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Dharamsala: His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama continued his nine-day visit to the Nubra Valley, in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir, this weekend. Last Friday saw his arrival at the remote Buddhist hamlet of the Yarma Gonbo Monastery, 65 km from Samtanling Monastery, where he inaugurated a newly built Phodrang (palace of His Holiness).

It was the first time he had ever visited this monastery, and in doing so he fulfilled the long-held dreams of over 7000 Buddhist devotees, to whom he orally transmitted the 'The Diamond Sutra' (dorje chotpa), a short and well-known Mah?y?na s?tra with emphasis on non-abidance (avoiding mental constructs during daily life).

The Dalai Lama continued on to attend a ceremony at Ladakh's oldest Dekyi Gonpa monastery, on Sunday, where he consecrated a newly established 100 foot high statue of Matreya.

The highly revered Buddhist teacher Thiksey Rinpoche spoke of the significance of the statue, which cost approximately Rs. 2 chores. He said that as well as being installed in order to spread the teachings of Buddha, it also functioned to ward off misfortune and ensure His Holiness a long life. The Dalai Lama praised those involved in erecting the statue and also used the opportunity to speak of the responsibility of environment preservation in the Himalayas.