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Monks hold prayers for Dalai Lama’s Tawang visit

Posted by Ramesh Khati on September 18, 2009

Dalai Lama

Dalai Lama

GUWAHATI (Reuters) – Hundreds of Buddhist monks and nuns at a 400-year-old monastery in Arunachal Pradesh began special prayers ahead of the Dalai Lama’s visit in November.

The Tibetan leader is scheduled to visit Tawang, one of the last vestiges of Tibetan Mahayana Buddhism and a major cause of tension over the decades-old border dispute between India and China.

China says Tawang, which is in Arunachal Pradesh, once belonged to Tibet and New Delhi should hand it back to help settle the row. China doesn’t recognise Arunachal Pradesh as a part of India and has opposed the Dalai Lama’s proposed visit to Tawang.

“As there is a controversy going on over Dalai Lama’s visit, so we have started special prayers for his hassle-free trip,” said Lopon Lama, one of the senior monks supervising the religious leader’s visit.

Nuns have started making brass bowls on which they would inscribe Buddhist scriptures.

Lama said they have planned a special ceremony called Kusungthugten during the Dalai Lama’s visit.

Another Buddhist monk and a lawmaker in Arunachal Pradesh, T. G. Rinpoche, said a group of more than 200 monks in a nearby monastery will perform special rituals this week.

“More than 250 monks from Bomdila will go to Tawang to participate in his welcome ceremony,” Rinpoche said.

Dalai Lama will open a modern hospital in Tawang. Buddhist devotees in Tawang and surrounding places have begun donating gold, silver and money to Buddhist monasteries to offer to their leader.

This will be the Dalai Lama’s fifth trip to Arunachal Pradesh since he entered India in 1959 after escaping from Tibet through Tawang.

His last week-long trip to the disputed state was in 2003. In November, he will in Tawang for only three days.

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