The 8th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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Dalai Lama in Australia Ltd
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His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is the spiritual leader of Tibet. He was born on 6 July 1935, to a farming family, in a small hamlet located in Taktser, Amdo, northeastern Tibet. At the age of two the child, who was named Lhamo Dhondup at that time was recognized as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso. The Dalai Lamas are believed to be manifestations of Avalokiteshvara or Chenrezig, the Bodhisattva of Compassion and patron saint of Tibet. Bodhisattvas are enlightened beings who have postponed their own nirvana and chosen to take rebirth in order to serve humanity.
EDUCATION IN TIBET
His Holiness began his monastic education at the age of six. The curriculum consisted of five major and five minor subjects. The major subjects were logic, Tibetan art and culture, Sanskrit, medicine, and Buddhist philosophy which was further divided into a further five categories:Prajnaparimita, the perfection of wisdom; Madhyamika, the philosophy of the middle Way; Vinaya, the canon of monastic discipline; Abidharma, metaphysics; and Pramana, logic and epistemology. The five minor subjects were poetry, music and drama, astrology, motre and phrasing, and synonyms. At 23 he sat for his final examination in the Jokhang Temple, Lhasa, during the annual Monlam (prayer) Festival in 1959. He passed with honours and was awarded the Geshe Lharampa degree, the highest-level degree equivalent to a doctorate of Buddhist philosophy.
In 1950 His Holiness was called upon to assume full political power after China's invasion of Tibet in 1949. In 1954, he went to Beijing for peace talks with Mao Zedong and other Chinese leaders, including Deng Xiaoping and Chou Enlai. But finally, in 1959, with the brutal suppression of the Tibetan national uprising in Lhasa by Chinese troops, His Holiness was forced to escape into exile. Since then he has been living in Dharamsala, northern India, the seat of the Tibetan political administration in exile. Since the Chinese invasion, His Holiness has appealed to the United Nations on the question of Tibet. The General Assembly adopted three resolutions on Tibet in 1959, 1961 and 1965
In 1963 His Holiness presented a draft democratic constitution for Tibet that was followed by a number of reforms to democratise our administrative set-up. The new democratic constitution promulgated as a result of this reform was named "The Charter of Tibetans in Exile". The charter enshrines freedom of speech, belief, assembly and movement. It also provides detailed guidelines on the functioning of the Tibetan government with respect to those living in exile. In 1992 His Holiness issued guidelines for the constitution of a future, free Tibet. He announced that when Tibet becomes free the immediate task would be to set up an interim government whose first responsibility will be to elect a constitutional assembly to frame and adopt Tibet's democratic constitution. On that day His Holiness would transfer all his historical and political authority to the Interim President and live as an ordinary citizen. His Holiness also stated that he hoped that Tibet, comprising of the three traditional provinces of U-Tsang, Amdo and Kham, would be federal and democratic. In May 1990, the reforms called for by His Holiness saw the realisation of a truly democratic administration in exile for the Tibetan community. The Tibetan Cabinet (Kashag), which till then had been appointed by His Holiness, was dissolved along with the Tenth Assembly of Tibetan People's Deputies (Tibetan parliament in exile). In the same year, exile Tibetans on the Indian sub-continent and in more than 33 other countries elected 46 members to the expanded Eleventh Tibetan Assembly on a one-man one-vote basis. The Assembly, in its turn, elected the new members of the cabinet. In September 2001, a further major step in democratisation was taken when the Tibetan electorate directly elected the Kalon Tripa, the senior-most minister of the Cabinet. The Kalon Tripa in turn appointed his own cabinet who had to be approved by the Tibetan Assembly. In Tibet's long history, this was the first time that the people elected the political leadership of Tibet. Early 2011, His Holiness relinquished his title as head of state and now remains as spiritual leader of Tibet.
In September 1987 His Holiness proposed the Five Point Peace Plan for Tibet as the first step towards a peaceful solution to the worsening situation in Tibet. He envisaged that Tibet would become a sanctuary; a zone of peace at the heart of Asia, where all sentient beings can exist in harmony and the delicate environment can be preserved. China has so far failed to respond positively to the various peace proposals put forward by His Holiness.
THE FIVE POINT PEACE PLAN
In his address to members of the United States Congress in Washington, D.C. on 21 September 1987, His Holiness proposed the following peace plan, which contains five basic components: Transformation of the whole of Tibet into a zone of peace. Abandonment of China's population transfer policy that threatens the very existence of the Tibetans as a people. Respect for the Tibetan people's fundamental human rights and democratic freedoms. Restoration and protection of Tibet's natural environment and the abandonment of China's use of Tibet for the production of nuclear weapons and dumping of nuclear waste. Commencement of earnest negotiations on the future status of Tibet and of relations between the Tibetan and Chinese peoples.
