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Text of Thubten J. Norbu's Welcoming Speech to His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Place: Tibetan Cultural Center, Bloomington, Indiana USA
Date: Saturday Morning, July 27, 1996
Occasion: The Dedication of the Chamtse Ling, an International Temple for Peace and Compassion


His Holiness and Thubten Norbu (Taktser Rinpoche)

Today, on this most auspicious occasion, I am filled with overwhelming feelings of happiness and pride.

Your Holiness, at a time when you are unceasingly occupied day and night with hundreds of activities dedicated to bringing about peace and welfare for all beings as well as the liberation of Tibet and the Tibetan people from Chinese tyranny, you have come to Bloomington in order to lay the foundation stone of our small temple. This is one of the happiest and proudest moments of my entire life. I am confident that this is an exciting moment not only for me, but also for the people of Bloomington, foremost among them the guests and Tibetan friends gathered here today. Earlier this year, after the great news had spread that Your Holiness had decided to make this visit, local people filled with great happiness called and asked about your visit. Many times when we would meet people on the street, they would also ask questions. Since the early part of this year the city of Bloomington, led by the Mayor's office and the offices of the responsible parties at Indiana University have shown great concern and interest in your visit. They have actively discussed the events and made extensive arrangements with regard to the well-being of Your Holiness and of your entourage, and also with regard to the ceremonies to mark our welcoming of you. All this, clearly shows the sense of welcome and gratitude on the part of the people of Bloomington for your visit.

On this occasion, as I've said, feelings of happiness and pride have welled up within me. Along with this there came to me faith in the power of the wishes and hopes of the lineage of The Dalai Lamas as well as an unavoidable sadness in thinking about our homeland and our Tibetan compatriots who live under the rule of tyranny.

It was exactly 90 years ago, in 1906, that our home region and our monastic seat, Kumbum chamba-ling, were graced by the visit of His Holiness Thubten Gyatso, the 13th Dalai Lama. After he had arrived, my previous incarnation, Tsutum Jigme Gyatso, invited His Holiness to a monastic assembly, offered him a mandral representation and made special remarks to greet him. Now, 90 years later, at this auspicious time of Your Holiness' visit, Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, I am honored to offer you these words of welcome-moreover, I recognize in this, something of the wishes and hopes of His Holiness Thubten Gyatso, the 13th Dalai Lama.

At the auspicious time of the 13th Dalai Lama's visit to Kumbum monastery my previous incarnation invited His Holiness to the important retreat center called Sha-rdzong. En route, the residents of takster, the village that was to be the birthplace of myself and of Your Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, made offerings of food to His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama. Following the feast His Holiness, the 13th Dalai Lama gazed at the village, and extending his walking stick, he asked individually about the families in the village. When he gazed at the home in which Your Holiness, the present Dalai Lama, was born he remarked that it was a lovely home-this is well-known from the oral accounts of the older generation. After visiting Sha-rdzong retreat, His Holiness made a bestowal of a great decree by leaving his pair of shoes behind. The older generation of Tibetans believed that these two incidents indicated his intention to take rebirth in this village. And in line with that belief, 60 years ago Your Holiness, the 14th and present Dalai Lama was born in that region. Furthermore, I was born as your brother, in the same village and to the same parents.

Seventy years ago, His Holiness the Great 13th Dalai Lama recognized me as the rebirth of the previous incarnation in my lineage, Taktser Tulku Tsutum Jigme Gyatso, and accordingly bestowed the incarnation name by which I am now called, Thubten Jigme Norbu. At the same time, he bestowed on me the life-long prayer (Tenshu Montsek) entitled Tsa Young Nyaro, items of his own clothing, and four dogs from among those kept at the Norbulinka. In addition, he said that I was to be brought to Lhasa when I came of age; I recognize something in this that saved me from great tragedy in this life. In 1951, had I not honored the pronouncement of His Holiness the Great 13th Dalai Lama and not gone to Lhasa, I could not have avoided death by Chinese guns or dying from torture in a Chinese prison. This gathering today, together with you, Your Holiness, is something which doesn't even come to pass in dreams. If we tie these past events together, we might even say that our happy gathering here today is linked to the hopes and wishes of His Holiness the Great 13th Dalai Lama.

On such an auspicious occasion as this, my heartfelt prayers go out to the people of the land of His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama and of my previous incarnation. I also think of the Tibetans now living under Chinese tyranny. Ninety years ago, whatever the state of happiness of my former incarnation and of the people of my homeland, they lived in an auspicious time when they could invite their lord, His Holiness, to their homeland to see him and listen to him. Now, whatever the state of suffering of the people of my homeland, they cannot invite Your Holiness (to whom I am linked) to our homeland even though our people feel the need to invite Your Holiness. The people of our homeland have been waiting through long years of misery for the auspicious time when they can see and listen to Your Holiness-just as the starving await food and the thirsty await water-they are now without the freedom to even see your image, let alone to experience an event such as this.

However, on this most highly auspicious occasion, from my standpoint as one who follows the Buddha and who holds the name of those in the lineage of the Taktser incarnations, I believe that the hopes and wishes of The Dalai Lamas will be realized. Therefore, I also know that sooner or later there will one day be an independent Tibet-and just as we are gathering here today, so too I firmly believe, Tibetans inside Tibet and in-exile will see the happy day when they are reunited in their own country to see and listen to Your Holiness. Not only is that happy day the object of the hopes and wishes of the successive Dalai Lamas and of the heartfelt yearnings of Tibetans, both in Tibet and in-exile-it is also what is desired by friends of Tibet all over the world who sympathize with the plight of Tibet and who stand for justice and peace, especially those friends of Tibet present today. In 1989, when Your Holiness was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the statement of the award praised you for working for the liberation of Tibet through the path of peace and non-violence. Thus the people of the world have seen in you someone who is resolutely awaiting Tibet's independence.

I believe that one thing is certain about the liberation of Tibet: it will only come about through Tibet's independence. Any methods other than independence can only loosen the shackles that bind Tibetans-they cannot liberate them.

In line with my belief that only independence can definitely liberate Tibet, I fully believe that the fight for Tibet's independence must be through peace and non-violence. Whatever one might accomplish through the path of violence, it still adds to the suffering of oneself and others, generating greater hatred within both parties. The essence of hatred is a desire to deprive others of happiness, freedom, and ultimately even life. If we were to rely on violence to attain independence, we would have to live in a state of fear and anxiety. But that is not all-as our homeland of Tibet is a field of religion subdued by the arya Avalokiteshvara and as peace and non-violence are the most effective means for resolving the many problems between peoples and nations in the present day world, I recognize and believe that Your Holiness' philosophy of peace and non-violence is the best path for delivering Tibet from its misery.

On this occasion, filled as I am with happiness and pride, I have an announcement to make to all of our friends who have gathered here. The temple whose founding we are celebrating has been granted the name Chamtse Ling (Realm of Love and Kindness) by Your Holiness. One of the reasons for building this temple is, as I've just said, to contribute to the peaceful and non-violent work of Your Holiness. A second reason is to generate peace in the hearts and minds of all people, without distinction, living in this beautiful land where I have resided more than 30 years. Because of Your Holiness' hopes and wishes as well as your visit here to lay its foundation stone, I believe that this little temple will become what its name says it is, a small realm of pure love and kindness in this world.

I pray for a long life for Your Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, The Dalai Lama; that the wishes that have long been ingrained in the hearts of Your Holiness be realized, especially the wish for Tibet's independence; and that the auspicious time in which Tibetans in-exile and in Tibet can see and listen to Your Holiness may quickly arise! Thank you.

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