Dear brothers and sisters,
It is a great honor for us to be able to host His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama in the city of brotherly love of Philadelphia. His Holiness the Dalai Lama calls himself a simple Buddhist monk. But he is someone who is not just making prayers and wishes for the world peace and happiness, but also works tirelessly to promote human values, religious harmony and Tibet’s struggle for freedom through non-violent means. These are the three main commitments he holds so dear wherever he goes.
The historical ties between the Dalai Lamas and the Kalmyks - linked inseparably through Buddhist religion and culture - go back as far as the 14th century. Both the Kalmyks and Tibetans underwent enormous sufferings in the 20th century when communists came to power in Russia and Tibet. For a moment, our long historical ties seemed to have been broken. But after the collapse of the Soviet Union, His Holiness the Dalai Lama got a chance to visit Kalmykia for the first time, and he was able to reconnect our peoples through the power of his blessings. He gave us the great inspiration and unceasing energy we needed so badly at that time to start the restoration of the legacy lost.
I’m convinced we have a lot to study from him and we can get immense knowledge out of his teachings. His blessings and spiritual guidance are our only hope on the long and difficult journey of restoring the high Buddhist values both in Kalmykia and in every human heart.
I feel humbled and very fortunate to be known by the 1989 Nobel Peace laureate His Holiness the Dalai Lama. I feel blessed to be able to serve His Holiness to the best of my ability. And pray and hope that I will be able to serve all sentient beings just like His Holiness does. He is my hero, our nation’s hero and modern world hero because of his tremendous contribution to the well-being of the world at large, as well as his never ceasing readiness to share his unlimited compassion, love, kindness and tolerance with everyone he meets along his noble path.
In our daily life, we all may feel extremely lucky if we have a good example to follow, as true reliance is very hard to find in the contemporary world of superficial values and shallow ideals. The Kalmyks of our generation have very special luck, indeed, since His Holiness the Dalai Lama, a living Buddha of Compassion, has been reborn among us.
All of us, who live in America, enjoy a free access to his teachings and public talks, and may absorb his love and wisdom with a due effort. This is a privilege that our fellow nationals back in Kalmykia have been denied of up to these days. Staying back in their simple homes, they can only rejoice a rare and extremely precious opportunity that all of us have today, as will rejoice the future generations to come. Thinking of all of them, let’s make the most of it.
I would like to thank the Kalmyk Brotherhood Society, Tashi Lhunpo, Rashi Gempil-ling and Nitsan Temples in Philadelphia, as well as the US State Department, the Private Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Office of Tibet and all the volunteers for making this event possible.
I pray that it will be successful and beneficial for humanity both now an in the long run.
As long as space remains,
As long as sentient beings endure,
So may I too remain
And dispel the miseries of the world.
Telo Tulku Rinpoche
Head Lama of Kalmykia