The Kagyu Samye Dzong Centre in Brussels celebrated its 45th founding anniversary on 22nd October 2022. H.E. Vincent Van Quickenborne, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice of the government of Belgium, was the Chief Guest. His eminences Ringu Tulku Rinpoche, Gyalton Rinpoche, Jean Spinette, Mayor of Saint-Gilles and Rigzin Genkhang, Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the EU and Western Europe, were the other honoured guests.
The official function was held at the Kagyu Samye Dzong. In his introductory speech, Carlo Luyckx, Managing Director of the Centre and President of the Belgian Buddhist Union, recalled his association with Akong Rinpoche and described the different stages of the evolution of the Centre. He also expressed his thanks to each and every one involved since the beginning in bringing this Centre to life.
The Minister of Justice expressed his pleasure to be attending the founding anniversary of the Centre and congratulated them for their contribution to catering to the emotional needs of the local population for the last 45 years. He said his government was in the process of recognising Buddhism as a religion in Belgium, and if things go as planned, it should be done before the end of the year. “The Buddhists in Belgium have waited patiently for long enough, and the process should not drag any longer,” said Minister Van Quickenborne.
Representative Genkhang thanked the Centre for the invitation and recalled His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s visit to the Centre in April 1990. She also took the opportunity to remind the audience that Tibet was still under Chinese occupation and was a victim of a sinicisation policy of its culture and religion. And lauded the Buddhist centres such as Kagyu Samye Dzong’s essential role in preserving Tibetan Buddhism.
“The non-violence advocated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama is still alive in the Tibetan soul and, thus, contributes to a better, harmonious and peaceful world. Therefore, I would like to express my gratitude to the Belgian government, represented by H.E. Minister Van Quickenborne, for your precious presence. I am sure that many Belgian Buddhists will be very grateful for your initiative in recognition of Buddhism in Belgium,” said Representative Genkhang.
The Mayor expressed his pleasure to be at the founding anniversary and his pride that the Centre was located in his Commune that brings together over 130 nationalities. He also recalled his long association with Mr Luyckx, who used to be the Ombudsman of the Commune until a few years ago.
His eminence Ringu Tulku Rinpoche recalled his special connection with Belgium from an early age as he had a pen pal from Belgium when he was a young student. He also reminded the audience of his long association with the two founders of the centre His eminences Akong Rinpoche and Tcheugyam Trungpa Rinpoche. After the official function, the celebration moved into the garden, where a six-and-half feet stupa was erected. Refreshments were served, and a cake was also cut.