United Kingdom: His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Tibetans start their 60th year in exile, Kalons (Ministers) are visiting different parts of the world to thank supporters (individuals as well as institutions) for their support through these years. It is in the backdrop of this Thank You Year that Choerig Kalon visited the United Kingdom from 12-18 July 2018
Official engagements in the UK comprising meeting with dignitaries and visits to Buddhist Centres marked the maiden visit of Choerig Kalon (Minister) for Department of Religion & Culture, Central Tibetan Administration, to the United Kingdom.
Arriving at London Heathrow airport on Friday, 12 July evening from Vienna, Austria, Choerig Kalon started his official engagements on the following day.
Over the weekend, he visited London School of Tibetan Language & Culture (LSTL&C), administered by Tibet House Trust – UK registered charity whose Patron is His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. After observing the two Tibetan language classes and dra-nyen (Tibetan guitar) class in session, the Kalon in his address to the students, parents and teachers spoke about how impressed he was with the student’s participation in the classroom and their passion in playing the dra-nyen. Speaking on the importance and richness of the Tibetan language, he called on the parents and students to put in more effort in studying the language. The LSTL&C, with more than 40 students aged between 6-14 and 3 teachers, functions with a four-member parent’s committee under the supervision of the Tibet House Trust Secretary.
He also met separately with the Tibetan community here (organised by the council of Tibetan Community in Britain) where he spoke about the purpose of his visit, the role played by the Department of Religion & Culture, and the importance of keeping alive Tibet’s rich cultural heritage. In the Q&A that followed, the Kalon touched on the Middle Way Approach – the official policy of the Central Tibetan Administration to peacefully resolve the Tibet issue; the status of the Sino-Tibetan negotiations; the hope for a positive change in China and Tibet.
At the All Party Parliamentary group for Tibet meeting held in the Palace of Westminster (Parliament House) on Tuesday, 17 July 2018, chaired by Rt Hon Tim Loughton MP, the Kalon spoke on The Relevance of Buddhist Traditions to the present world. In the interactive Q&A that followed, members present posed questions ranging from the possibility of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s visit to the UK, to the present status inside Tibet and the hope for the future. The Kalon replied to the questions and took the opportunity to thank the UK Parliamentarians and the public for their support and urged them to continue their support.
The Kalon’s official meetings here included meeting with the officials of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, and meeting with a representative of Westminster Abbey.
During his short time here, besides visits to The Buddhist Society (started in 1924), Samten Kyil – Tibetan Peace Garden (administered by The Tibet Foundation) and Jamyang Buddhist Centre, the Kalon also visited Tashi Do-ngak Choeling Monastery administered by the Buddhist Community Centre UK (which twice hosted His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s visit to Aldershot) – where the Kalon was very warmly welcomed by the board members of the BCCUK and the Nepalese community there. In his address to the community members there, the Kalon spoke about the role played by the Buddhists from the Himalayan region (including Nepal) in the practise and preservation of the Nalanda tradition in India and Nepal and called on the community members to study the texts and analyse them as advised by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
The Kalon also visited the offices of Free Tibet and Tibet Relief Fund and interacted with the staff members.
-Report filed by OoT, London-