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.

Dhasa: His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama has become an unlikely advocate of the latest social networking craze, Twitter, through which he is making direct contact with interested Tibetan and Chinese followers. With the help of Wang Lixiong, one of China's most outspoken dissident writers and democracy activists who now resides in the US, the Dalai Lama answers ‘netizens' questions and offers his daily thoughts on the blog.
With the help of advisers, His Holiness selects 10 questions from the hundreds submitted and provides answers during sessions held periodically. Queries such as his stance on Tibetan ‘autonomy' are popular, to which he has answered: "The term ‘autonomy by Tibetans' should refer to having Tibetans as the majority and other ethnic groups as the minority [of the Tibet Autonomous Region]. If the situation were in reverse, then the word ‘autonomy' would be meaningless."
Chinese authorities have not yet blocked access to the Tibetan spiritual leader's Tweets, despite expectations that they would be perceived as a supposed threat to national security. It is believed that out of his estimated 5000 followers, it is the Tibetan audience that causes the most concern for Chinese Government, despite not yet having acted upon this.
Daily blogs, such as ‘Universal concern is essential in solving global problems' (July 24th), provide insight into His Holiness' philosophical and spiritual outlook on life.

Dharamshala: At the end of the day, the practicality of doing business with one-fifth of humanity prompted Google Inc. to back down on a months-long threat to pull out of China over Internet censorship. The gaint web-company's row with Chinese media regulators has proven detrimental whilst rival Baidu Inc., China's most popular online search engine, see share prices soar. Since renewing their license with China early this month, Google seem to be falling well behind Baidu, who have reported that their profits have since doubled.
Despite taking a stand against demands to limit access to sites considered politically sensitive, the 6th July saw the multinational prioritise business over principles, as they backed down to ensure a new deal with China.
A loss in market shares was expected as a result of the dispute; however a catch up seems unlikely in light of the record number of customers their rivals Baidu have accumulated in the last three months. It seems that taking a moral stand was not good for business!

Dhasa: Special Envoy of His Holiness the Dalai Lami, Lodi Gyari Rinpoche, has given three gifts to The Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., on His Holiness' behalf. An 18th century Thangka of the Buddha from the Paksam Trishing collection, a Mandala offering set, and a golden butter lamp were presented to Dr.James Billington, the Librarian, at an event on Saturday 17 July.
During a visit to the library in February earlier this year, His Holiness expressed a wish to contribute to its collection. Gyari Rinpoche referred to the gifts given by the 13th Dalai Lama to the library 102 years ago, and spoke of how the current presents were a means to strengthen the relationship between the Dalai Lama and the United States.
Dr. Billington spoke of his thanks for the gifts and the honour he felt in receiving them, asking Gyari Rinpoche to relay his gratitude to His Holiness and to tell him he is always welcome to visit again and again. Billington said that the duty of the Library was to provide ‘the light of wisdom' to the world through access to its vast collections of knowledge, and that His Holiness's gifts symbolically represented this mission. The Library's Tibetan collection consists of nearly 13,000 volumes.

Dhasa: Tibetan singing sensation Alan Dawa Dalma will play at the Shibuya Bunkamura Orchard Hall in Tokyo, Japan, fulfilling a life long dream of hers. Known simply as Alan in Japan, the 22 year old was born in Dhartsedho county, eastern Tibet and sings in her native ethnic Khampa dialectic, as well as Chinese. Since moving to Tokyo in 2006 following her discovery by Avex Trax, a Japanese record label, Dalma has wowed crowds with her powerful voice.
Following the Tibetan tradition, she was bestowed with her name, which means "a heavenly maiden of the moon" by a Lama (Buddhist teacher) at birth.

Dharamsala: Professor Samdhong Rinpoche, Prime Minister of the Tibetan Government in Exile, is currently visiting exile communities in Himachal Pradesh, Northern India, in order to educate Tibetan people on policies of the Central Tibetan Administration. Information on the government's financial position and the upcoming elections is being given during these public audiences.
He began the nine day tour in Shimla, the capital of Himachal State on 19th July and has since been to Dholanji and Mandi to inform Tibetans on the Middle-Way Approach held by the government with regards to Tibet's future. Rather than seeking complete Independence, Tibetan officials seek 'genuine autonomy'; a moderate agenda for peaceful co-existence.
Samdhong Rinpoche has also expressed the importance of academic specialization during talks with schoolchildren at the Central School for Tibetans in Shimla and Dholanji.
The Prime Minister has yet to visit Chauntara, Bir and Tashi Jong in the forthcoming days.

Dhasa: The newly elected British Conservative Government has been heavily criticized by the Chinese media for its about-turn change in attitude on the issue of Tibet. British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, raised his concerns over human rights abuses targeted at the Tibetan population at a meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Yang Jiechi, in Beijing on 14th July. Chinese newspaper China Daily have warned that ‘raising the Tibet issue to upset the Chinese government is a lose-lose strategy' and that ‘the British side will have to pay a dear price for this.'
Hague's predecessor, David Miliband, of the Labour Government publicly supported the One China policy, regarding Tibet as part of the People's Republic of China; a stance that was held for 94 years. At the meeting earlier this month, Jiechi and other officials lectured Hague on Britain's controversial new position, arguing defensively that China's sovereignty and territorial integrity was very sensitive to the issue of Tibet and that the human rights situation is currently at its historical best.
The agenda for the meeting was to establish a political and economic alliance between Beijing and London's new coalition government; however the exchange seems to have unsettled both aspects of this relationship, the China Daily warns. They suggest, in a threatening manner, that pointing the finger and providing a stage for ‘separatists' may have dyer consequences for future Chinese-British relations.

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