Namgyal Monastery Institute of Buddhist Studies in upstate New York held a grand opening ceremony this month to inaugurate His Holiness the Great 14th Dalai Lama Library and Learning Center (HHDL LLC). The ceremonies and celebrations, running from 8-10 September, included ceremonial formalities, cultural events, and an interfaith conference.
Construction of the HHDL LLC, which is described as “a learning center for all—across all ages, faiths, and education levels—to think, grow, and understand,” began in April 2022. The center is dedicated to preserving the teachings of the His Holiness Dalai Lama and his efforts to promote world peace, dialogue, and cooperation between Buddhism philosophy and practice and modern scientific research.
“It’s been more than 60 years since His Holiness the Dalai Lama arrived in exile and he has contributed immensely in promoting the basic human values of compassion, forgiveness, and tolerance to this world,” said Ven. Thumtok Rinpoche, the abbot of Namgyal Monastery in Dharamsala, who attended the inauguration. “So this learning center will serve across all ages, faiths, and education levels to understand His Holiness’s teachings on secular ethics and human values.” (RFA)
The HHDL LLC states as its mission:
To unite 7 billion people across the world by promoting the basic human values of compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, contentment and self-discipline to as broad an audience as possible, both through on-site and virtual programming.(His Holiness the Great 14th Dalai Lama Library and Learning Center)
The opening ceremony began on 8 September with the unveiling of a statue of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, followed by a consecration ceremony and an offering of butter lamps in the center’s Great Hall. Tibetan cultural programs were also on offer as part of the event, as well as a two-day Interfaith and Secular Ethics Conference at Namgyal Monastery Institute of Buddhist Studies on 9–10 September.
Also in attendance were Ven, Tenzin Choesang, president of Namgyal Monastery Institute of Buddhist Studies and in charge of the HHDL LLC and His Eminence the 13th Kundiling Tatsak Tenzin Choe Ki Gyaltsen Rinpoche, who was the chief guest.
Founded in 1992, the Namgyal Monastery Institute of Buddhist Studies serves as the North American seat of the monastery of the Dalai Lama as well as providing a monastic venue for Western practitioners to study Tibetan Buddhism.
“His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama is taking a huge step from Dharamsala, India, to Ithaca to create his sacred space, a meditation and peacemaking center, [and] a teaching center for anyone who wants to come and study to learn about Buddhism and other religions,” project donor Diane Brandenburg said in April 2022, ahead of the groundbreaking ceremony for the center. (Ithaca Journal)
The HHDL LLC houses a definitive library of the present Dalai Lama’s written works, as well as those of all previous Dalai Lamas. Also housed within is a digital archive of 40,000 hours of the 14th Dalai Lama’s teachings, and some 4,000 books containing translations of ancient texts from the Kangyur (collected teachings of the Buddha) and the Tengyur (the translated commentaries on the Buddha’s teachings by the great Indian Buddhist masters and scholars), along with numerous Buddhist artifacts from India and Tibet.
Although the Dalai Lama, who resides Dharamsala, did not attend the opening ceremony, he sent a recorded message for the occasion:
Buddhism is not just a matter of routinely reciting prayers. It has to do with using intelligence and wisdom to bring about a transformation in the way we think based on the three types of understanding drawn from study of scriptures. That conviction comes about through reflecting on the meaning of what you have learned and experienced of that gained through meditation. (RFA)
His Holiness the Great 14th Dalai Lama Library and Learning Center
Namgyal Monastery Institute of Buddhist Studies
Ithaca now home to complete Dalai Lama library (Ithaca Journal)
Hundreds celebrate Ithaca’s new Dalai Lama library, museum (The Ithaca Voice)
Grand Opening Ceremony: Dalai Lama Library and Learning Center (Ithaca College)
First library, learning center dedicated to Dalai Lama opens in United States (RFA)
Representative Dr Namgyal Choedup of Office of Tibet in North America Attends Inaugural Ceremony of His Holiness the Dalai Lama Library and Learning Centre (HHDL LLC) (Centreal Tibetan Administration)