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Happy Birthday and Long Life to His Holiness the Dalai Lama

By Sarah Weber  /  July 7, 2017;

His Holiness cutting his birthda cake on his 82nd birthday celebration in Leh, Ladakh
Photo: Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL

His Holiness the Dalai Lama celebrated his 82th birthday in Leh, Ladakh on June 6. The celebration was organised by the Tibetan Community in Ladakh and the Ladakh Buddhist Association. Around 20,000 people were in attendance; among those present were the Tibetan president in exile Sikyong Lobsang Sangay and other members of his staff.

Special prayers were recited with His Holiness at his residence, before walking to the teaching pavilion on Shewatsel Ground. Once there, a long life offering according to the rite of the White Tara Wish Fulfilling Wheel was held and a mandala offering was made by Thiksey Rimpoche. His Holiness spoke, emphasising the need to work on a happier, more peaceful and more compassionate world by coming to grips with our negative emotions. Moreover, he expressed his commitment to increase inter-religious harmony. During a cultural interlude, students from the Leh Tibetan Children’s Village school and a group of Ladakhi girls gave a rousing performance of singing and dancing. After the prayers, a large iced cake was cut and distributed among the students.

Photo: Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL

Several speeches were held, honouring His Holiness for taking responsibility for Tibet at the age of sixteen, building schools in exile and ensuring the continuation of Tibetan culture. A mark of the success of this project is that with a 94% literacy rate, the Tibetan education system is ahead of those in China, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Sikyong Lobsang Sangay praised His Holiness in his speech for spreading awareness of the Tibetan issue worldwide. He said: “Today, we should not only pray for His Holiness to live long, but should reaffirm our determination to put what he advises into effect.”

Chief guests cutting birthday cake for His Holiness with the officiating President at the main temple of Mcleod Ganj
Photo: Tibet.net

In McLeod Ganj, His Holiness’s birthday was celebrated joyously. People gathered at Tsuglagkhang, the main temple in McLeod Ganj, where chief guest Kishan Kapoor, the Indian former Minister of State for Industries and Transport, gave a moving speech. He predicted that China would one day bow to the purity of His Holiness’s teachings and that the day for a free Tibet would come. The festivities were followed by colourful cultural performances by representatives of the three provinces of Tibet and, finally, a traditional Himachal lunch (Hindi: dhaam) was served. Singing and dancing continued until late in the evening.

His Holiness’ birthday was also celebrated all over the world. In South Korea, hundreds of people attended the birthday celebration organised by Tibet House on July 1.Taiwan marked His Holiness’s 82nd birthday with great fanfare on July 3 and further celebrations were held in several countries including the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Germany and Switzerland, to name but a few. Since 1997, July 6is celebrated worldwide as World Tibet day to show support for His Holiness and Tibetans.This year on that day Tushar Gandhi, great grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, launched a short movie in Mumbai using selected images from various activities of Friends of Tibet.

Members of Ladakhi community performing a traditional dance
Photo : Tenzin Choejor / OHHDL

His Holiness said that he is grateful to all who gathered around the world to celebrate his birthday in the spirit of friendship. He gave the following advice: “Time stops for no one, it’s always moving on. What’s past is past, we can’t change it. What we can do is learn from it. The future is dependent on the present. It rests in the hands of the younger generation. Those of you who are young today must harness your innate good human qualities with intelligence and a warm heart to bring about a happier world.”

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