Amid ceremonies and celebrations to mark his 84th birthday in Dharmasala, northern India, on Saturday, His Holiness the Dalai Lama once again voiced his oft-repeated call for a more peaceful and harmonious global society, urging people to make compassion the foundation of their daily lives.
The Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), sometimes referred to as the Tibetan government-in-exile, organized a celebratory ceremony at the Thekchen Choling Tsuglakhang complex in McLeod Ganj that was attended by thousands of monks, nuns, members of the Tibetan diaspora, visitors from around the world, as well as official guests, who gathered in a mood of gratitude and concern for the health of the aging spiritual leader.
“If you truly love me, then keep in your minds my three commitments, and whatever you do, wherever you live, try to create a compassionate environment, compassionate society, then religious harmony,” His Holiness said, speaking to groups of followers in Malaysia, Singapore, and Taiwan via teleconference on 6 July. “Then tell more people that Tibetan knowledge, which comes from the Nalanda tradition is quite useful. So whether believer or non-believer, it is worthwhile that this Tibetan knowledge is kept as a part of academic subject. So if you practice, if you pay more attention, that’s the best gift for my birthday.” (Phayul.com)
Special guests for the occasion included Kishan Kapoor, member of parliament of Lok Sabha from the Kangra constituency of the state of Himachal Pradesh, and the chief minister of Himachal Pradesh, Jai Ram Thakur, as well as CTA president Lobsang Sangay. The CTA also released an official statement for the occasion, thanking the Indian government and its people for extending assistance and hospitality to Tibetan people who have fled their homeland.
“Based on His Holiness’ vision and advice, today in India and in 37 countries, changes are being initiated and brought in the curriculums emphasizing on educating the heart,” The CTA stated. “In order to secure a more peaceful world in the 21st Century, His Holiness trusted that the younger generation, who will be the leaders of tomorrow, be trained in such an education system.” (Central Tibetan Administration)
A day earlier, on Friday morning, the Dalai Lama met with hundreds of retired members of the CTA and their families, who gathered to offer prayers and a long-life ritual for the octogenarian spiritual leader in the main temple of the Tsuglakhang.
“Today, former staff of the CTA are offering this long-life ceremony. Your faith, devotion, and spiritual bond are strong. I thank you for praying that my life may be long. This morning, former Kalön Tripa, Tenzin Namgyal escorted me here. I’ve known him since he was a small boy when his father was a Tibetan official in Mussoorie,” the Dalai Lama told those assembled. (His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet)
“At a time when we see turmoil across the world because people are driven by disturbing emotions like anger and attachment, try to develop love and compassion and dedicate your work to peace in the world,” the Dalai Lama told those assembled. “We pray for the well-being of all sentient beings, but in reality those to whom we can actually be of practical benefit are the seven billion human beings who are our companions on this Earth. This is why wherever I go, I encourage people to be more warmhearted. If you are kindhearted in your day-to-day life, you’ll definitely find more peace and satisfaction. We will all die, but when it happens you can go without regret. You can recall that you followed His Holiness’s advice and did your best—pray for Avalokiteshvara to take care of you in life after life.” (His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet)
His Holiness gave thanks to the organizers of the Tenshug offering, and expressed a determination to live a long life in order to continue his work.
“I think that I may live into my 90s or around 100. There are indications that I may be able to live around 100, so I always pray for the sentient beings and the Dharma. I have been able to help many people including Tibetans so if I could live longer I would be able to serve more sentient beings and the teaching of the Buddha so that it may be revived in those places which it had spread but declined, and that it could spread to other countries where it has not spread as Je Tsongkhapa made this prayer moved by compassion. So rather than doing what is practical in this life that I could do to serve sentient beings and the Dharma and just aspire for another life that may not be practical, I hope to live around 100 and that’s my determination.” (Phayul.com)
Born Lhamo Thondup in 1935 in the hamlet of Taktser in northeastern Tibet, the incumbent Dalai Lama was identified as the reincarnation of his predecessor when he was just two years old. The next Dalai Lama would be the 15th incarnation over a continuous period of about 500 years. The Dalai Lama has won numerous awards and accolades over his lifetime, and in 1989 was a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for his campaign to find a peaceful resolution for the people of Tibet based on non-violence and dialogue.
Dalai Lama turns 84; calls for compassionate society, religious harmony (The Times of India)
Dalai Lama turns 84, calls for compassionate society (Deccan Herald)
Being compassionate in your life, the best gift for me: Dalai Lama on his 84th birthday (Phayul.com)
Former CTA civil servants pray for Dalai Lama’s long life through tenshug (Phayul.com)
Prayers for His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Long Life Offered by Retired CTA Staff (His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet)
Kashag’s Statement on the 84th Birthday of His Holiness the Great 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet (Central Tibetan Administration)