By Lobsang Tenchoe
DHARAMSALA, August 25: The organizing committee of 34th Kalachakra at a press conference held today in Dharamsala, briefed on the ongoing preparations for the Kalachakra initiation to be conferred by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Bodh Gaya in 2017.
The committee is formed by the Kashag (Cabinet Ministers) of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) as the Tibetan Spiritual leader had accepted to confer the 34th Kalachakra initiation on the Kashag’s request.
“As the Kashag proposed the Kalachakra, CTA will lead the preparation and cover the expenses incurred. But due to persistent applications the Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama received to sponsor the event, individuals and organizations numbering to 20 will collectively finance it,” Ven. Karma Gelek Youthok, Committee Chairman and Religion and Culture Kalon said.
Under Ven. Karma Gelek Youthok, the committee has four Vice Chairpersons comprising of Phagpa Tsering, Security Kalon, Choechung Wangchuk, Health Kalon, Jampa Lhundrup, Representative of the Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Ven. Thamthog Rinpoche, Abbot of Namgyal monastery.
Other members of the committee include, Tsegyal Dranyi, Secretary of Deptment of Religion and Culture as Member Secretary and four Members namely Nangzey Dorjee, Secretary BTCM, Wangchuk Phasur, Secretary of Department of Security, Thinley Gyatso, Secretary of Department of Finance and Tenzin Lungtok Additional Secretary of Department of Religion and Culture.
The committee’ preparation for the Kalachakra has been in full swing since early May. It has held meetings with the District officials of the Bihar government to cover all the bases- security, sanitation and accommodation.
“His Holiness the Dalai Lama always shares a deep concern about the well being of the devotees congregated for his teachings. Keeping that in mind, we are being cautious as we prepare for the Kalachakra initiation. Providing best service to the devotees fulfills His Holiness’ wish and we encourage the same to our staffs and volunteers,” Under Ven. Karma Gelek Youthok said.
Apart from tents and medical facilities, the committee has made special arrangements for performing final rituals and cremation of death body as such unfortunate incidents have occurred during the Kalachakra initiations in the past.
“We have arranged expenses and accommodations for around 1500 Tibetans who fall under the category of old, poor, yogis, hermits and destitute students. His Holiness was delighted as we informed him about the same. We assigned our various departments to collect the specific lists,” the Chairman added.
Flanked by Phagpa Tsering, Security Kalon and Choechung Wangchuk, Health Kalon on either side, Ven. Karma Gelek Youthok then fielded questions from the reporters.
“The registration opened from August, it is mandatory for monks, nuns, foreigners, people from Himalayan region, aged people and physically handicapped. General Tibetans do not need to register. Registration can be done on Kalachakra website or at the Office of Department of Security,” Phagpa Tsering, Security Kalon said when enquired about the registration.
Replying to a question on tents for accommodation, the Chaiman said, “We informed the district government that we are expecting 4 lac devotees. We have arranged 1500-2000 tents which can accommodate 8 people and we can arrange more as and when necessary.”
Enquired about limited entry gates during Kalachakras that result in people waiting in long queues, the Chairman nodded and explained, “We will set up multiple entry gates with many securities personnel to frisk at the gate so that people don’t have to stand in long queues for a long time. Having said that, we can’t compromise on the security. So we will do the best according to our capabilities.”