His Holiness the Dalai Lama turned 87 on Wednesday, marking the occasion by inaugurating a museum and library in Dharamsala, northern India, that will house archives of the Dalai Lama in his present and previous incarnations. The spiritual leader celebrated from his home in McLeod Ganj, near Dharamsala, with events celebrating Tibetan culture as well as the Ladakhi, Nepali, and Gaddi cultures present in the region.
Ahead of the celebrations, Tenzin Lekshay, official spokesman of the Tibetan government-in-exile, said that the birthday would be celebrated “with great pomp, in which Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jairam Thakur will take part as the chief guest.” (Punjab News Express)
After the event, Thakur said: “I spoke with the Dalai Lama over the phone a short while ago. He was very happy. When I wished him on his birthday, he excitedly told me that he [had] received the opportunity to live in Dev Bhumi Himachal and for that he is thankful to the Himachal government . . .” (Republicworld)
The Dalai Lama has lived in India for more than six decades and has stated that he considers himself a “son of India.” Before the pandemic, celebrations would draw thousands of pilgrims and tourists to Dharamsala and surrounding towns in the foothills of the Himalayas. This year, hundreds of schoolchildren took part in celebrations and prayers for the Dalai Lama’s health and long life at Tsuglakhan Temple near his residence. Also present were many monks and other local residents.
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi spoke with the Dalai Lama over the phone, wishing him a happy birthday. Modi tweeted afterward: “We pray for his long life and good health.” (Hindustan Times)
Hollywood actor Richard Gere was also in attendance at the celebration.
The Dalai Lama Library and Museum will house a number of artifacts from the Dalai Lama’s life, as well as teachings and books on his life.
Ahead of the birthday celebrations, the Dalai Lama took part in conversations aimed at establishing a Buddhist institute to preserve the Buddhist heritage that began in Nalanda University in the fifth century. Geshe Lobsang Gyaltsen, former abbot of Gomang Monastery, presented a statement on the intent of the institute, saying:
“In accordance with the vision of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Geluk International Foundation announces the establishment of The Buddhist Institute, an umbrella organisation providing certification to members of the foundation’s constituent monasteries and nunneries, while also making its unique form of ancient Indian wisdom and education available to the outside world including men, women, ordained and laypeople.” (The Tibet Post)
Each year, 6 July is celebrated as the birthday, or incarnation day, of Tenzin Gyatso, the current Dalai Lama. The occasion is usually marked with cultural events and well-wishes from religious leaders and dignitaries from around the world. In 2020 and 2021, the day was not celebrated publicly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Penpa Tsering, head of the Central Tibetan Administration, stated: “For the Tibetans and the people of the world, today is a very special day. Because on this very day, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, a great bodhisattva and magnanimous giver of love and compassion, was born in this world beset by greed and struggle. Therefore, we would like to extend our warmest greetings to all humanity, including the Tibetans living inside and outside Tibet.” (The Tibet Post)
Tsering added: “The best way to repay the gratitude is to maintain good moral conduct and lead a meaningful life by following the counsel of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.” (The Tibet Post)
Dalai Lama marks 87th birthday by opening library and museum (Religion News Service)
PM Modi wishes Dalai Lama on his 87th birthday; Richard Gere, Himachal CM join celebrations (Hindustan Times)
PM Modi Dials Dalai Lama On 87th Birthday; Richard Gere & Himachal CM Join Celebrations (Republicworld)
Buddhist Institute establishes to preserve the unique form of study of Nalanda Monastic University (The Tibet Post)
The best way to repay the gratitude of His Holiness is to lead a meaningful life: Kashag (The Tibet Post)
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