In his address to members of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 15 June 1988, His Holiness made another detailed proposal elaborating on the last point of the Five Point Peace Plan. He proposed talks between the Chinese and Tibetans leading to a self-governing democratic political entity for all three provinces of Tibet. This entity would be in association with the People's Republic of China and the Chinese Government would continue to remain responsible for Tibet's foreign policy and defence.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama is a man of peace. In May 2012, His holiness was awarded the distinguished Templeton Prize. This was awarded for His commitment to interfaith relations and in 1989 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his non-violent struggle for the liberation of Tibet. He has consistently advocated policies of non-violence, even in the face of extreme aggression. He also became the first Nobel Laureate to be recognised for his concern for global environmental problems. His Holiness has travelled to more than 62 countries spanning 6 continents. He has met with presidents, prime ministers and crowned rulers of major nations. He has held dialogues with the heads of different religions and many well-known scientists. Since 1959 His Holiness has received over 84 awards, honorary doctorates, prizes, etc., in recognition of his message of peace, non-violence, inter-religious understanding, universal responsibility and compassion. His Holiness has also authored more than 72 books. His Holiness describes himself as "a simple Buddhist monk".
Australian Visit History
His Holiness has visited Australia 10 times. Each visit has been of a very different flavour, context and purpose but all have affected the Australian society in a deep and moving way. In addition the extraordinary success of each visit has helped His Holiness further his own goals of promoting human values, inter-religious harmony and bringing the Tibet issue to public prominence. We have a lot to be proud of in our support of His Holiness. We are lucky but we have earned it by our sincere response to His Holiness' message of love, compassion, tolerance and wisdom.
THE FIRST TOUR IN 1982
This was a very eclectic affair. His Holiness was largely unknown on the world stage. There was little if any interest politically in his Tour and we were largely ignored by politicians, police and media. His Holiness stayed in a student's private home - that of George Farley - and his bodyguards were whoever looked beefy enough to stand up to being shoved by an over enthusiastic supporter. The organising body was a loose affiliation of Buddhist groups and supporters in Australia all of whom were volunteers and His Holiness taught at Kew Town Hall for several days with Jeffrey Hopkins as his translator.
THE SECOND TOUR IN 1992
This was a much different event. His Holiness had received the Noble Peace Prize in 1989 and his status on the world stage had markedly increased. We were stunned by the enormous crowds that flocked to his teachings as he visited Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Hobart, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane. Suddenly we were besieged by media requests, the police provided some tactical support and politicians flocked to meet him. This culminated in Paul Keating, the then Prime Minister, meeting him and agreeing to support the establishment of a Tibet Information Office in Canberra. This was funded by the leftover funds from the Tour and so the TIO in Canberra was formed and a formal representative of the Tibetan Govt in Exile became resident on Australian soil. This was a great moment for the Tibetan people and we Australians made it happen.
THE THIRD TOUR IN 1996
This Tour was instigated by Lama Zopa Rinpoche and was organised by the FPMT (Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition). Its focus was the 12 day Kalachakra Tantric Initiation in Sydney. His Holiness also visited Canberra and Melbourne to teach and give public talks. A significant amount of money was raised on this Tour and this money was donated to charities and various non profit organisations around the world. His Holiness never keeps the money for his own purpose.
THE FOURTH TOUR IN 2002
This Tour was organised by Dalai Lama in Australia ltd - a non profit company formed by George Farley and Alan Molloy in 2001. The role of this company is to assist the Tibet Information Office in Canberra to administer and manage the Tours of His Holiness to Australia. By this stage the Tours were so large, so complicated and the security and political issues so massive that professional assistance was needed. Now His Holiness was to be protected by the Federal and State police. We required careful media and public relations strategies to ensure His Holiness' core messages were delivered clearly and to counter the ever increasing influence of China on Australian politics and industries. In addition the public events were so large that professional event management was required. Once again this Tour was very successful and His Holiness visited Melbourne, Geelong, Canberra and Sydney with the focus being on Melbourne and the Teachings on Atisha's Lamp of the Path. Interestingly despite our best efforts and repeated invitations neither the Prime Minister, Mr Howard, nor the leader of the Opposition, Mr Simon Crean, met His Holiness on that Tour.
THE FIFTH TOUR IN 2007
This was the most massive of the Tours and was once again organised by Dalai Lama in Australia Ltd. In 11 days HH visited Perth, Melbourne, Geelong, Bendigo, Canberra, the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane and Sydney. The logistics, transport and security issues became enormous and were all meticulously resolved.. HH leapt on and off helicopters, planes and motorcades to deliver his message to over 200,000 Australians. Meetings with both the Prime Minister, Mr Howard, and leader of the Opposition, Mr Kevin Rudd, occurred despite extensive opposition from the Chinese government. The Tour was an amazing success. HH was extremely pleased by the obvious interest of the Australian people in his message and offered to come back in 2008 to teach principally Dharma teachings.
