July 27, 2015 – Sidhbari, India
From July 1 to August 7, 2015, the Tibetan Children’s Village (TCV) is providing a summer school program to enable Tibetan children living abroad to learn Tibetan language, culture, and history along with the basic principles of Buddhism. Through visits and interaction with TCV children, the program allows Tibetan youth from abroad to experience firsthand the Tibetan exile community in India. These five weeks enable the children to get a feel for the Tibetan spirit, and this helps them to maintain their identity in exile. They can also come to a better understanding and appreciation for the Tibetan cause and aspirations. On the morning of July 27, the students from the summer school came to Sidhbari where the Gyalwang Karmapa spoke with them.
“I am delighted that you, who belong to this new generation of Tibetans, have come to study in Dharamshala our Tibetan language in its spoken and written forms. I’m also very happy that along with your studies, you have come here to visit me, and I extend to you my heartfelt thanks.
“Recently I went to the United States and traveled there for some two months. During that time, I had the chance to meet with many Tibetans who are living in America. I advised them that the most important thing is to preserve the Tibetan language in both its written and spoken forms. This is especially important for Tibetans who were born in America and now live there. Why is that so? Our Tibetan identity relies mainly on our language, and therefore, it is extremely important to keep it alive. If we lose our language, there is no way to learn about Tibetan culture and no way to study the Buddhist teachings of Tibet. Without Tibetan it’s as if the Tibetan people have disappeared―that’s the danger.
“Further it’s important that parents take an interest in their children studying Tibetan. The local Welfare Committees are creating a good environment so that the younger generation of Tibetans take up the study of their own language. They can also pursue many interesting activities related to these studies.
“You now have come to stay in Dharamshala for many weeks, and during this time, you can learn about the Tibetan world here. Especially from the students born in Tibet, who live in the Tibetan Children’s Villages, you can learn about their situation and take an interest in their lives. You have a wonderful opportunity to study Tibetan and develop your ability to speak and read it.
“I would like to specially thank all those who are giving their support to these studies―your parents, the sponsors, and the teachers and staff of the Tibetan Children’s Village.
“It is key for you to remember that although you were born and grew up in a foreign country, your flesh and bones come from Tibetan parents. Likewise, in order to preserve the essence of who you are, which is so important, you need to know your Tibetan language; therefore, you should do all you can to preserve and sustain it. This is something you should keep in mind.
“Especially the Tibetans living in Tibet have sacrificed their precious lives and valuable resources for the sake of the truth about Tibet and its future. We should take as a role model their example of great efforts and inspired courage.” With this praise the Karmapa closed his talk.