January 26, 2014
At 9.30am, during the morning tea break, His Holiness momentarily put aside his teachings on Gampopa’s Jewel Ornament of Liberation and went outside for a flag-raising ceremony to celebrate Republic Day. Hundreds of nuns, monks, and laypeople crowded after him to watch. And across India, the peoples of the world’s largest democracy celebrated its 65th Republic Day in similar ways.
On the paved path between the gated entrance to the monastery and the main shrine hall, more than a hundred young monks with their teachers lined up in straight lines and stood to attention. Smartly kitted in khaki, Army security stood to attention, presenting arms with their automatic rifles. Indian security police, standing straight and tall, saluted. His Holiness stood and watched respectfully, as Bo Gongkar Rinpoche raised the Indian national flag. Emblazoned with Emperor Ashoka’s 24-spoke chakra wheel in navy blue, the tricolour flag —with saffron, green and white panels— Read the rest of this article