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Happy 80th Birthday His Holiness The Dalai Lama by Stéphanie

08 July 2015

Long Life Prayer for His Holiness the Dalai Lama From the pureland surrounded by a ring of snow mountains, The source of benefit and happiness without exception, All powerful Tenzin Gyatso, who is Avalokitesvara, May you remain steadfastly until samsara is exhausted. May your activities be as all encompassing as space! We wish His Holiness Happy 80th Birthday and pray for his long life. Team Omalaya

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A joy of 6th July Birthday of Dalai lama-Trungkar in Ladakh by Stéphanie

Tibetan girl in traditional dress for the birthday of HH

30 June 2015

 Trungkar is the Tibetan word for ‘Dalai lama ‘s birthday’ and this year marks the 80th Trungkar of His Holiness the Dalai Lama – celebrated on June 21, according to the Tibetan calendar, and July 6, according to the Western calendar. On July 6, the whole of Ladakh, where the Dalai Lama is revered and respected by Ladakhis and Tibetans alike, will be in festive mood. The Trungkar will be celebrated at the Jivey Tsal (Peace Garden), at His Holiness’ residence in Choglamsar, around 7km from Leh. Preparations will begin on July 5, with families and larger groups setting up around 100 tents and reserving areas for stalls, which will be filled with a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, now available after the long, dry winter. The Trungkar will begin at the Jivey Tsal’s main temple at around 8am, with a long-life prayer for His Holiness and an incense-burning offering. The official function will be launched at 9am by the Chief Representative Officer, Sonamling Tibetan Settlement of Leh, Ladakh. All government and NGO officials of local and Tibetan bodies will be invited to the occasion. The programme will include speeches from invited dignitaries and traditional dances performed by Tibetans and locals alike, marking their mutual respect and friendship. After the function, the crowd will relax and enjoy picnics with family and friends. Food and drink will be available from stalls at the site. As well as local Ladakhis and residents of Sonamling Tibetan Settlement, the Trungkar is always attended by students and children who travel home from every corner of India and also from abroad. Reunions of long-lost friends are a common sight at the event. As the day progresses and the heat subsides, people will begin to sing and dance in and around their tents. Youngsters will enjoy modern English, Ladakhi and Hindi songs, whilst elders will join together for the Gorshae (traditional folk dances) of Tibet’s various regions. There will also be performances by the bands of the Indian Army Special Frontier Forces’ Vikas regiment and Ladakh Scouts, continuing until dusk. By the time people pack away their tents, they will be already looking forward to the next Trungkar, and dreaming that it might be celebrated in Tibet.

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Happy 30th Birthday of Karmapa! by Stéphanie

Happy Birthday To The Karmapa

26 June 2015

Message Regarding 30th Birthday by His Holiness The Karmapa. “This year marks my 30th birthday. Time has passed very quickly. This year is also the 15th year since I left Tibet and came to India. This 30th birthday is considered to mark a special milestone, and many people have been requesting me to celebrate this birthday extensively. However, I have decided not to celebrate my birthday for several reasons that I would like to share with you here. In all these years since leaving Tibet, I have never seen my parents again, and now they have grown old. This body was created and nurtured by my parents, and therefore my birthday is a day in which I feel their absence keenly. In these 15 years since I arrived in India, I have been living in a temporary residence at Gyuto Monastery in Dharamsala. Even though Gyuto Monastery has been an exceptionally kind and hospitable host, it is unseemly for a guest to cause such unnecessary inconvenience over their birthday year after year. Furthermore, each year on my birthday, I recall not only my parents, but also the sparkling beauty of the pristine natural environment in which I was born and raised. This intensifies my sense of urgency for the protection of the fragile ecosystems of the Tibetan plateau as well as the Himalayas. As I have said, the area’s glaciers make it the source of most of Asia’s major rivers, and the Third Pole of the globe itself. For this reason, the Tibetan plateau plays an important role in the well-being and sustenance not only of the people who live within it, but of all of Asia and indeed the entire planet. Because the Tibetan culture and way of life has existed in harmony with that environment for thousands of years, I feel its preservation is urgently needed in order to preserve that crucial environment. This is true not only of the Tibetan plateau, but also of the entire Himalayan region, including the countries of Bhutan and Nepal, and the states of India located within the Himalayas, such as the State of Sikkim. The country of Bhutan presents an excellent example of the value of retaining the way of life that is uniquely suited to the local Himalayan environment, and its commitment to doing so is truly praiseworthy. I have yet to visit but have heard from my many friends […]

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His Holiness Dalai Lama’s 80th Birthday by Stéphanie

