By Tendar Tsering
His Holiness the Dalai Lama greets the audience before giving the Avalokiteshvara empowerment in Lima, Italy on June 28, 2012. (Photo/OHHDL/Tenzin Choejor)
DHARAMSHALA, June 29: Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama today returned to his exile home town of Dharamshala after a hectic 15-day tour of Europe.
Hundreds of Tibetans, local Indians and tourists lined up the streets to welcome the Dalai Lama with traditional Tibetan white scarves.
“I postponed my departure from Dharamshala and waited for the Dalai Lama’s return from Europe so that I could get his blessings,” Lysa Livioulle, a foreign tourist standing near the main temple Tsug-la Khang said. “I am elated that I got His Holiness’ blessings today. I saw him in person.”
Like Lysa, there are dozens of tourists who had been waiting for the Dalai Lama’s return.
“We feel something is missing when the Dalai Lama is out of town on his busy schedule. His presence is one of the essential factors that draws thousands of tourists to Dharamshala,” Ema, another tourist from Australia said.
During his fifteen-day tour of England, Scotland and Italy, the Dalai Lama met with fellow Nobel Laureate and Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi besides interacting with a number of religious leaders and lawmakers.
The Tibetan leader, who will turn 77 next month, gave a number of public talks on secular ethics and the principles of non-violence and compassion and also gave religious discourses and empowerment to the public.
On the final leg of his tour, in Italy, the Dalai Lama visited Mirandola, the city in the Province of Modena that was struck by a powerful earthquake just over a month ago, killing 17 people and injuring 200. His Holiness expressed his condolence and solidarity with the victims of the quake and offered $50,000 to the relief fund.
On the last day of his trip, while responding to a query from a television interviewer on the ongoing series of self-immolations inside Tibet, the Dalai Lama reiterated his call for a thorough investigation by the Chinese government.
“However, these sad events are evidently not taking place because the concerned individuals have family problems,” the Dalai Lama said. “The Chinese authorities must investigate what the cause is, what’s wrong to provoke such desperate acts.”
“The Tibetan spirit will never be cowed down by the use of force. It is rooted in Buddhism, a tradition that is more than 2500 years old, whose image in the world is on the rise. Communism, on the other hand is barely 200 years old and its image is on the wane, while totalitarianism is completely out of date.”