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2,000 Tibetans from Tibet attend Kalchakra teachings in Bodhgaya

Kalachakra teachings by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, in Bodhgaya, Bihar State of India. Photo: File
Bodhgaya - The ongoing 34th Kalchakra initiation has a distinct element of resistance against Chinese occupation of Tibet.

In fact, around 2,000 followers of Buddhist spiritual leader the Dalai Lama have come from Tibet despite the fact that the Chinese authorities have termed Kalchakra initiation 'illegal' and prevented Tibetans to participate in the ongoing rituals at Bodh Gaya. 
A spokesperson of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) claimed that around 7,000 Chinese nationals residing in various countries like Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia, have come to Bodh Gaya.

"The Tibetans from mainland China stayed at New Delhi, Kathmandu and other places for four to six months before coming to Bodh Gaya in order to avoid any hassles from the Chinese authorities," the spokesperson told TOI, adding that the footfall at Kalchakra was initially less due to pressure from China, but it has increased to over 2 lakh people from 92 countries, including 10,000 monks.

The Kalchakra initiation started on January 2 and is slated to conclude on January 14. The rituals are led by the Dalai Lama, who was joined by the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje on Wednesday. Sikyong (Prime Minister of Tibetans in exile) Lobsang Sangay on January 9 criticised the Chinese government for recalling Tibetans from Tibet to return from Bodh Gaya. 
Deliberating on the return of Tibetan devotees, Tashi, a member of 'Tibetan People's Movement For Middle Way' said, "More than 10,000 Tibetan nationals returned from Bodh Gaya by January 2 as their relatives were threatened of severe punishment and being thrown out of jobs. Besides, many flights between Beijing and Nepal were also cancelled for a few weeks prior to the Kalchakra. Now, not even 5,000 Tibetan nationals are present in Bodh Gaya."

The issue of Tibetan people to participate in Kalchakra has drawn sharp criticism from thousands of people from western countries as well. Retired Italian cop Sasy said, "I am quite disappointed with the way China has prevented Tibetans from coming to Kalchakra. There is no reason why people should be forced to change their spiritual inclination. The Dalai Lama teaches only love and compassion."

Similar views were expressed by Jackson, a student from Australia. "It is very sad to see how China has stopped Tibetans from coming here. The Dalai Lama is a symbol of compassion and that is the only reason people follow him," he said. 
Hollywood heartthrob and one of the most popular followers of the Dalai Lama, Richard Gere is also camping at Bodh Gaya from January 6 and participating in the ongoing initiation with utmost devotion. The Gere Foundation contributes directly to The Tibet Fund, supporting the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan community-in-exile through grants and other means.


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