I rejoice in the naming of Prof. Geshe Ngawang Samten as a recipient of this year’s prestigious Padmashree award by the Government of India. This award, which is the fourth highest civilian award, is both a recognition of the personal contribution of Prof. Samten and the overall contribution of Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies in Sarnath, the institution that he heads.
I had a glance through the list of 93 recipients for this year. Among them are three foreigners, one of which is Prof. Samten. Then there were two people who share the broader Tibetan cultural heritage, Mr. Norden Tshering from Sikkim for his contribution to literature and education and Ms. Keepu Tshering Lepcha, also from Sikkim, for her Social Work.
Prof. Samten is the product of post-1959 Tibetan society and symbolizes the success of the Tibetans in diaspora. If at all Buddhism has had a positive revival in the scholarly and academic circles in India, much of the credit should go to the Central Institute for Higher Tibetan Studies. Since its inception this Institution has educated Tibetans, Indians and Bhutanese, as well as others, in the deeper aspect of Tibetan Buddhist philosophy.