Tibetan monks carve out new home in US heartland

Published on AFP Agence France Press, 4 days ago.

BLOOMINGTON, Indiana – In the rolling hills of Indiana, Tibetan monks pray for their homeland. They have little hope of returning.

While their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, tours Western nations in hope of drumming up support for Tibetan autonomy, these ten monks work to keep their culture alive in exile.

They tend the lush grounds dotted with two stunning stupas and a scattering of Mongolian yurts, teach meditation, hold regular prayer services and introduce curious locals and tourists to the art, architecture and music of their homeland.

Founded by the Dalai Lama’s brother, the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center is now run by the most senior religious leader to leave Tibet in decades.

Arjia Thubten Lobsang Rinpoche was the abbot of the influential Kumbum Monastery and spent years publicly defending the Chinese government’s policies.

That ended in 1998 when he was told to tutor the Panchen Lama selected by Beijing to replace the child chosen by the Dalai Lama.

Rinpoche, 58, fled to the United States where his is free to air his true feelings about the Chinese rulers.

“His holiness, the Dalai Lama, the Chinese people need a leader just like him,” Rinpoche told AFP … (full text).

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