Dalai Lama’s three-day visit to Sikkim ignites joy and reverence

Dalai Lama
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His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama arrived in Gangtok on December 11th, 2023, for a three-day visit to Sikkim after a gap of 13 years. The revered spiritual leader was greeted by hundreds of devotees and common citizens.

The Dalai Lama is a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and is considered one of the most important spiritual leaders in the world. He has advocated for non-violence and Tibetan autonomy throughout his life. The 87-year-old Dalai Lama’s visit is significant for the Buddhist community in Sikkim, which has a strong Tibetan heritage.

The Dalai Lama reached Gangtok on Monday in a helicopter from Bagdogra Airport where he was received by Sikkim CM Prem Singh Tamang and several other dignitaries. As part of the welcoming ceremony, Buddhist monks performed the traditional Buddhist dance ritual and prayer ‘Sherbang’.

Early in the morning today, he imparted teachings on the Gyalsey Thokme Sangpo’s ‘Thirty-Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas’, a foundational text in Mahayana Buddhism that emphasizes compassion and altruism. He also held a ceremony for awakening ‘Bodhichitta’ for all sentient beings.

Later in the day, the Dalai Lama virtually laid the foundation of Karmapa Park at Rumtek and Gyalwa Lhatsun Chenpo statue at Simik Khamdong.

For today’s early morning program, devotees had started gathering at Paljor Stadium since 2 am. The revered spiritual leader was greeted by hundreds of devotees and common citizens who lined the streets to catch a glimpse of him as his motorcade passed through the streets of Gangtok.

At the stadium, the Dalai Lama was received by Governor Lakshman Prasad Acharya, CM Prem Singh Tamang and Sikkim High Court Chief Justice Biswanath Somadder.

His Holiness was actually scheduled to visit Sikkim earlier in October, but his visit was postponed due to the Teesta flash floods which wreaked havoc in Sikkim and neighbouring Darjeeling. He is on a visit to Sikkim on the invitation of the Sikkim government.

His most recent trip to the Himalayan state was in 2013 when he arrived to consecrate the statue of Lord Buddha at the Buddha Park in Ravangla.

He will remain in Gangtok until Thursday morning, after which he will depart for Sed-Gyued monastery in Salugara, Siliguri, where he will deliver a general teaching and conduct the ceremony for the generation of Bodhichitta (semke).

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