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Arunachal prays to ensure visit - Tawang prepares to greet Dalai Lama with special gift, ceremony

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By OUR CORRESPONDENT in Itanagar
  • Published 16.09.09
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Itanagar, Sept. 16: At the famous Tawang monastery in Arunachal Pradesh, 188 nuns are busy preparing a brass bowl on which they are inscribing Buddhist scriptures.

The monastery will present this special gift, the brass bowl or khada as it is known, to the Dalai Lama during his scheduled visit to the sacred land in November.

Lama Lopon of the monastery, who is supervising the arrangements to welcome the spiritual leader, said over phone that since there has been a controversy over the visit, 775 monks and 188 nuns from the state’s monasteries have started special prayers to “ensure that the Dalai Lama’s visit is hassle-free”.

The proposed visit by the supreme head of the Buddhists is eagerly anticipated in Tawang since an earlier visit was cancelled last year because of objections from China.

A special ceremony, Kusungthugten, will be performed in the honour of the Dalai Lama, whom the Mahayana Buddhists across the world worship as the 14th incarnation of Buddha, when he arrives in Tawang.

“Circumstances schemed against His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s visit to Tawang last year due to reasons best known to the political establishment. This time, however, we are very hopeful,” Lama Lopon said.

A former Independent legislator from the Lumla segment of Tawang, T.G. Rinpoche, who is a Buddhist monk himself, will lead a contingent of 256 monks from Gentse Gaden Rabgyel Ling monastery at Bomdila, situated nearly 180km from Tawang, to the reception ceremony.

Rinpoche, who is also supervising the arrangements to welcome the spiritual leader, said the Dalai Lama’s followers had performed “special rituals” this week for his smooth trip.

Rinpoche, a firebrand critic of the Centre for its “meek stance on the China issue” and the man who organised mass protests in Tawang against the Chinese army’s “atrocities in Tibet”, however, downplayed any possibility of the Centre refusing to allow the spiritual leader’s trip.

The Dalai Lama will inaugurate a super-speciality hospital in Tawang for which he has donated Rs 20 lakh.

The spiritual leader’s devotees are also collecting funds for his biggest cause. “We have collected money, gold and silver coins to offer to His Holiness to help his cause,” Rinpoche said.

Another senior monk at Tawang monastery, Lama Gombu, said security arrangements would be tight in the wake of “security threats” to the spiritual leader, and this would naturally have a bearing on the enthusiasm of the devotees.

Unlike in 2003, when the Dalai Lama arrived in the state for a week, he will be on a three-day visit this time.

This will be the Dalai’s Lama’s fifth visit to Arunachal Pradesh, parts of which are claimed by China.

Sino-Indian relationships sunk to a new low after China tried to block an ADB loan to Arunachal Pradesh and opposed the Dalai Lama’s visit to the state.

The authorities here, however, remained tight-lipped and refused to disclose the Dalai Lama’s itinerary.