association and the Ladakh Gonpa Association”, the Dalai Lama’s schedule mentions.

Stanzin Konchok, Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council councillor from Chushul, eastern Ladakh, told The Indian Express that “It is always an honour to have His Holiness visit here. The Ladakh Buddhist Association has invited him to come here again, this year”.

The Dalai Lama’s visit to Leh, Ladakh had always riled China. Last year in 2022, prime minister Narendra Modi had said that he called up the Dalai Lama and wished him on his birthday. China had criticised the prime minister for greeting the Dalai Lama on his 87th birthday and said that India should stop using Tibet-related issues to interfere in China’s internal affairs. China had been calling the Dalai Lama as a “separatist”. However, India had rejected the criticism and asserted that it was a consistent policy to treat the Dalai Lama as an “honoured guest” of the country.

Last year, the Dalai Lama in a message to the world, had said, “The fight happens due to ‘my nation, my country, my ideology (thinking)’. That is too narrow-minded an approach. People live together whether one likes or dislikes it. These are little family problems too as all human beings are all brothers and sisters”. He had added that “More and more people in China are beginning to realise that I am not seeking independence but meaningful autonomy and preservation of the Tibetan Buddhist culture. Some Chinese hardliners consider me a separatist and a reactionary and always criticise me. But now, more Chinese are realising that the Dalai Lama is not seeking independence and only wishing China (to give) meaningful autonomy (to Tibet) and (ensure) preservation of Tibetan Buddhist culture”.

The Dalai Lama has been living in India ever since he fled Tibet in 1959. The Tibetan government-in-exile operates from India and over 1,60,000 Tibetans live in the country.

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