DHARAMSHALA: His Holiness has begun a two-day spiritual retreat at the 17th century Tashiding monastery, one of the most sacred and holiest Buddhist monasteries in Sikkim.
It lies nestled on the top of a hill that looms up between the Rathong river and the Rangit river and is surrounded by a profusion of Prayer flags that flutter in the air.Â
The monastery was built in 1641by Ngadak Sempa Chembo who belonged to Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism. Ngadak was one of the three wise men who held the consecration ceremony crowning the first King of Sikkim at Yuksom. It was extended and renovated in 1717 during the reign of the third Chogyal Chakdor Namgyal. The sacred ceremony of Bumchu is held here at midnight of the 14th & 15th of the first Tibetan month.
Prior to going into the two-day retreat, His Holiness paid a visit to Tashiding Monastery’s Chogyal Temple, following which he attended a ceremony. The monastic community and local Indian lawmakers presented Mendrel Tensum (auspicious prayer offerings) to His Holiness the Dalai Lama.Â
His Holiness also gave oral transmissions of sacred texts to over 300 people gathered to receive his blessings. He told them about the importance to undertake study of Buddha’s teachings. He also gave audience to two senior leaders of the state government and other local officials.
This is His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s sixth visit to India’s north eastern state of Sikkim. The first visit was made in 1956 on his way to attend the 2500th birth anniversary of Lord Buddha in India and at that time due to heavy snowfall on the way to Tibet he had stayed in Sikkim for nearly a month. He paid his second visit from 16-17 October 1981 during which he gave teachings and visited Pemayangste and Tashiding monastery. At the invitation of Sikkim government, His Holiness paid his third visit to the region in 1992 during which he gave the 18th Kalachakra teachings. The fourth visit was made from 21 â€“ 24 October 1997. His Holiness paid his fifth visit to Sikkim from 20 â€“ 27 April 2005 during which he took him to Gangtok, Rawangla and Namtse.Â
Following his two-day retreat on 16 and 17 December, His Holiness will visit Rawangla andÂ Gangtok.