People, not China, will decide whether the tradition continues, says Dalai Lama

Violet Powell
April 9, 2017

Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, today accused China of spreading wrong information about his trip to Arunachal Pradesh, saying it is normal for Beijing to give "political colour" to his spiritual visits.

Buddhist monks at the monastery, the biggest in India and second only to the world's largest - the Potala Palace in Tibet, and scores of devotees received him warmly and with piety.

On Thursday, after consecrating the Thupsung Dhargyeling monastery in Dirang amid almost 10,000 devotees, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate dismissed Beijing's claims while speaking with reporters.

"He has arrived after a strenuous seven-hour road journey from Dirang".

Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu accompanied the Tibetan leader, who has lived in India in self-imposed exile since he fled from his homeland in 1959.

Nestled among snow-covered mountains and perched at a height of 10,000 feet, Tawang is home to Monpa people who follow Tibetan Buddhism.

The way forward is to solve the 60-year-old problem (Tibetan crisis) which exists whether China admits or not.

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Tawang has been decorated with colourful prayer flags and flowers with the roads repainted and the drains cleaned. Speaking to reporters about the institution of the Dalai Lama, he said, "In 1969, I left it on the people to decide whether the institution of Dalai Lama should continue", adding that due to the problem in Tibet, the issue is "very sensitive". CM Khandu proposed Dalai Lama to hold next Kalachakra in Tawang. But bad weather forced him to take to the road as his helicopter couldn't take off from Assam. On whether his visit to Tawang, a place Beijing claims to be its own, will affect India-China ties, he said: "We will have to wait and see".

Therefore, the reincarnated Dalai Lama has to be found, not selected.

A day after after delivering sermons in Bomdila, he spent two days at Dirang, about 40 km north of Bomdila, where he consecrated the Thupsing Dhargye monastery. He will now arrive at Tawang on Friday.

"The Dalai Lama has always been welcome to travel wherever he wants in India".

Amid the raging row over the Dalai Lama's Arunachal Pradesh visit, Chinese media warned India that China, with its superior military, could engage in a "geopolitical game" as India's "turbulent northern state" borders the country, a veiled reference to Kashmir, PTI reports from Beijing.

He, however, did not rule out the possibility of the next Dalai Lama being a woman.

India on the other hand has stood its ground stating that it respects the "One-China" policy which includes the Tibetan Autonomous Region but that it should refrain from commenting on India's internal matters.

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