An historic event took place on March 1 2018, when over 875 Tibetan Buddhist nuns offered long life prayers for His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
The Buddhist nuns came from over 40 nunneries across India, Nepal, and Bhutan and represented all five Tibetan schools of Buddhism including Bön.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama was “elated and buoyant”, according to a report by the Central Tibetan Administration.
“I am indeed happy that this offering is being made together by nuns of all five sects of Tibetan Buddhism. It is indeed applaudable,” said His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
The first-ever tenshug to Tibetan spiritual leader took place at the main temple (Tsuglagkhang) in Mcleodganj, above Dharamsala, and across from the home of the Dalai Lama.
Looking out on the vast crowd of nuns, His Holiness the Dalai Lama commended the Tibetan Buddhist nuns who had earned their Geshema degrees, (Geshe for males), the highest level of scholarship-previously regarded only for monks.
“I am very proud of your achievement and encourage all of you to pursue the highest scholarship in Buddhist study. This is the 21st century and we need to understand the Buddha’s teachings in the light of reason,” said His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
He mentioned that in Tibet, Buddhism spread throughout the country, but many simply followed what had become customary on the basis of blind faith.
“In the beginning when I spoke about awarding Geshema degrees, some were doubtful. I clearly told them that Buddha had given equal opportunity for both men and women to pursue Gelongma, and so should be the case for Geshemas,” His Holiness said with enthusiasm.
“So continue your excellent work. Be resolute in carrying forward your study and service to Dharma. Although you have made grand offerings today; in essence, the most meaningful offering to me would be your unfaltering dedication and service,” he said.
He further said that although physically he was old, he feels inspired to continue his work for next 10 or 20 years.
The long life offering ceremony was attended by President Dr Lobsang Sangay, Chief Justice Commissioner Kargyu Dhondup, Speaker of Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, Justice Commissioners, kalons, Kalon Trisur, Professor Samdong Rinpoche, members of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, secretaries, and officials of the Central Tibetan Administration.
Religious leaders including Sherpa Choje, Drekung Kabgyon, the medium of Nechung oracle, the Abbot of Namgyal Monastery, and representatives of various Tibetan monasteries also graced the event.
The long life prayers were offered with deep devotion and as a mark of gratitude to His Holiness the Dalai Lama for the continued care and support he has offered to the Buddhist nuns.
As the Tibetan Journal reported, the historic ceremony also aims to fulfill His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s compassionate vision for the welfare of all sentient beings.