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 Dr. Tuesday Lobsang Rampa

HH Dalai Lama of Tibet
Photo Report of his Teachings
in Glasgow Scotland UK, May 2004

HH Dalai Lama teaches at Glasgow SECC May 2004

His Holiness the Dalai Lama of Tibet visited Glasgow for four days during late May 2004 as part of a tour of the UK which included talks in London, Glassgow and Edinburgh. The Dalai Lama gave a public talk in Glasgow SECC on Saturday 29th May which over 9,000 people attended, entitled "Inner Peace, Outer Harmony". This was followed by an extensive talk by Soygal Rinpoche, one of Tibet's foremost teachers of buddhism to the West and founder of Rigpa. This is a photo report of the Dalai Lama's visit and the events which encompassed his 3 days of teaching in Glasgow, Sunday May 30th to Tuesday June 1st, which included the Mitrukpa initiation.

Sunday morning dawned a beautiful sunny day and an early start - Soygal Rinpoche introduced His Holiness at 10.30am and the Dalai Lama began by apologising for getting us up so early on a Sunday morning! He spoke initially in English, and when he began the teachings he spoke in his native Tibetan and was translated by a wonderful Tibetan interpreter who brought Dalai Lama'a words alive. The dharma was explained in a most accessible and easily understandable fashion. For some-one like me with only book knowledge of buddhism and some small personal practice, it was a revelation to hear the buddha dharma explained in such a fashion.

Members of the monastic communities sat near the stage and the seating was tiered back, so everyone had a good view. There were two large screens, one each side of the stage where Dalai Lama sat on a simple armchair, so nothing was missed of his teachings.

Dalai Lama's teachings were relayed on large screens in the auditorium
The beautiful setting for the last day's teachings which included Mitrupka initiation
The beautiful setting on stage for the last day of Dalai Lama's teachings which included Mitrupka initiation.

The 3 days of teachings were based on the Tibetan Master Kamalashila's Middle Stages of Meditation and also an exposition of the 37 Bodhisattva practices. The different types of meditation were explained, both calm abiding and special insight, with advice on how to achieve and remain in the meditative state. His Holiness also explained the nature of mind, how we perceive our world and the different types of phenomena we experience here. The teachings culminated on the third morning with the empowerment ceremony of the buddha Mitrukpa. As part of the empowerment those who wished to do so, took the bodhisattva vows. Every step of the ceremony was explained, so that we knew exactly what was happening and what would be expected of us having taken the vows.

What a priviledge it was to receive this empowerment from His Holiness in person. For the first 2 day's teachings Dalai Lama sat on a simple armchair, but for the empowerment he sat on a small throne surrounded by flowers and altars on golden tables. The energy in the auditorium ws palpable, everyone I spoke to afterwards said they felt it was a powerful and meaningful ceremony for them.

In a separate hall there were many stalls, selling numerous items connected with Tibet, some selling souvenir CD's and videos of famous buddhist teachers - including His Holiness and also prominent Rinpoches. There were also stalls giving information about the plight of the Tibetan people, many of whom are presently imprisoned by the chinese who occupy their country.

Many stalls selling souvenirs and informing  about the plight of Tibet in a separate hall.spacer
There were many stalls selling buddhism videos
and souvenirs, and informing people
about the plight of Tibet.
Beautiful hand made Tibetan thangkas on sale
This lady was selling beautiful hand-made
Tibetan Thangkas.

Traditional Tibetan costumes for special religious
occasions were on display.

A typical Tibetan tent, which families lived in during the Summer months
A typical Tibetan tent, in which families would live during the Summer months.

A talk was given by the Venerable Palden Gyatso, who was imprisoned for 33 years for the crime of stating that Tibet is an independent nation and not a part of China. This elderly lama told us of the torture he and others had to endure, but said that his captors had not broken his spirit nor driven him mad. He stated that the buddhist practice of Tonglen and the feeling of compassion in his heart for his captors kept him strong. One could see that his eyes held the light and kindly joy of realisation. Palden Gyatso has just written a book about his ordeal, Fire Under the Snow, which is available from Free Tibet organisation.

Venerable Palden Gyatso with the Director of Free Tibet organisation, on their stand.
Venerable Palden Gyatso greets people
and gives blessings on the Free Tibet stand. With
him is the Director of the organisation.
Palden Gyatso speaking of his 33 years in prison, through his translator.
Palden speaks about the 33 years he endured
in chinese prisons, through his interpreter.

A well loved teacher who spoke about the Mitrupka initiation before the ceremony was Ringu Tulku Rinpoche. This wonderful teacher is very friendly and approachable and goes by the nickname of "the lazy lama"! He founded the Bodhicharya centre in India and has produced a series of booklets and videos which explain the basis of buddhist dharma and practices in a very simple and straightforward manner. Ringu Tulku walked back to the train station along the covered tunnel with everybody else, answering questions as he went, and he was kind enough to bless a small Amitabha buddha which I always carry. Truly Ringu Tulku has the common touch and is an excellent teacher and communicator who is helping to bring buddhism to a wider audience the West.

Ringu Tulku Rinpoche leaves the SECC after his talk
Ringu Tulku Rinpoche leaves the conference centre
after his talk on the Mitrupka initiation.
Ringu Tulku chats with a representative of the UK Dharma Network
Ringu Tulku chats with a representative of the
UK Dharma Newtork.

The author of a new book about Tibet was also on hand in the exhibitions hall - Isabel Losada who has written "For Tibet with Love", about how ordinary people can actually do something about the plight of Tibetans. Isabel was signing copies of her new book which has just been published, here you see her signing a copy with the cover of the book on the wall behind her.

Isabel Losada signs copies of her new book - For Tibet, with love.
Isabel Losada signs copies of her new book
- For Tibet, With Love.
Buddhist monks mingle and chat amongst the many thousands of people who came to hear the Dalai Lama's teachings.
Buddhist monks mingle and chat amongst the many
thousands who came to hear the Dalai Lama's teachings.

The three days passed swifly, and it seemed like no time at all when HH Dalai Lama concluded his teachings and we had to leave. Dharma network who hosted the teachings, thanked His Holines and said that it had been the largest buddhist event ever held in the UK. Between 4,500 and 5,000 people had attended each day and that financially they had broken even, as they had hoped to do.

Many lingered in the auditorium, not wanting the event to end. So much positive and peaceful energy had been generated, for me it was a joy and a priviledge to have been a part of this wonderful occasion.

Dalai Lama's prime teaching was to explain that we should generate compassion, but that compassion alone is not enough, it must be accompanied by the altruistic desire to actually do something to alleviate people's suffering - a courage. This is what the bodhisattva vows are all about, and bringing out this compassion leads to bodhichitta - the awakening mind. So His Holiness empowered and inspired us to go about our lives with a greater compassion in our hearts, and to put that compassion into practice to try to help all sentient beings to the best of our ability.

You can read more about the Dalai Lama's visit to Scotland, and also download the root text and prayers upon which the teachings were based. This includes the 37 bodhisattva practices. You can also view a webstream of Dalai Lama's public talk, which was attended by over 9,000 visitors.

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