THE SIXTH TOUR IN 2008
Once again Dalai Lama in Australia organised and managed the Stages of Meditation Teachings visit to Sydney in June 2008. The aims for the visit were that the Stages of Meditation teachings be accessible to all Buddhist traditions and that they be as affordable as possible. In all just over 6000 people from twelve countries in the Asia Pacific region attended the Stages of Meditation teachings. And a similar number attended the Public Talk “Finding Purpose in Life” held on the Saturday evening of the visit. Included amongst those who attended the teachings were 280 monks and nuns from the Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese and Tibetan lineages. The Sangha were sponsored to attend the teachings and lunch was offered on 3 days. Over 200 lay students and 200 Tibetans were also sponsored to attend the teachings by very generous benefactors. To deepen the experience for those attending, an auxiliary program was organised. This included guided meditation, chanting, one-on-one question and answer sessions, as well as panel discussions. And the teachings were translated into Chinese, Vietnamese, Tibetan and sign language. Between the teaching sessions His Holiness met with: 700 members of the Tibetan and Mongolian Communities; 300 members of the Chinese community; 150 school children; over 100 Community and political leaders; and 80 members of the Australian and Chinese Media. There was an overwhelming generosity from underwriters, donors and the contribution of over 300 volunteers.
THE SEVENTH TOUR IN 2009
His Holiness sincerely appreciates the deep interest that we Australian's have in his messages and that is why he returned in 2009. ONce again Dalai Lama in Australia oversaw the management of the visit in association with the Tibet Information Office. During this seventh visit to Australia, His Holiness visited Sydney, Hobart and Melbourne, where he attended the World Parliament of Religions and also celebrated the 20th Anniversary of his receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize. The Our Future, Who is Responsible? visit was once again a success, with over 25,000 people hearing His Holiness speak.
THE EIGHTH TOUR IN 2011
The Man of Compassion and Wisdom, the Dalai Lama's Journey was by far the largest visit His Holiness has undertaken in Australia. Visiting Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast and Perth, the 10 day visit saw His Holiness connecting with over 65,000 people live and a further 100,000 tuning in online. The visit kicked off months before His Holiness arrival to our shores, with a photo exhibition touring Australia, visiting regional areas, allowing people who would not normally connect with His Holiness, the chance to learn about this wonderful being. HIghlights of this visit were His Holiness's talk with 15,000 people in Brisbane, many of whom were affected by the devastating floods earlier in 2011 and his appearance on Australia's most popular television program, Masterchef - reaching almost 2 million Australians.
THE NINTH TOUR IN 2013
“Beyond Religion, the 14th Dalai Lama on the Benefits of Living Ethically” provided thought provoking scope to explore the positive impact of ethical behaviour on ourselves, our loved ones, fellow human beings, communities, countries and ultimately our shared global community. With relevance across all Australian society - the discussions of the benefits of life lived ethically resonated with individuals, families, academics, educators, medical, legal and commercial professionals, regulators, leaders, business owners, and people of all ages and cultural backgrounds.
The 2013 visit saw Teachings in Sydney and Melbourne along with Public Talks in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide & Darwin. He also attended auxiliary events engaging Buddhist communities, the Tibetan Community and other partner/ stakeholder groups including a visit to good friend Rev. Bill Crews Exodus Foundation, Westmead Hospital, University of Sydney, Sydney Peace Foundation, Quang Minh Temple, Tibetan Buddhist Institute in Adelaide, Adelaide Town Hall and Palmerston City in Darwin.
His Holiness also attended and spoke at the Young Minds Conference in association with the St James Ethics Centre and Good Start Early Learning Centre in Sydney and the Happiness and its Causes Conference in Melbourne. All up, over 65000 people connected with His Holiness during the visit.
THE TENTH TOUR IN 2015
Many thousands of people have been greatly affected by His Holiness’ messages on secular ethics, inter-religious harmony and the promotion of Tibet and Tibetan culture during his 10th visit to Australia, the Ocean of Wisdom visit.
His Holiness also gave a 5-day intensive meditation retreat to 600 serious Buddhist practitioners in the Blue Mountains in Sydney. He offered a one and a half day Buddhist teaching to 2,600 attendees in Brisbane which was attended by people of all faiths wanting to hear his common message on how to live a meaningful and compassionate life.
Over these 12 days, His Holiness participated in a dialogue with scientists and educators at the Happiness And its Causes Conference around the theme of secular ethics in schools. A 2000 strong Tibetan community event hosted a long life offering, His Holiness met with federal members of parliament from the Australian All Parliamentary Support Group for Tibet. There was also a multi faith event at the main catholic cathedral in Brisbane with representatives from all the major world religions which was also attended by the governor of Queensland and three state ministers.
A great 10th Visit for all concerned!