Grand Long Life Offering Flags off Year Long Celebration of His Holiness’ Birthday
Dharamshala 8 June 2005: A grand and elaborate long life offering (Tenshug) to His Holiness the Dalai Lama organised by the Central Tibetan Administration today marked the beginning of a year long celebration of His Holiness’ 70 birthday.
Due to prior travel engagements of His Holiness, the ceremony was held four days in advance of His Holiness’ actual birthday, 12 June, according to the Tibetan calendar.
As an expression of gratitude and devotion to His Holiness for his leadership, Tibetans throughout the world will celebrate the 70th birthday of His Holiness through a series of religious, social, education and health programmes.
Today’s ceremony began at 6 a.m. and was presided over by His Eminence Sakya Dagtri Rinpoche, head of Sakya tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.
Speaking at the ceremony, His Holiness said that the collective long life prayers will be answered, adding that the first Dalai Lama, Gendhun Drupa, lived 80 years and the fourth Panchen Lama, Lobsang Choegyal, lived 108 years.
His Holiness also reiterated his total commitment to the process of democratization despite an appeal in the petition accompanying the long life offering to assume the main responsibility of the exile Tibetan polity.
“I am fully committed to democracy without any half measures and I consider myself to be in a state of semi retirement”, he said.
His Holiness also emphasized the need to sustain the present unity between the different ecclesiastical communities and between the people of three provinces of Tibet–U-tsang, Do-toed and Do-med.
“At no point of time in history, had there been this much unity. It is imperative that we further develop and sustain this unprecedented unity.”
The ceremony was graced by the religious leaders of the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism and Bon, including Gaden Tri Rinpoche, Drubwang Penor Rinpoche, Gyalwa Karmapa Rinpoche, Drikung Chetsang Rinpoche, Taklung Shabdrung Rinpoche, Menri Trizin Rinpoche and Sharpa Choje Rinpoche.
The mediums of the official oracles–Tsering Che-nga, Nechung, Gadong and Youdon-ma–also graced the occasion with a brief moment in trance.
Also present at the ceremony were dignitaries of the CTA including Namgyal Tsering, the chief justice commissioner, Pema Jungney, the chairman of the Assembly of the Tibetan People’s Deputies, Kalon Tripa Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche and his colleagues, members of the Standing Committe and other deputies of ATPD, officials of the CTA, and representatives of the non-governmental organisations, schools and institutions.
The CTA also hosted a special luncheon for His Holiness and all the heads of the Tibetan ecclesiastical communities.
The Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts will present a cultural show at 7 p.m. to the religious heads and other dignitaries present at the ceremony today.
The official birthday of His Holiness will be celebrated as usual on 6 July.