GANGTOK, April 23, 2013
Hollywood star and humanitarian Richard Gere reached Gangtok on April 22 in what could be his first formal visit to the State.
Just as he landed at a helipad here, Gere, who is known to be close to the Dalai Lama and the Gyalwa Karmapa, took a car ride to Dharma Chakra Centre, Rumtek, before coming back to Gangtok this afternoon.
At Rumtek, the American actor visited the main shrine hall of the monastery, offered his prayers at the 16th Karmapa’s reliquary stupa, and spent a couple of minutes interacting with the students of Karma Shri Nalanda Institute, (KSNI) where he was offered butter tea and snacks. For the KSNI students, it was a ‘dream come true’ to take pictures with their favourite actor.
The young monks, monastery in-charge Omzed Lodey informs, were amazed with Gere’s ‘immense’ knowledge on Buddhism, the fact that he has been a practising Tibetan Buddhist of the Gelugpa School of Tibetan Buddhism for over three decades.
However, no one knows whether the ‘Chicago’ actor, who also founded Gere Foundation India Trust to support a variety of humanitarian programmes in India in 1999, has any shooting schedule in the serene Sikkim Himalayas or any humanitarian programmes.
Officially, Gere would be delivering a talk on ‘Buddhism in the West and my personal experience’ here at Manan Kendra on April 26 at 5 p.m. The talk, it is informed, is being organised by the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, in conjunction with CTAC.
He is also expected to attend a long life empowerment ceremony to be given by Khochhen Rinpoche and Sokse Rinpoche along with other great Buddhist masters at Tsuklakhang monastery on April 24.
Sources also inform that he would be attending a marriage ceremony in Gangtok.
(Courtesy: Sikkim Express)
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