Longest staying guest, enjoying every possible liberty in India : Dalai Lama

Dharamshala : Looking back at his escape from Tibet in 1959, globetrotting Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama says soon he will be 88. Since then, he has been the longest staying guest of the Indian government, enjoying every possible liberty but the tragedy of Tibet has yet to be resolved.

“Today, I am stateless, unable to return to my country. But we Tibetans have a saying, aYour homeland is wherever you are happy. And whoever loves you is your parent,” the Buddhist monk wrote in the TIME weekly newsmagazine in an article titled “The Dalai Lama on the gratitude he feels looking back at his escape from Tibet” published on Tuesday.

“India and its people, as well as many across the world, have provided me with constant love and support. When I look at this cover from 1959, I am grateful that I have been able to lead a meaningful life dedicated to helping others.”

In 1959, TIME magazine had a cover photo and the accompanying story of a young Dalai Lama escaping Tibet. Sixty years later in 2019, the Tibetan spiritual leader was on its cover page for the third time.

“The tragedy of Tibet has yet to be resolved. But my becoming a refugee in India brought with it many hidden blessings,” he wrote in the article. “For one, the moment I was able to cross over from Tibet to India on March 31, 1959, I realized the value of freedom.

Since then, I have been the longest -A staying guest of the Indian government, enjoying every possible liberty. “In addition, India has provided me, and those other Tibetans who managed to escape, the freedom to preserve and promote Tibetan identity and our culture of peace and compassion, and to share them with the entire world.”

The Dalai Lama, whom Beijing brands a separatist, fled into exile in 1959 and established his government-in-exile in Dharamsala. Expressing gratitude to the Indian government, the Dalai Lama wrote: “Most important, I have enjoyed in exile the freedom to pursue my spiritual development, even as I have tried to take care of Tibetan affairs.

“For many decades now, I have had the opportunity to engage in dialogue with leaders of different religious traditions, scholars, and scientists. These new friends have enabled me to understand more clearly the state of humanity and the ways in which I can contribute to a better world.

“This cover (1959) appeared when I was 24. At that time, in spite of our earnest efforts to coexist, the Chinese authorities did not, unfortunately, respond positively.

“The very survival of the Tibetan identity was at risk. So, it was decided that, in the interests of our land and our people, I should leave Lhasa. “Initially I had some fear and hesitation about doing this.

But since the Tibetan people had placed their hope and trust in me, I knew where my responsibility lay. In the same way, when I was hardly 16, and even though I was ill-prepared, I had to take up the political leadership of Tibet.

“Sometimes I say that at 16, I lost my personal freedom, and at 24 my country’s freedom was lost. Subsequently, I became a refugee.” In 2011, TIME magazine listed the Dalai Lama among the world’s top 25 political icons.

“The Dalai Lama’s humility has endeared him to presidents and religious leaders of several countries, affording him the opportunity to raise awareness and drum up support for Tibet on a global scale,” the magazine had noted.

In 2019 when the spiritual leader was on the magazine cover as the ‘Survivor’, the then Central Tibetan Administration President Lobsang Sangay said: “Now, we look forward to the day when His Holiness will be on the cover again — returning home to Tibet. This is the aspiration of six million Tibetans.”


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