BODH GAYA, January 4: In a rare meeting with his own people form across the Himalayas, Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama yesterday offered advice and suggestions to counter the many social and environmental problems plaguing Tibet.
Around 8000 Tibetans from Tibet are attending the ten-day Kalachakra teachings in Bodh Gaya.
At a special audience, the Dalai Lama, who has been living in exile since he was forced to flee his country in 1959, urged his people to plant trees around their houses and monasteries in Tibet.
“Before I came into exile, I also didn’t know much about the environment, mainly because we had no environmental problems back then in Tibet – we could drink water from anywhere,” the Dalai Lama said.
“But here it is not like that – we have to be careful, we have to buy clean drinking water,” His Holiness cautioned.
“More and more people are nowadays concerned about the environment and it is important to take care of the environment”.
Referring to Beijing’s policy of forcibly resettling Tibetan nomads into walled compounds, the Tibetan spiritual leader affirmed that it would be better if the nomads were allowed to maintain their centuries old natural habitation and stay on the grasslands.
“Instead of forcefully resettling them, building of hospitals and schools for the nomads around their grazing areas would be more constructive,” the Dalai Lama said.
A former Chinese Vice-Minister of Agriculture had announced in 1998 that it was the Chinese government’s policy “to end the nomadic way of life for all herdsmen by the end of the century”. Since then, millions of Tibetans nomads have been moved from their ancestral grasslands into colonies with little or no means of generating income.
The Dalai Lama also appreciated the initiatives taken by many monasteries in Tibet of advising people to give up meat, saying that it was spiritually significant and should be adopted as a gradual social move.
The 76-year old Tibetan leader strongly urged the gathered Tibetans to stop gambling and to limit their consumption of alcohol.
“I heard Tibetans in Tibet nowadays gamble a lot. Gambling is not good. Even the Kalachakra teachings forbid gambling,” the Dalai Lama said.
“Instead of gambling and drinking, focus on education,” the Tibetan leader added while stressing that both traditional and modern education were important for complete development.
“We have a unique character and a distinctive way of thinking and living based on the thousands of years old Buddha Dharma tradition and teachings,” the Dalai Lama said.
“So, practice Buddha dharma, don’t build too much Buddha statues”.