Taking a cue from Losar greeting from His Holiness the Dalai Lama where he said, “During Tibetan New Year, it’s our custom to greet each other and wish each other ‘tashi delek’. This is not just an opportunity to offer ‘chema’, drink ‘chaang’, and gamble. According to ‘Chanting the Names of Manjushri’, ‘Tashi’ means, since everybody wants to be happy and no one wants to be miserable, the cause of happiness is giving benefit and joy to others. If you create the causes of happiness, and live your life benefitting others and not harming them, that’s a meaningful life, a life that is essentially ‘tashi’”, Tibet Charity organised special Losar Party for those elders who are poor and living alone in and around McLeod Ganj.
Though we have invited around 30 elders, only some could actually turn up owing to bad weather on that day. But those who attended were given very good reception by the staff. The Director offered welcome ‘khata’ (traditional Tibetan scarf) to each of the elders who turned up. They were then offered customary sweetened rice and salt butter tea. After that they spent some time trying to know each other and spoke in length about their days in Tibet with their fellow guests. When the weather turned colder, they were taken inside the hall where they were shown videos of Tibetan songs & dances and some short teachings by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
After lunch, the elders took turn to sing songs or crack jokes. Our staff too joined them in singing songs.
After the function, the Director thanked them for coming. He explained how the younger generation of Tibetans owe so much of gratitude to people of our elder generation. When they reached India in 1959 or early 1960s, there were no Tibetan settlements, monasteries or schools. The elder generation of Tibetans did hard manual work to turn forests and wastelands to settlements and schools. Many spent days sleeping in temporary sheds constructing roads in higher regions of India. With kind blessings of His Holiness and support from Indian government, these Tibetans worked day and night to ensure better life for the future generation of Tibetans in exile. So we are enjoying the fruit of the hard work of our elders. So it is all the more important for us do our bit for our elders. Tibet Charity continues to make some contribution in making their life more comfortable with some our programs focusing on the elders. And this initiative to organise Losar get-together for our elders being one of them.
At the end of the day, elders expressed their thanks to Tibet Charity for organising this special Losar get-together. Some of them were emotional trying to remember the last time they had Losar celebration with others or sang songs. It was a long time back they said.
I can assure you that they thoroughly enjoyed their time here and I can also assure you that this will be an annual feature from now on.
We thank donors from the U.S. for kindly donating food items for the elders as well as for the party we organised.