Home' Nova National : NOVA March 2013 Contents novamagazine.com.au
Twelve months ago, on Ma rch 10,
2012 at the start of the India n
summer, the sun shone wa rmly
on Dharamsa la (pronounced
Daramasalais), at the foothills of the Indian
Hima layan alps.
Already, by mid morning, Tibetans,
monks and tourists were out and about under
the prayer flag s on Temple Road, circling His
Holiness the Dalai L a ma’s private re sidenc e
a nd the adjacent Tsuglagkhang Temple,
where from time to time thousands gather to
hear his Buddhist tea chings.
“It was both an ordinary day and an
extraordinary day and one I will always
cherish,” said Lynn Bain, general manager
of Dalai Lama in Australia.
She had travelled from Sydney Australia
to McLeod Ganj, site of the Dalai Lama’s
private re sidenc e in upper Dhara msala , a
hill town some 2000 metres above sea level
at the foot of the Indian Himalayas, to hand
deliver a n invitation from Austra lia.
For several days prior to presenting the
invitation, Lynn carried it with her, e ven
ma king a symbolic offering as she walked
the ‘Kora’, a ritua l circuit around the small
mountain which is the loc ation of the
On behalf of her organisation and ma ny
Buddhist a nd community groups, she then
presented it to Mr Chimme Rigzing, private
secretary to His Holiness the Dalai Lama,
at a meeting at the Dalai Lama’s residence.
It invited the Dalai Lama to travel
to A ustra lia in 2013 – from the foothills
of the Himalayan alps to the almost sea
level of Sydney’s Darling Harbour – then
on to Melbourne, Adel aide and, for the first
time, to visit Da rwin in the hot, far north
His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th
Dalai Lama of Tibet, Nobel Laureate,
Congressiona l Medal recipient, Templeton
Prizewinner, ac c epted.
In her Dharamsala hotel room, Lynn
Bain, punched a small high five in the air.
For everyone back in Australia, it was
the culmination of much hard work and
many prayers and the beginning of much
e xciting work to be done. On a persona l
level, it was also the way she had chosen to
mark her 50th year, at least in this lifetime,
a s a Buddhist might say, at His Holiness’s
home in exile.
Tens of thousands of people from all
walks of life visit the Dalai Lama’s complex
in Dharamsala each year to attend rare
Buddhist Teachings, buy unique Tibeta n
crafts and souvenirs and many no doubt
hoping to b etter understand Buddhism or
just to catch a glimpse or a photo snap of the
Dalai Lama himself.
“For much of the year His Holiness
is travelling, both nearby and to other
c ontinents, going only where invited to
spread his secular message of compassion,
peace and the benefits of living ethically,”
“In Austra lia, we a re incredibly fortunate
that His Holiness will visit us again, going
to Adelaide for the first time in 20 years,
to Melbourne where he has several special
engagements, c onducting a rare teaching in
Sydney a nd for the first time visiting Dar win,
which will be a wonderful e xperience for the
people of the Northern Territory,” she said.
The Dalai Lama will be nearing 78 years
old when he visits Austra lia for 10 days from
13-23 June, 2013. It will be his ninth visit
to our country.
Such is enthusia sm for the visit, e ven
six months prior to his arrival, over 12,000
Austra lians have reserved seats to hear the
Dalai La ma speak.
Days after presenting the invitation Lynn
Bain found herself attending a Te aching
with the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala. Sitting
on a cushion on the ground and in his line
of sight she was just one of many among
se vera l thousa nd people squeez ed onto
every available inch of floor space inside a nd
outside the main Temple.
“I was in awe and it truly brought home
to me the amazing opportunity ahead for
Austra lians,” sa id Lynn.
“ We will be so very fortunate in Australia
to have the access, the opportunity coming
right here to us in Sydney.”
Australians are among the many
thousands of people who travel from around
the world to reach Dharamsala each year to
experience a Teaching with the Dalai Lama.
The journey ta kes them first from
Austra lia to Delhi, then 14 hours on a bus
to lower Dharamsala, or 12 hours on a train
to Pathankot, then 3-4 hours by bus or taxi
before a shuttle to McLeod Ganj, site of the
Dalai La ma’s temple.
“In other countries, there ca n be little
shade and little space and audiences ca n
be so vast, His Holiness is far away. Here,
we will sit in a ir conditioned comfort in
entertainment and convention centres with
the support of expert audio visual tea ms and
major screen s.
“It’s the opportunity of the lifetime to
se e one of the world’s most revered teachers
of fering his wisdom in a contemporary
setting,” she said.
The overarching theme of the secular
2013 Austra lian Visit will be “Beyond
Religion, the B enefits of Living Ethically”.
“On the Dalai Lama’s last Australian
visit, 65,000 people attended public events
with a further 110,000 engaging online a nd
we expect even greater attendance this year,”
“To be in the Dalai Lama’s presence and
learn directly from him, is a very powerful
e xperience indeed, a onc e in a lifetime
opportunity,” she added.
© noVa MarCh 2013
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