Audiences with Dalai Lama Halted Over Coronavirus Risk

05/02/2020

His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Bodh Gaya in January. From dalailama.com

A representative of the office of the Dalai Lama on Friday announced that public audiences with His Holiness have been suspended until further notice as a precaution in light of the rapidly spreading coronavirus contagion. The news came a day after India reported its first confirmed case of the virus, in the southern state of Kerala.

“The office is not taking requests for regular audience from the public for now,” said Tenzin Takla, private assistant of the Dalai Lama, from Dharamsala in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. “It is just a precautionary measure taken by our office.” (The Times of India)

India reported its third confirmed infection on Monday 3rd Feb. 2020. All three were detected in Kerala.

TsewangGyalpo Arya, secretary of the Central Tibetan Administration’s Department of Information and International Relations, confirmed the decision: “The public audience of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, will not be entertained for some time, considering the emergency declared by World Health Organisation and precautionary measures that most of the health institutions and government are taking in wake of coronavirus outbreak.” (Hindustan Times)

The 84-year-old Tibetan spiritual leader usually meets with members of the public every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, in line with a schedule coordinated by his office.

The health department for Himachal Pradesh has placed Dharamshala and McLeod Ganj on high alert against the coronavirus in light of the number of Buddhist pilgrims, including mainland Chinese, who flock to the hill town to pay their respects to the Dalai Lama and at the various Buddhist centers in the district.

Responding to a group of mainland Chinese Buddhists who sought advice from His Holiness amid the health scare and asked him to pray for a resolution to the coronavirus epidemic in China, the Dalai Lama on 29 January expressed concern and sympathy for those affected. 

“There is an ongoing outbreak of a viral disease in China,” he said. “China is historically a Buddhist country and we as followers of Buddhism, either of the Sanskrit or Pali tradition, must pray together for the epidemic to subside.” (Phayul)

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate urged all Buddhists who believe in the recitation of mantras to recite the Arya Tara (Green Tara) mantra—Om tare tutareturesoha—to help mitigate the spread of the virus and to ease the fear and suffering those affected. “There are many people around the world who are worried and scared about the epidemic. I pray for them all,” the Dalai Lama said. (Phayul)

 

Source: By Craig Lewis

https://www.buddhistdoor.net/news/

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