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Last updated: February 1, 2003

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Dalai Lama Calls For Peace With China at Buddhist Ceremony

VOA News 21 Jan 2003 At least four people have been arrested in India amid heightened security during an eight-day Buddhist ceremony led by the Dalai Lama that ended Monday.

The Dalai Lama concluded rituals marking the "Kalachakra" Initiation, which is one of the highest teachings of Buddhism, in the eastern Indian town of Bodh Gaya.

Some 150,000 devotees from Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, India, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan and several Western countries attended the rituals.

They began January 12 at Bodh Gaya complex - the site where Buddhists believe the founder of their religion achieved enlightenment centuries ago.

The Tibetan spiritual leader ended the sacred ceremony by urging Tibetan exiles to root their movement in the teachings of Buddha.

The AFP news agency reports the Dalai Lama also appealed for peace with China.

Some of the attendees accused him of being too soft on China.

The four foreigners who were arrested were from Tibet and Nepal.

The 67-year-old Dalai Lama won the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize for his non-violent opposition to Beijing's half-century occupation of Tibet.

China has ruled Tibet since it annexed it in 1951 and has been accused of trying to extinguish its Buddhist-based culture through political and religious repression.

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Texts and Translations © Peter G. Friedlander unless otherwise indicated.