Bodhgaya, Bihar, India – Following the teachings he gave at Sed-gyued Monastery, Salugara, His Holiness the Dalai Lama flew yesterday from Bagdogra to Gaya. On arriving at Bodhgaya, he was given a brief formal welcome at the Main Tibetan Monastery, Gaden Phelgyeling.
His Holiness the Dalai Lam bowing reverently before an image of his teacher, Ling Rinpoché, during his visit to the Temple at the Tibetan Monastery in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 16, 2023. Photo Tenzin Choejor
This morning, His Holiness visited the temple hall at Gaden Phelgyeling, where he paid his respects before the statues of the Buddha. This temple was originally constructed in 1938 by a Ladakhi Lama named Ngawang Samten. Returning to Tibet, he offered it to the Tibetan Government. In 1951, Dhardo Rinpoché was appointed Abbot and under his supervision monastic quarters were constructed in 1952. It was at this time that His Holiness gave the monastery the name Gaden Phelgyeling. In 1965, when he was appointed Gaden Tripa, Ling Rinpoché also became Abbot of this monastery. His Holiness this morning bowed reverently before an image of his teacher, Ling Rinpoché, resting on his throne.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama making his way to the Mahabodhi Temple by electric golf-cart in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 16, 2023. Photo Tenzin Choejor
Seated in an electric golf-cart His Holiness then rode to the Mahabodhi Temple and entered the complex from the south side near the remains of the Ashokan pillar. Ramps had been arranged so he was easily able to reach the inner circumambulatory path. As he walked respectfully round the temple, His Holiness smiled and waved to people peeking through the stone railing. When he reached the Bodhi tree and the Vajrasana which marks where the Buddha sat as he attained enlightenment, he stepped through the railing to where devotees were celebrating the Kagyu Mönlam.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama greeting devotees as he makes his way around the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 16, 2023. Photo Tenzin Choejor
At the door to the Mahabodhi Temple His Holiness was welcomed by members of the Bodhgaya Temple Management Committee. Within the inner sanctum he paid his respects before the renowned statue of the Buddha and sat down. Monks of Namgyal Monastery then joined him in reciting a praise of the Buddha known as the ‘Three Continuums’, the ‘Heart Sutra’, ‘Illuminating the Threefold Faith—an Invocation of the Seventeen Great Scholar-Adepts of Glorious Nalanda’, ‘Dependent Arising: a Praise of the Buddha’, ‘The Seven Limbs from the Samantabhadra Prayer’, the ‘Words of Truth’ and so forth.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama reciting prayers in front of the statue of the Buddha in the inner sanctum of the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 16, 2023. Photo Tenzin Choejor
As he was leaving the temple, His Holiness turned once more to salute the image of the Buddha. Below the steps members of the media had gathered. He told them: “I feel it’s a great honour to be able to come to this sacred place and pray before this special statue of the Buddha. These days things in our world, particularly in relation to the climate, are becoming very difficult. We are fortunate to be able to pray to the Buddha that we may overcome these difficulties and if, due to the power of this place, our prayers are more effective—that’s good.”
His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking to members of the media at the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 16, 2023. Photo Tenzin Choejor
Smiling and waving to people who lined the way, His Holiness then returned to Gaden Phelgyeling Monastery.