Happy birthday Dalaï-Lama

20 June 2015

His Holiness  Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday.  This year, His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s  80th birthday falls on June 21st – the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, according to the Tibetan calendar. To mark the occasion, a special long-life prayer (Gyaton Tenshug) will be offered to His Holiness here in Dharamshala, India, by Tibetans living in exile, representing their brothers and sisters back home in Tibet. According to Tibetan tradition, birthdays are only observed for children reaching one year in age and adults reaching 80. Both are marked by a simple family and village celebration, whilst the 80-year-adult is presented with a white chupa (traditional Tibetan dress). His Holiness himself is 80 years old this year and his birthday will be celebrated in Tibet despite the Chinese government’s ban on expressions of joy at his leadership. In Dharamsala, the Gyaton Tenshug will be offered at the Tsuklag Khang (Dalai Lama temple), attended by local Tibetans and Indians from all walks of life, as well as visiting foreigners and special guests from around the world. The event marks the beginning of a year-long celebration of a simple monk who has striven to make the world a better place. His Holiness has dedicated his life to the promotion of compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, contentment, self-discipline and religious harmony, and has also worked tirelessly to preserve the Tibetan Buddhist culture of peace and non-violence. Omalaya wishes the Dalai Lama a long life and thanks him for his contribution of peace, love and compassion to the world. A live, four-hour satellite TV broadcast of the Gyaton Tenshug offering and proceeding ceremonies will begin on June 21st at 7.30am Indian Standard Time.

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Long-life empowerment ceremony in Kalachakra initiation by Julianne

Long life empowerment ceremony

18 May 2015

Kalachakra initiation is a very important ceremony in Buddhist tradition. It is an intense process of prayers, rituals and rites through which pupils are empowered to attain Buddhahood. The initiation is given by his Holiness the Dalai Lama and the entire ceremony lasts for 12 days. Usually the final day of the Kalachakra initiation is dedicated to a long-life empowerment ceremony. Prayers are given so that his Holiness and all the participants may all have a very long, happy and fulfilling life. According to Buddhist traditions, it is believed that if a spiritual leader dies it is because inhabitants of another realm want him to come and share his wisdom and knowledge with them. In order to postpone this moment and lengthen his stay on this world, special prayers and offerings are made on the final day. The three deities associated with long life are Amitayus, White Tara and Ushnishavijaya. Among these deities,  Tara is associated with purity and the special quality of removing obstacles in people’s lives and thereby enhancing the quality and longevity of their life. It is on this deity that the Kalachakra empowerment rituals are usually performed. Once the empowerment ceremony is completed, long-life offerings are made to the Dalai Lama. The offering involves chanting of a lineage prayer and a show of respect by the Monks and the Oracles. It is quite common to see a few devotees get possessed during this event and such devotees to get an opportunity to pay their respects to his Holiness. Members of various communities too take this opportunity to give offerings to his Holiness. The ceremony witnesses participants from all around the world. The last Kalachakra initiation was held in Ladakh in northern India and was attended by over 150000 people. The next Kalachakra initiation is scheduled to be held from 14 to 25 January, 2016 in Bodh Gaya , India. You too can participate in the Kalachakra initiation and the long-life empowerment ceremony. For more information, please click here. To watch our video about Kalachakra 2016, please click here.

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Kochi is a blissful fusion of religious faiths by Julianne

Kochi a blissful fusion of religious faiths

11 May 2015

The sea-side metropolis of Kochi is one of the biggest cities in Kerala, the South Indian state that is known popularly as God’s own country primarily for its lush green landscapes dotted by pristine backwaters and lagoons. Kochi acts as a gateway to many popular tourist destinations in Kerala such as Munnar, Alleppey, Wayanad, Thekkadi etc. However, Kochi is a unique in itself for it is a prime example of peaceful coexistence of major religions. The followers of the world’s major faiths – Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Sikhism and Buddhism – all form a part of the Kochi cityscape. In a country where more than 80% of the people follow Hinduism, Kochi stands as an exception because just one out of every two residents of the city is a Hindu. The existence of a healthy mixture of religious faiths in this region is due to the fact that it witnessed many waves of migrations during the course of its history. For instance, records establish the creation of settlements by Jews in Kodungallur, a port near Kochi, in the first century AD. It is believed that Saint Thomas, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ, arrived in Kerala in 52 AD and laid the foundations for the spread of Christianity. Today, the descendants of St.Thomas Christians call themselves Syrian Christians, one of the oldest Christian communities in the world. The city’s Islamic history can be traced back to the eighth century. As early as 3rd century B.C, Buddhism finds a mention in Malayali (Malayalam is the language spoken by the locals) literature. There is a significant presence of Jainism and Sikhism as well. The atmosphere in the city is filled with religious harmony and is evident from the presence of shrines for every major religion. Each individual follows the faith of his choice and at the same time acknowledge the presence of other religious faiths. Some of the renowned religious abodes in the city are: Santa Cruz Basilica With a history spanning more than five hundred years, Santa Cruz Basilica is one of the oldest churches in India. Renowned for its grand décor, the church was constructed in gothic-style architecture. Though it was deemed as a cathedral for most of its timespan, it received the status of a Basilica from Pope John Paul II in the year 1984. Apart from being a centre for religious congregation, the basilica receives […]

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