Dharamshala: His Holiness the Dalai Lama concluded his teachings on the 37 Practices of the Bodhisattava today (Septermber 9) and will perform the Avalokiteshvera initiation ceremony tomorrow.

The teachings today in Mcleodganj, north India, covered Gyalsey Thokme Sangpo's famous verses which guide the day-to-day practice of a Bodhisattava. The concise and clear nature of the text is commonly considered to make it accessible to Western audiences.

Tomorrow's ceremony will provide an opportunity for participants to commit to a set of practices which include striving to liberate all sentient beings from Samsara. His Holiness jokingly noted that, as he is often referred to as a trouble-maker, it seems a contradiction for him to confer an initiation where participants commit not to cause trouble.

The initiation ceremony starts at 9am tomorrow and can be viewed live at http://dalailama.com/liveweb

Dharamshala: A bill to increase the number of Tibetan members of parliament (MPs) from North America has been passed in the tenth session of the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile.

Under the new legislation, a second MP will be elected from the US and Canada, in addition to Mr Tenzin Choeden, who presently serves in the post.

Mr Tenzin presented the proposal, saying the large population of over 30,000 Tibetans who reside in around 30 communities across North America necessitates two separate constituencies. "It will help the general public to meet and question the representatives elected from their own constituencies," he commented.

Dharamshala: His Holiness the Dalai Lama began three days of teachings at Namgyal temple in Dharamshala today (September 8) on the Heart Sutra (Sherab Nyingpo) and Gyalsey Thokme Sangpo’s 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva (Gyalsey Laklen Sodunma).

Unusually for his teachings in India, His Holiness gave an introduction to Buddhism in English, in which he talked about the interrelatedness of all people and the ways we will all benefit from a world free of conflict. He then switched to Tibetan to discuss the Heart Sutra, a popular Mahayana Buddhist text.

Over the next two days, His Holiness will cover the 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva, which are based on Thokme’s 14th century transcription of an oral tradition.

Over 5,000 people are attending the teachings, held at the request of a South-east Asian group.

Dharamshala: His Holiness the Dalai Lama will inaugurate the world congress of the International Association for Religious Freedom at the Renewal Centre in Ernakulam, Kochi, Kerala on Saturday (August 4).

The theme of the congress is Beyond Conflict to Reconciliation: The Challenge of the 21st Century. Shivarathri Deshikendra Mahaswamigalu, head of Suttur Math, Mysore, will deliver the benedictory address, and the critic Sukumar Azhikode will deliver the keynote address during the first evening.

His Holiness will will be presented with the Albert Schweitzer Award after the inaugural session.

Discussions will then be led by: Swami Agnivesh, president of Arya Samaj; Swami Jitatmananda of Ramakrishna Mission; Sheikh Ali, former vice-chancellor of Goa and Mangalore universities; and Steven Leeper, president of the Hiroshima Foundation, Japan.

The congress will continue until September 7.

Madison, US: His Holiness the Dalai Lama has donated $50,000 from his personal trust to support research into the science behind kindness and compassion at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the US.

According to an Associated Press report, the grant to the school's Center for Investigating Healthy Minds came after His Holiness
visited in May to promote its work.

The center's director Richard Davidson says the gift was completely unexpected and unsolicited, and that researchers are deeply honoured by His Holiness' support.

The center is looking into how healthy human qualities such as kindness, empathy and compassion are developed and might be nurtured.

Oakland, USA: Tibet Week, which is running from September 1 to 5 as part of the Shanghai Expo in China, continues to face criticism over painting a false picture of life in Tibet.

Tibetan advocacy groups have expressed their concerns over the portrayal of Tibetan culture at the expo, with New York based organisation Students for A Free Tibet staging an innovative multimedia event outside the Chinese Embassy to draw attention to various examples of art that have been banned in Tibet.

United Nations for a Free Tibet (UNFFT) have also criticized the expo, labeling it "a farce and a dishonest attempt to fool the world into believing Tibet is doing fine". To coincide with the event, UNFFT have released a video to draw attention to some of the challenges Tibet faces.


Dharamshala: A group of international parliamentarians has proposed the independent monitoring of the 15th Tibetan parliamentary and prime-ministerial elections in 2011.

Members of the International Network for Parliamentarians on Tibet (INPaT), who attended the 50th Tibetan Democracy Day celebrations in Bylakuppe yesterday (September 2), met with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Tibetan election commissioner Jampal Chosang. They discussed the possibility of having independent observers from the international community attend the 2011 elections, to monitor first-hand the advances made by the exile Tibetan democracy.

INPaT representatives reiterated the importance of the international community pressuring China to come to the table to negotiate a way of achieving genuine autonomy for the Tibetan people.

Next year, INPaT will stage an event for parliamentarians from around the world to discuss ways of improving the dialogue between Tibet and China.

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