His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at a welcome ceremony on his arrival at his residence in Leh, Ladakh, India on July 15, 2022. Photo: Tenzin Choejor

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Leh, Ladakh, India – His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet, arrived safely in Leh, Ladakh, on July 15, 2022 and said, "I encourage you to plant trees whenever you can. Planting and caring for trees is a crucial step we can all take to offset global warming and climate change."

His Holiness the Dalai Lama left Dharamshala on July 14, 2022 and travelled to Ladakh, where he arrived safely on July 15, 2022. On his way to Ladakh, His Holiness met a group of over 400 Ladakhi students studying in Jammu. During an hour-long interaction, he reminded them that Mahatma Gandhi had used 'ahimsa' as a political tool during the freedom struggle in India. Today, he added, it is important for young Indians to promote "karuna" or compassion, which is so necessary in the world today.

When His Holiness arrived in Leh, the people of Ladakh gave him an enthusiastic welcome. They lined the road from Kusho Bakula Rinpoche's airport to his residence at Shewatsel Phodrang, near Choglamsar. When he reached there, Drikung Chetsang Rinpoché, Thiksé Rinpoché and other Lamas greeted him. Mr Tashi Gyalson, Chairman of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), his colleagues, Mr Jamyang Namgyal, MP, Mr Thupten Chhewang, President of the Ladakh Buddhist Association (LBA) and Acharya Tenzin Wangdak, President of the Ladakh Gompa Association (LGA), as well as district officials, former government servants and representatives of various organisations, were also present to pay their respects.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama spoke at a welcome ceremony at Shewatsel Phodrang and said, “I am very happy to be here once again, I am very moved by the number of people who have turned out to welcome me. The people of Ladakh and I have a special bond between us based on faith and loving-kindness, of which I am very appreciative."

“I would also like to take this opportunity to encourage you to plant trees whenever and wherever you can. My friend the late Indian environmental activist Sunderlal Bahuguna entrusted me with the task of reminding the people of the Himalayan region of the importance of trees. Planting and caring for them is a crucial step we can all take towards offsetting global warming and climate change,” he said.

“After a few days’ rest here, where the weather is easier on my knees, I would like to give a Chenrezig (Avalokiteshvara) empowerment and continue the explanation of the ninth chapter of Shantideva’s ‘Entering into the Way of a Bodhisattva’ that I began in 2018,” His Holiness concluded.

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