His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama will wind down his foreign travel for the rest of this year, a spokesperson for the Central Tibetan Administration announced on Thursday, citing age and exhaustion as the reasons for the decision.
“His Holiness is invited to different countries but he has cut down public engagements because of age,” said Central Tibetan Administration spokesperson Sonam Dagpo. “He is exhausted after teaching for a long period of time. Therefore a few commitments have been cancelled.”
Dagpo added, “The Dalai Lama’s health is fine,” noting that the 82-year-old Tibetan spiritual leader has made several trips within India, where he has been living in exile in Dharamsala since 1959.
“Usually these engagements—inauguration, ribbon-cutting-type ceremonies—last only for a few hours, but some engagements are for teaching and they last for seven days, which he’s doing less and less of,” Dagpo clarified.
Earlier this year, news website Phayul.com, reported that His Holiness had canceled almost all of his major overseas public engagements, citing a letter exchange between Dalai Lama’s secretary, Tenzin Taklha, and the mayor of the city of Raleigh in the US state of North Carolina.*
Reflecting this announcement, the published schedule of engagements on the official website of the Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, is currently blank. Recent events such as His Holiness’ participation in the 33rd Mind & Life Conference from 12–16 March, and hiss inaugural address at the 92nd Annual Meet of the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) on 19 March, however, are also not recorded in the schedule archive.
At the end of this month, the octogenarian spiritual leader will celebrate the 60th anniversary of his arrival in India. In 1959, the Dalai Lama left Tibet for India with a party of followers. In India, he set up the Tibetan government-in-exile (officially known as the Central Tibetan Administration) in the Himalayan foothills of Dharamsala, where he has since maintained his official residence.
For decades, the Dalai Lama has traveled the world to bring Buddhist teachings to audiences on all continents. Even last year, the Dalai Lama visited eight foreign cities to speak at or attend public events, following 16 in 2016, and 11 in 2015.
* Dalai Lama Cancels Majority of International Public Appearances in 2018 (Buddhistdoor Global)