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CULTURE AND COMPASSION

Demonstration of Sand Mandala
Avalokitesvara, embodiment of compassion, exhibit of Tibet House museum
Shri M. Rasgotra, Vice-Chairman of Governing Council of Tibet House Society lighting the inaugural lamp

A WEEK OF CELEBRATION COINCIDING WITH THE 70TH BIRTHDAY OF HIS HOLINESS THE DALAI LAMA

The celebrations on the occasion of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s 70th birthday from July 1-7, 2005 included a wide array of programmes. The subject was a pertinent one, ‘Culture and Compassion’. This topic is extremely close to His Holiness’ vision of universal interconnectedness and in the direction in which he has successfully steered Buddha dharma in the dark strife ridden times of today. His Holiness’ constant emphasis has been on developing a sense of universal harmony and compassion as the only effective antidote to global suffering. He recommends a frank and meaningful exchange between religious and cultural traditions as well as between the realms of science and spirituality.

The celebrations at Tibet House included an exhibition on ‘Living Tibetan Buddhism: A Photographic Journey’. There were a series of lectures by speakers who had a deep association with His Holiness and Culture and Compassion Tibetan Buddhism. A workshop on Tibetan calligraphy was held and a sand mandala demonstration delighted the people of Delhi. Tibetan medicinal products were also displayed. On July 6, an interfaith service and a tree planting ceremony were conducted at Baha’I House, New Delhi.

The exhibition, ‘Living Tibetan Buddhism: A Photographic Journey’, by the German author, photographer and film-maker Bruno Baumann makes an interesting, silent comment on Tibetan Buddhism giving an apt portrayal of the great tradition. Baumann is a renowned expert on Tibet and the Himalayan region, he has spent many years travelling, exploring and photographing Tibet. The display at Tibet House included images of the monastic tradition, religious life of layman, pilgrimage, Tibetan medicine, astrology and sacred art. The section on the ‘monastic tradition’ includes fascinating images of rituals, initiations, ceremonies, sacred dances, mandala preparation accompanied by portraits of the daily life of monks and nuns.

The lectures held during the week included subjects like: ‘H.H. the Dalai Lama and His Vision’ delivered by Kasur Tashi Wangdi, representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Delhi; ‘The Institution of the Dalai Lama – A Common Heritage of Mankind’ delivered by Prof. R.P. Dhokalia, former Secretary General, Indian Academy of International Law . A talk on ‘The Sovereignty of Compassion’ was delivered by the philosopher Prof. Ramchandra Gandhi, followed by a talk on ‘Multi Culturalism and Universal Responsibility’ by Prof. Anand Kumar from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. One of the most interesting talks was ‘The Dalai Lama as I know him’ given by Mr. Inder L. Malik, IFS (Retd). The last two talks were, ‘Compassion and Interdependence’ by Shri Ravindra Varma, Chairman of the Gandhi Peace Foundation and ‘Vishva Sanskriti aur Baudh Dharma’ by Prof. Ram Shankar Tripathi from the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies at Sarnath, Varanasi.

In addition to the series of talks, every evening films related to Buddhism were relayed at the Conference Hall. The celebrated film by Khyentse Norbu, ‘The Cup,’ was shown on the first day. Then followed ‘Compassion in Exile’ directed by Mickey Lemle, ‘Earth as Witness’ by Amar Kanwar, ‘Himalaya’ directed by Eric Valli, ‘Kundun’ by Martin Scorsese, ‘World Festival of Sacred Music’ by Tsering Rhitar and lastly, ‘The Spirit Doesn’t Come Anymore’ by Tsering Rhitar.