- Buddhism blooms
in Little Lhasa
Indians are outnumbered on the Indian
turf, says Milred, Christian, journalist in the United States, among a few Indians,
along with hundreds of foreigners from world
over, while waiting outside His Holiness the Dalai Lamas palace,in the warmth of
forenoon sun, to seek his blessings.
McLeod Ganj popularly know as The Little Lhasa in India
is a pilgrimage of sort for foreign tourists who visit India. During last one decade the
inflow of foreign tourists has multipuled . Charismatic personality, the Dalai Lama and
Tibetan Buddhism are the main attraction.
Worldwide image of Tibetan Buddhism and their spiritual leader the
Dalai Lama differs from country to country, and people to people. I am giving the
same respect to Dalai Lama, which I do to John Pope, says Brain, 23, an agnostic,
chemical engineering student from Canada. I heard a lot about him, he is a pleasing
and nice personality, thats why I want to meet him, he adds.
Some consider His
Holiness as an incarnation of Buddha. He is one among those, that God sends to his
garden to look after for a while, says Abraham, an Israeli, who has been staying in
McLeod Ganj for the last six months to see His Holiness, as well as to learn about
Buddhism. One should see him and listen to what is he saying, he adds.
Some are here out of curiosity to meet a popular person. I have seen him in
the newspapers and television, so I thought I would meet him, says Ajit Banerji,
Many have been staying over a year to seek blessings of the Tibetan
Buddhist leader, along with their families in the near-by places. Some are even interested
in converting to Buddhism. I was attracted by Buddhism and His Holiness before
coming to this place, says Albret, 38, an Austrian staying with his family in a
rented house near this little town. I used to
read a lot about Tibetan Buddhism and other matters of Tibet, he adds.
Most of them approach
Tibetan Buddhism religiously while others are here to add something new to their
education. Lurgung Ping, 34, a research scholar in religious studies from Japan says, I
am a Buddhist, even though Tibetan Buddhism and their rituals are entirely different from
ours. It is something new to my knowledge and I
am glad to learn it.
To promote Tibetan Buddhism, there are many short-term meditation
camps (vipassana course) organized by Tibetan Buddhist organisations here. You see more
foreigners than indians in these camps. There are so many things to learn from
Buddhism, says Jitender Kaushik, a journalist from Chandigarh, among a few Indians
attending one such meditation camp. Buddhism covers entire spectrum of life, from
culture to agriculture, he adds. What
is not there in Buddhism, Christanity has only Bible, he asserts.
Tibetan government-in-exile has also joined in bandwagon along with
other organizations to encourage Tibetan Buddhism. They hold classes in Buddhist
Philosophy at Tibetan Library. They even provide free lodging to those visiting this place to learn Buddhism.
We are providing all sorts of comforts for those who are coming here to learn
Buddhism, says KarmaGelek, an official
in Buddhist monastery, where hundreds of foreigners are staying.
One can see the promotional aspect of Tibetan Buddhism in the
marketing of printed T-Shirts and other house-hold matters related to Buddhist teaching
and philosophy; available at cheap prices in the bazaar of this little town.
After His Holiness
got noble prize for peace in 1989, most travelers shifted attention towards McLeod Ganj;
and the queues of spirituality seekers have been increasing!