Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama has no plans to end his ongoing Covid-induced “self-exile” in the hill town of Mcleodganj, Dharamshala.
Staying away from all his public appearances ever since the pandemic broke in China’s Wuhan, Dalai Lama, like millions of people, faced the lockdown and home isolation.
The Dalai Lama’s office on Wednesday confirmed that His Holiness will continue to stay indoors and conduct spiritual teachings or important talks, through “live webcast” – the online platforms.
The deterioration of the situation in several nations and India made the Tibetan leader to maintain his self-isolation strictly and restrict his public appearances.
“Yes, I am afraid till coronavirus is completely gone and it’s safe to make appearances or physical interactions, His Holiness will not be conducting any public engagements for now,” the Dalai Lama’s secretary, Tenzing Taklha, told Outlook over phone.
Dalai Lama, who enjoys a high level of security cover, has not moved out of his palace since February 2020 — when the reports of the Covid-19 outbreak hit the world.
“We have no information about his schedule as we also have no official communication about his public engagements or future travels,” a senior IPS officer in the state’s Intelligence wing said.
His office has already put up a notice saying, “We regret that His Holiness the Dalai Lama no longer holds public audiences. In fact, on the advice of His Holiness's doctors as well as concerned people close to His Holiness, we are trying to reduce his overall engagement schedule.”
“His Holiness holds webcast teachings, interactions and talks twice a week. We have seen millions of followers India and broad joining his special preaching and find themselves blessed to listen to him,” Tenzing Taklha said.
When one of his listeners asked the Dalai Lama how to deal with extreme anxiety and isolation in June 2020 during a webcast talk, the Dalai Lama suggested meditation.
“I have been in isolation in order to ensure my health amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Usually I was giving some lecture and some teaching from time to time, now I no longer have the opportunity. I do meditation for four to five hours, watch television, read and just take of my health,” he added.
On Wednesday, while speaking at a live webcast, on "Empathy and Compassion in Policing" organised by the Indian Police Foundation, the Dalai Lama said, “India and ancient Indian traditions, still being preserved by the country, can set an example for the rest of the world to learn co-existence of the people — who despite following different religions, languages and scripts live in complete harmony.”
“I salute the Indian Police and army, which not only protects the country’s borders but also promotes goodwill and compassion,” he added.
The Dalai Lama said it is alright if the police act tough and rigid against certain people for public good. It’s their job as long as the primary motivation of their action is for the greater good.
"Rigidity is simply a method of discipline. Whether it is violent or not entirely depends on the motive. As police, under certain circumstances, you need to use harsh methods, but the larger motivation is protecting people," the Dalai Lama said.
He said every morning when he gets up, he greets the policemen guarding him and makes it a point to “laugh and smile with them”.
To a specific question on death penalty, the Dalai Lama said he was totally against it. “I am always against death sentence. It’s not a right thing. They (criminals) should be put in prison, but the death sentence is not ok. Any person can commit a mistake and there is always a possibility for change in him through proper education and the surrounding atmosphere.”