Dalai Lama concerned over declining health, moral values among Tibetans

Dharamsala, March 24 (IANS) Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama said he is seeing deplorable health situations in Tibetan settlements and called for better care and services to sick and destitute people.

“There are many sick and destitute Tibetans in the settlements. I can see that there are no facilities for taking precautions to prevent disease,” said the Dalai Lama, who was speaking on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Men-Tsee-Khang, the Tibetan Medical and Astrological Institute.

The negligence by the Health Department of the Central Tibetan Administration is obvious in the settlements, he said, adding that efforts must be made to improve the situation.

“We need to be practical. Feel-good appearances will not help. That will be empty glory,” the Dalai Lama said.

“We have sustained thus far. To think that it will be alright in the future as well will be wrong. You have to take responsibility and be careful, and try to stop where things are going wrong.”

He also expressed deep concern about the declining moral values among the Tibetans.

“We speak about good moral character and behaviour, but in reality, these are degenerating in our society,” the Dalai Lama rued.

The institute was founded by the 13th Dalai Lama in Lhasa in 1916. Following his escape to India in 1959 after the Chinese invasion of Tibet, the 14th Dalai Lama re-established the institution here in Dharamsala on 23 March 1961.

The Institute was started with Dr Yeshi Dhonden, who was then the Dalai Lama’s personal physician and an astrologer with ten students in Dharamsala.

At the event, the Dalai Lama felicitated Dr Dhonden with a warm embrace and presented him a thangka ( a traditional and sacred scarf).

The Dalai Lama lauded the achievements of the institute but said that much still need to be done. “I see many sick and destitute people in the settlements. It is clear that the services of Men-Tsee-Khang have not reached these people.”

The event was attended by Himachal Pradesh forest minister Thakur Singh Bharmouri and Ayurveda minister Karan Singh. Sikyong (Prime Minister of the Central Tibetan Administration) Lobsang Sangay, and Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile Penpa Tsering, were also present.

The event also commemorates 320 years of establishment of the Chagpori Medical College in Lhasa, Tibet, by the fifth Dalai Lama, and 55 years of re-establishing Men-Tsee-Khang by the 14th Dalai Lama in Dharamsala.

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