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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

Reports: Tibetans acknowledge Indian bonhomie Nalanda tradition is back to India

April 7, 2009

By Ratnadeep Banerji
Organizer (India)
2009 Issues -- April 12, 2009

Tibetan banishment in India has completed its 50
years. The Tibetan Government-in-exile has
expressed its earnest gratitude to India and its
people for according cozy shelter in distressed
times. A five-day long symposium took place at
India International Centre, New Delhi. Since its
inception, IIC, Delhi has wholeheartedly upheld
the integral sovereignty of Tibet. The ongoing
symposium held lectures, exhibitions including
some rare palm-leaf manuscripts, documentary
films and a gamut of cultural events on a
grandiloquent way. It has also been visited by His Holiness Dalai Lama.

"We Tibetans as refugees will always feel
grateful to the people of India, not only for
giving help and shelter to this generation, but
for many generations. We Tibetans have received
light and wisdom from this country. So, we will
always feel indebted. From a cultural viewpoint,
we are the followers of Indian culture”, says our disenfranchised neighbour.

Prof Geshe Nawang Samten, Vice Chancellor,
Central University of Tibetan Studies, Sarnath
delivered a discerning lecture reckoning Tibet as
recipient, preserver, and restorer of Indian
wisdom. The enthused speaker has translated
Nagarjuna’s Ratnavali and several other works
into Tibetan. He dealt upon the journey of
Buddhism from India to Tibet and back to India.
The major Buddhist monastic universities in India
were Nalanda, Vikramshila, Takshashila,
Odantapuri and Ratnagiri etc. Nalanda stood out
with its astounding contribution of treatises in
spirituality, philosophy, epistemology, logic,
medicine, astrology, arts, literature, poetry,
grammar, dramaturgy, and lexicography among
others. The prolific interaction of Vada and
Samvada improvised the realms of philosophy,
logic and epistemology. But quirk of fate, by
12th century, Buddhism dwindled and made a retreat from the heartland of India.

Buddhism had arrived in China by the turn of 2nd
century CE and geographically it was more
conducive for Tibetans to import Buddhism from
China than from India. By 7th century CE,
Buddhism was well established in Tibet. Indian
Buddhism made forays in Tibet with an influx of
original scriptural texts and authenticity of
tradition. It was an epoch making decision. Kings
of Tibet invited hundreds of erudite Indians to
Tibet. "Indian masters and Tibetan scholars
brought along with them a large number of
manuscripts of several thousand titles from India
to Tibet”. At Samye monastery, for over 400
years, an enormous corpus of literatures was
translated into Tibetan from mainly Sanskrit as
well as Pali, Prakrit and Apabhransha. “The
translations retain the literal as well as the
thematic meanings of the text with such precision
that all different shades of meaning in the
original text were brought out into the
translated version…..This is something
unprecedented in human history, not only on
account of authenticity and precision, but also
on the ground of the magnitude of the literature
running into around six thousand titles”. Tantric
system also gained ground. Tantra introspects the
intricately complex system of human physiology,
its network of nadis, and coordinates their
functioning with stupendous spiritual
realisations. It is worth mentioning that several
Sanskrit literatures that have disappeared from
India have been retained in Tibetan rendition.
For instance, Paninivakyasutras can be retrieved
only from Tibetan sources. “Tibetan Buddhism is
nothing else besides the tradition of Indian
Mahayana system, mainly following the path and
the model of Nalanda Monastic University,
pursuing the study of its profound philosophy and
logic coupled with sophisticated spiritual
disciplines which encompass both Tantra and the
Sutra”. And thus, the intellectual and spiritual
culture of Nalanda got transplanted in Tibet.

The Chinese repression mauled over six thousand
monasteries and temples, several Indian
manuscripts were consigned to flames. Thereafter
since 1960 in the wake of Tibetan exodus, the
Nalanda monastic system has reverted back to
India. New institutes of high creditability such
as Central Institute of Higher Studies at Sarnath
were established that went on to restore back 65
lost texts back into Sanskrit. Veritably, ancient
Nalanda tradition is back in India.
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