Saturday, 29 September 2018 – Inspired by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Tibetzentrum has been making an important contribution to the promotion of health, harmony and understanding with its successful educational programs, which preserve the rich Tibetan culture and promote mental and physical well-being, for 10 years. With an anniversary celebration on Saturday, 29 September, 200 guests honoured the friendship with Carinthia and Austria as well as the Marktgemeinde Hüttenberg. Special guests of honour were, among others, the sister and brother-in-law of H.H. the Dalai Lama, Jetsun Pema and Tempa Tsering. Members of the Tibetan community came from all over Austria to join in the celebration and see their “Ama-la” (revered mother), the loving Tibetan name of Jetsun Pema.
The first part of the program, a traditional Tibetan fire ceremony with prayers, took place in front of the Tibetan-style building of Tibet Center. Prayer flags fluttered in the wind, incense was burned, and at the end of the colorful and auspicious ceremony there was a very touching moment, when a Tibetan singer sang a traditional song and the guests threw Tibetan tsampa into the air under cheerful “Lha gyal lho” shouts (you can see the video here).
The actual festive event took place in the seminar room of the Tibetan centre, which had been converted into a banquet hall and was bursting at the seams. The Tibetan and Carinthian guests of honour gave a number of touching and informative speeches.
The director of Tibet Center, Lama Geshe TenDhar, gave a brief insight into the history of the educational centre. “I would like to express my sincere and heartfelt thanks to the state of Carinthia, the market community of Hüttenberg and the people of this region,” he emphasized in his speech. He also thanked the “founding father” of the house, the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan Ganden Phodrang Foundation, the University of Tibetan Studies in Varanasi, India, and the Tibetan medical institute Men-Tsee-Khang, in Dharamsala, India.
The cooperation with the state government and the local authorities was characterized by mutual respect and goodwill and the common goals were more than achieved in the last 10 years. Some figures that impressively illustrate this:
– 8,000 participants in seminars and lectures
– 600 participants from many European countries in diploma courses of several semesters on Buddhist psychology and philosophy as well as traditional Tibetan medicine
– more than 15,000 overnight stays in the region of Hüttenberg
“It gives us great pleasure to pass on the Buddhist culture and knowledge to so many people,” explained Lama TenDhar. “And it is not only about knowledge, but above all about realizing the vision of His Holiness the Dalai Lama: to promote human values and harmony between religions.”
Jetsun Pema, the sister of the Dalai Lama, thanked Geshe TenDhar and his team. “If you have achieved something, you should also look back and be happy about your own performance,” she said. She remembered the late Heinrich Harrer, who carried her on his shoulders as a seven-year-old girl in Lhasa, Tibet: “I was fascinated by his golden hair, which we hardly knew in Tibet,” she told the Hüttenberg audience to their delight.
The president of the association “Tibetzentrum”, Ngodup Dorjee, pointed out that from the beginning it was the intention to establish a study center for as many people as possible from all world views. He also reminded that the director of the house, Geshe Tenzin Dhargye, was assigned for this task from the Dalai Lama personally.
Kelsang Gyaltsen, former special envoy of H.H. the Dalai Lama, spoke about the political situation in China, where the indigenous language and culture of the Tibetan people is being repressed: “In this situation we are deeply grateful that there is a place here in Austria, in Carinthia, in Hüttenberg that makes such an important contribution to the preservation of the Tibetan culture”.
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Tibetan Studies, a cooperation partner of Tibet Center, came all the way from India to participate in the celebration. Prof. Geshe Ngawang Samten emphasized that Tibetan knowledge has a rich tradition of exploring the inner, one’s own consciousness. “This leads to a change in one’s own perspective and promotes a peaceful and happy state of mind.” Western science is increasingly learning from this culture, for example in the field of neuroscience.
Mayor Josef Ofner of the municipality of Hüttenberg congratulated the Tibetzentrum, which as a “meeting place for cultures and people of different denominations” gives an important cultural as well as economic impulse for the region.
Daniel Feller, who took part on behalf of state governor Kaiser, was very touched by “Tibet, its people and their stories”. “It is we who must be grateful to the Tibetans and we should let more Tibet into our hearts!” he said.
H.H. the Dalai Lama’s brother-in-law, Tempa Tsering, representative of the Dalai Lama’s Ganden Phodrang Foundation, which also promotes social and educational projects worldwide, emphasized the role of Tibet Center as an educational center for all people, regardless of religious affiliation. “His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s vision is the promotion of harmony between the religions”. For the Tibetans peace, compassion and non-violence are more important than material values.
After the ceremony, the celebration continued in the open air with traditional Tibetan music and traditional dances in brilliant early autumn weather.