July 4, 2021
Antwerp: Tibetan Community in Belgium celebrated the 86th Birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Antwerp on Saturday, 3 July under Covid restriction of a maximum of 250 persons. Representative Tashi Phuntsok was the Chief Guest. The staff of the Office of Tibet, leaders from other Tibetan organisations, and the public formed the select audience.
Once the portrait of His Holiness the Dalai Lama was enthroned and the Tibetan national anthem was sung, Mr Phurbu Dhondup, President of the Tibetan Community made a brief introductory remark. He then distributed ballot papers for the election of President and Vice President from the 11 members of the 9th Tibetan Community board elected earlier.
Representative Tashi Phuntsok gave a brief outline of the four commitments of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He called on all to emulate them in their daily lives. He cajoled the audience to imagine the presence of His Holiness in his residence in India and reflect on the enormous grace and blessings that he has bestowed on us. That should be enough to propel us to do better, eschew selfishness, anger, pettiness, and narrow-mindedness. We should embrace and imbibe his practical messages of universal responsibility, harmony amongst various groups, work for Tibet, and indeed use the Nalanda traditions of mental science to bring about peace of mind through compassion, love, tolerance, etc, he added.
Talking briefly about the hard work of the outgoing board, he pointed out the major success was the most lawful and smooth conduct of the Tibetan elections. Despite being the hardest period of Covid, both the preliminary and the actual elections were carried with the proper permission of local authorities. The donations to Indian PM Cares for Covid were substantial 15000 Euros. Recently at the instance of President Penpa Tsering’s appeal for relief and alleviation and Covid wave for Tibetans in the Indian Subcontinent, by yesterday another 12000 Euros have been donated by Tibetans in Belgium for onward transmission to the Health Department in India.
He applauded all Tibetans in Belgium and especially the outgoing Committee. He welcomed the new 11 members and wished all the best at the same time.
Mr Lhakpa, Accountant presented the accounts of the Community. It was followed by the announcement of the results of the elections of President and Vice `President of the Tibetan Community – Mr Palden and Mr Dorjee respectively. They were administered the oath by Mr Phurbu Dhondup, the outgoing President. Led by Representative Phuntsok the new and former board members were presented scarves by other delegates of Tibetan organisations.
Mr. Lobsang Dhondup, Vice President said the words of thanks. Thus concluded the somewhat abbreviated celebrations under the second year of unrelenting Covid 19.
- Report filed by OOT Brussels