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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Dalai Lama receives overwhelming welcome from well-wishers

October 21, 2008

By Phurbu Thinley
October 20, 2008

Dharamsala, October 20 -- Hundreds of Tibetans and well-wishers
holding traditional ceremonial scarves and burning incense greeted
His Holiness the Dalai Lama as he returned to his exile hometown here
this evening.

The 73-year old Tibetan leader arrived from the Indian capital, where
he successfully underwent a surgery to remove gall stones at a
private hospital.

After spending more than a week in Delhi for the medical treatment
and time to recover from it, an overwhelmingly emotional welcome
marked his arrival here.

The Nobel laureate appeared cheerful and constantly waved and smiled
at endless queue of well-wishers who had lined up to welcome him in
McLeod Ganj, in Upper Dharamsala, where his official residence is located.

His Holiness was received at the Gaggal Airport, which is an hour
drive from McLeod Ganj, by His Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa, Senior
leaders and officials of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile, and heads
of major Tibetan non-governmental organizations.

In McLeod Ganj, Buddhist prayers flags were put up and auspicious
Buddhist symbols were drawn along the road leading to His Holiness'
residence to welcome him. Welcome gates, decked up in traditional
Tibetan style with auspicious greetings, and banners welcoming the
Tibetan leader were also put up at different points.

Tibetans revere the Dalai Lama as their undisputed leader and a
symbol of hope of their freedom in the world.

His health has been a cause of concern for Tibetans since he
complained of abdominal pain in August and cancelled his otherwise
hectic schedules for a while.

Although his senior aides and doctors looking after him assured that
there was no cause of concern over his health, Tibetans and well
wishers have regularly gathered at the Main Tibetan Temple (Tsuglag
Khang) here to offer prayers for the continued well being and long
life of their beloved leader.

In August, His Holiness the Dalai Lama was admitted to a hospital in
Mumbai and underwent tests for abdominal discomfort. Doctors advised
him to cancel a planned trip to Europe and rest, saying he was
suffering from exhaustion.

The Dalai Lama normally spends several months a year travelling the
world promoting human values, teaching Buddhism and, advocating for
Tibetan rights and their struggle for greater freedom.

After returning to Dharamsala, the northern hill town which serves as
the headquarters for the Tibetan government-in-exile, he made a few
public appearances before deciding to go for another round of medical
tests in Delhi.

He was discharged from hospital Thursday, nearly a week after
undergoing surgery to remove gallstones, and spend few more days
resting in Delhi.

Calling the surgery a successful one, Dalai Lama's secretary Chhime
Rinzin Choekyapa had, earlier, said there was absolutely no need for
well wishers and Tibetan public to worry about His Holiness' condition.

"Doctors have already given 'green signal' for him to resume his
activities," he said.

His office had also announced that His Holiness' schedules, including
travel programmes, would remain unchanged.

His Holiness has "fully recovered from his illness" and would start
his daily routine of prayers and meeting disciples from tomorrow, his
spokesman Tenzin Takhla reportedly said today.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama is expected to make a one-week trip to
Japan as planned at the end of this month.
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