Dalai Lama is Lord Buddha of this era: Dhumal

December 9th, 2010 - 3:38 pm ICT by IANS  

By Vishal Gulati
Dharamsala, Dec 9 (IANS) Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal Thursday called Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama the greatest living monk and the Lord Buddha of the present era.

“He (the Dalai Lama) is the greatest living Buddhist monk and is the Mahatma Budha of the era,” Dhumal said at a breakfast reception hosted by the Tibetan parliament-in-exile in the honour of the state government at the main temple in McLeodganj.

“We are grateful to the Dalai Lama for inviting us (legislators and cabinet colleagues). We are here not for breakfast but for getting his blessings,” Dhumal said.

“India and Tibet cherish their long historical and religious ties. Buddhism spread from India to Tibet and now it’s propagating from here. Buddhism is here and we are proud of it,” he said.

Dhumal, who was here to attend the winter session of state assembly, termed the Nobel laureate an ambassador of peace.

“His efforts will certainly bear fruit and may the issue of Tibet be resolved soon and the relationship between Indians and Tibetan people continue to flourish. We pray for his long and healthy life,” the chief minister said.

The Dalai Lama, in his address, said: “India and Tibet share a relationship of teacher and student.”

Pointing to his special connection with Himachal Pradesh, he said two of his teachers - Khunu Lama Tenzin Gyaltsen and Rigzin Tenpa - belonged to the state’s Kinnaur region.

The Dalai Lama said Himachal Pradesh has proved very auspicious in helping him to contribute to the promotion of Buddhist values and serve humanity, and to highlight the issue of Tibet for his last more than 50 years in exile.

In his typical jovial style, the Dalai Lama, while pointing towards Dhumal and Leader of Opposition Congress Vidya Stokes, said: “We have known each other very well and get a feeling of meeting old friends.”

Noting that he has seen different chief ministers during the last 50 years, he said: “We have also learnt a lot about the democratic process.”

Stokes in her address said: “We are fortunate that we are blessed by the Dalai Lama. It (the temple) is like a heaven. You (the Dalai Lama) are always in our thoughts. We are proud of having your presence here and for sustaining Dharamsala as a very beautiful place.”

Political observers here said Dhumal’s statement equating the Dalai Lama with Lord Buddha is not likely to go down well with China.

“China has long been critical of the support extended by the Indian government to the Dalai Lama. Dhumal’s statement might offend the Chinese,” a source in the government-in-exile said.

Tenzin Taklha, joint secretary at the Dalai Lama’s office, said it was just a courtesy meeting between the government-in-exile and the state government.

The Dalai Lama, who believes in the “middle-path” policy that demands greater autonomy for the Tibetans, is viewed by the Chinese as a “traitor” who is bent on splitting Tibet from China.

As many as 111,020 Tibetans now live in exile, 94,203 of them in different parts of India.

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