Leh, Ladakh: Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama celebrated his 82nd birthday in Leh, Ladakh with a long life prayer offering led by former Gaden Tripa Rizong Rinpoche, President of CTA, Speaker of Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, local dignitaries and members of Tibetan and Ladhaki community and well wishers from around the world.
More than ten thousand joyous Tibetans and local Ladhaki people and foreigners joined the 82nd birthday celebration at Shiwatsel Phodrang, official seat of His Holiness in Leh, Ladakh. His Holiness expressed his gratitude to all his well wishers and long life prayer service offered to him on his 82nd birthday.
His Holiness remembered the Tibetans inside Tibet and said they are all celebrating his birthday in secrecy, in their hearts and spirits.
“I feel young seeing the young school children. At the same time, when I see the elderly lots, I feel who it might be to go first,” His Holiness opened his birthday remarks on a light note.
Calling the students gathered at the event “guardians of the future,” His Holiness said they can play a pivotal role to shape the future of the world into one that is peaceful and harmonious and that this can be achieved through education.
“The students are future seeds and you have a big responsibility to make this world a better place for all to live and I am hopeful of the positive change you will bring in the future,” His Holiness said adding that his generation has not much to do other than offer prayers.
While acknowledging the love and affection he received from well wishers, His Holiness said, “I am grateful to everyone who wished me and the dignitaries who spoke highly of me on my birthday celebration here and to some extent, it is flattering. However, the love and affection you hold for me should translate into actions of good deeds,” His Holiness noted sharply.
His Holiness reiterated his three main commitments: “I being one of the 7 billion human being, try to inculcate compassion every time. Every living being wants happiness. It is my prime commitment to spread message of love and compassion to the world. Scientists proved that every human being are born with the basic nature of love and compassion.”
Secondly, being a Buddhist monk, it is important to have religious harmony. Even though every major religion might have different view and path but they preach love, compassion and peace as ultimate goal. Whether you are believer or non-believer, it is must to have compassion.”
“Tibetans in exile are few, as majority are still in Tibet. In past thousand years politically we have not yet succeeded, but religiously we have kept purest form of Nalanda tradition. We had numerous debates with renowned scientists all over the world. Tibetan language is must to learn Nalanda Buddhism.” He said.
The President of CTA Dr. Lobsang Sangay and Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile Khenpo Sonam Tenphel spoke participated in the life-long prayer ceremony for His Holiness and read the statements of Kashag and Parliament. Both expressed wishes and hope for a long life of His Holiness.
President Dr. Sangay said “A child born in Kumbum in Tibet became the most indomitable leader of Tibet.” He expressed gratitude to His Holiness for empowering Tibetan people with his farsighted vision for Tibet.
Khenpo Sonam Tenphel, Speaker of Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile said, “All Tibetans living in countries across the world mark today as the birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama with feelings of joy, faith, and optimism. By it they memorialize the gratitude they owe to His Holiness for his deeds which have universal values and benefits. It is also a day for them to reaffirm their solemn pledge to make part of their daily practice His Holiness’s counsel and guidance on the proper conduct in life to the best possible extent of their capacity.”
Tibetans and local Ladakhi people later presented cultural performances.
His Holiness released Chinese translation of the Compendium of Buddhist Science and Philosophy (Tsenrig Kuntu).
Mr Thinles Tsewang, President of Ladakh Buddhist Association gave a welcome remark. Dr Sonam Dawa Lhunpo, Chief Executive Councilor of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, in his speech, requested His Holiness the Dalai Lama to celebrate his 83rd birthday in Ladakh next year.
Ladakh Buddhist Association and Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council presented mementos on His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s birth anniversary.
Chief Representative Officer of Sonamling Tibetan Settlement gave the vote of thanks.
-Report filed by Correspondent Tenzin Phende and contributed by Tenzin Wangchuk-