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Dalai Lama Shares Message of Gratitude as Well-Wishers around the World Celebrate His 89th Birthday

His Holiness the Dalai Lama shared a birthday message on 6 July. From youtube.com

His Holiness the Dalai Lama shared a video message on Saturday, on the occasion of his 89th birthday, in which he expressed thanks to fellow Tibetans, and to well-wishers around the world, for their support and prayers, and offered reassurances to his followers over his health, noting that some media reports had exaggerated the severity of his medical condition.

His Holiness is currently visiting the United States, where he successfully underwent knee replacement surgery on 28 June in New York City. He has since been discharged from hospital and is now recuperating. This visit is the Dalai Lama’s first to the US since 2017. He has no public engagements scheduled during this trip.

“Recently, I had surgery on my knee, which has given me some problem. However, I am recovering and have no problem at all now,” the Nobel Peace Prize laureate explained.

The spiritual leader expressed appreciation for medical care and attention he had received while in the US, noting that apart from some post-surgery discomfort, he was feeling well and healthy: “I am nearly 90 now, except for the issues with my knee, I am basically in good health.” 

Speaking at a press conference in New York City on 4 July, Dr. Tsetan D. Sadutshang, personal physician to the Dalai Lama, emphasized, “His Holiness is rapidly recovering and is able to walk. Soon, he will move to a place with a better environment. Tibetans inside Tibet and in exile should not be worried over this condition. There’s nothing to worry about,” (Phayul)

In his message, the Dalai Lama acknowledged his work and responsibilities as the de facto spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, remarking: “Until now, with the title of the Dalai Lama, I have made contributions to a certain extent, to people inside and outside of Tibet, and in many parts of the world, and, most importantly, with regard to the Buddha’s teaching.

“Still, I am determined to continue my service to the teaching; I am resolved to do so with all my heart. I wish to urge all Tibetans, wherever you are, to please keep making prayers for me on my birthday celebration. Please do your best.”

Members of the Tibetan diaspora greet His Holiness during his arrival in New York City on 23 June. From dalailama.com
Members of the Tibetan diaspora greet His Holiness during his arrival in New York City on 23 June. From dalailama.com
Members of the Tibetan diaspora greet His Holiness during his arrival in New York City on 23 June. From dalailama.com

Around the world, Buddhists, well-wishers, and supporters gathered to celebrate the occasion and to pray for the Dalai Lama’s long life. Among the observances, a number of global leaders sent birthday greetings, among them Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and US secretary of state Antony Blinken.

“I extend best wishes to His Holiness . . . on the occasion of his 89th birthday,” Blinken said in a message shared over social media. “His support for nonviolence, compassion, and human rights are an inspiration not only to the Tibetan community, but to many around the world.” (Twitter)

Meanwhile, the Central Tibetan Administration, the Tibetan government-in-exile, shared a statement of support from Co-Chairs of the Australian All-Party Parliamentary Tibet Group, who noted, in part: 

Over the years, the Dalai Lama has met with many members of our Parliamentary Tibet Group and conveyed to us directly that the Tibetan spirit is strong. He has also affirmed his commitment to the humanity of 8 billion people in the world and to living in a peaceful future. . . .

It is auspicious that the Dalai Lama will be in the USA for his birthday as both the Senate and Congress, in bipartisan agreement, have passed the Promoting a Resolution to the Tibet Sino Conflict Act. This act recognises the Tibetan people’s right to self-determination and to decide their own future. . . .

We wish His Holiness the Dalai Lama much happiness on the occasion of his 89th birthday and support his efforts for a peaceful future for humanity and Tibet!  (Central Tibetan Administration)

In a historic first for Mongolia, Telo Tulku Rinpoche, the representative of the Dalai Lama to Russia, Mongolia, and CIS countries, led a large-scale “Festival of Compassion” in Ulaanbaatar’s Central Palace of Culture to mark the birthday of His Holiness on 6 July. The gathering was attended by more than 600 guests, including foreign ambassadors and senior religious figures, such as Kundeling Rinpoche, Jhado Rinpoche, and Keutsang Rinpoche, as well as the Deputy Khambo Lama, Gantumuur.

“According to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, compassion is universal. It is not related to religious beliefs, therefore on a human level we all need compassion, love, kindness and care,” Telo Tulku Rinpoche said for the occasion. “Our hope is to continue this festival on an annual basis, dedicating 6 July as a Universal Day of Compassion, honoring the many achievements of His Holiness and his global impact. The concept of the Festival of Compassion is to cultivate human values, amplifying His Holiness’ universal message of peace and working towards a kinder, more compassionate world.” (Central Tibetan Administration)

Separately, the Dalai Lama also wrote a message of congratulations to Sir Keir Starmer on his recent election and appointment as the new prime minister of the United Kingdom, in which he recalled the warm welcome and support he had received during past visits to the UK, and urged Starmer to use the opportunity to contribute to global peace.

“Today, the world is facing very challenging times”, His Holiness wrote. “It is my belief that the United Kingdom has the opportunity to make a significant contribution to peace and stability in our ever more interdependent world. . . .

“Historically, Tibetans have enjoyed a long and unique relationship with Great Britain and, over the years, many British people have shown strong support for the Tibetan people’s aspirations for freedom and dignity, for which I remain grateful.” (His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet)

* Dalai Lama Arrives in New York for Knee Treatment (BDG)

See more

89th Birthday Message (His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet)
Dalai Lama recovery post knee surgery very good: Personal physician (Phayul)
Statement: Recognising the 89th Birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama Affirming Support for Tibet in Australia (Central Tibetan Administration)
Tibetan Communities Across Australia Celebrate His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s 89th Birthday (Central Tibetan Administration)
Education Kalon Tharlam Dolma Changra Attends His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Birthday Celebration in Tokyo (Central Tibetan Administration)
Tibetans in Darjeeling Celebrate His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s 89th Birth Anniversary (Central Tibetan Administration)
Exiled Tibetans fear a future without the Dalai Lama, now 89 (The Japan Times)

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Dalai Lama Inaugurates Four-Day International Sangha Forum in Bodh Gaya, India
Dalai Lama Undertakes First Visit to Sikkim in 13 Years, Embarks on Pilgrimage to Bodh Gaya
Dalai Lama Invited to Major Buddhist Conference in Mumbai after Urging Non-Violence in World Affairs
Dalai Lama Congratulates Mongolia’s New Khamba Lama, Pledges Financial Assistance for Nepal after Deadly Earthquake
Dalai Lama Library and Learning Center Inaugurated in Upstate New York

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