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Tributes from Around the World as the Dalai Lama Turns 88

The Dalai Lama slices his birthday cake. Photo by Tenzin Choejer. From

Amid ceremonies and celebrations to mark the auspicious occasion of his 88th birthday on Thursday in Dharamsala, northern India, His Holiness the Dalai Lama gave voice to his oft-repeated call for a more peaceful and harmonious global society, urging people to make compassion the foundation of their daily lives, based on wisdom and awareness of the interconnectedness of all beings, and offering his own commitment to serve sentient beings as a bodhisattva.

In a video message shared for the occasion, His Holiness stated: 

Many people in different parts of the world have heard my name and appreciate what I have to say. What’s more, I have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. For my part, I pray to be able to bring peace to the world by spreading an understanding of the oneness of humanity. By showing their approval for what I’m trying to do, my friends have given me their unaffected support, for which I would like to thank them. 

Although I am just one human being, in the short term, I aspire to contribute to world peace in thought, word, and deed, while in the long term, I pray that everyone may reach buddhahood, the trumpet state of omniscience, by ascending the paths and grounds [of bodhisattvas]. I rejoice that all our different religious traditions make prayers for the benefit of all. In the Buddhist tradition we say that we all have buddha-nature, the potential for enlightenment, within. If we take care to nurture this buddha-nature, just as we would look after another human being, we will ultimately reach the enlightenment.

His Holiness arrives in the temple courtyard to attend his 88th birthday celebrations. Photo by Tenzin Choejer. From

On the occasion of my birthday, if you, my friends, can guard your minds and lead good-natured lives, you will be joyful at heart and as a result will be able, directly or indirectly, to help everyone around you. Since bodhicitta—the altruistic thought of enlightenment—is said to be the essence of the spiritual path, it is very important for us to be warmhearted in the way we live. As for me, these verses from Engaging in the Bodhisattva Deeds are my daily prayer: like the earth and other great elements, and like space itself, may I remain forever to support the lives of boundless beings by providing them with a source of varied sustenance. The four great elements—earth, water, fire, and wind—are the basis of external world, while the sphere of space supports all material things. From my side, I dedicate this very life that I have now to helping limitless sentient beings to the best of my ability. And until the end of space, I am determined to bring others as much benefit as I can.

My dear spiritual friends, I urge you to adopt a courageous resolve such as I, your friend Lhomo Dhondup from Amdo has done. My spiritual friends, please give support to my thoughts: ‘What you have done so far was right—it was the right thing to do’ Thank you, all of you.”


Well-wishes poured in from around the world on the auspicious day. 

American doctor and Buddhist monk Barry Kerzin, who serves as a personal physician to the Dalai Lama, shared the following message on social media:

Yesterday HH Dalai Lama turned 88. For 88 glorious years he has blessed the whole world and for most of that time, has taught the authentic way to attain omniscience, full enlightenment. In detail he has taught us how to cultivate Bodhicitta, both the 7-branch method, and exchanging cherishing self for cherishing others. Augmenting Bodhicitta, he taught us a unique way to overcome suffering through understanding and experiencing śūnyatā, or emptiness. Realizing emptiness overturns the basis of all our suffering, clinging to an independent intrinsic reality. This is identifying with the self that appears to us as the real “me,” the trouble maker robbing us of our inner peace. Happy Birthday to the most kind, selfless, and wise person alive. Emaho!

Well-wishers flocked to the temple to convey their repects. Photo by Tenzin Choejer. From

In an official greeting from the United States, Secretary Of State Antony Blinken wrote:

I extend my warmest wishes to His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the occasion of his 88th birthday, an auspicious day for the Tibetan community.  His Holiness’s kindness and humility serve as an inspiration to many around the world, and I have deep admiration for his ongoing commitment to peace and nonviolence.  Today, may we reflect on his messages of compassion and tolerance as we reaffirm our commitment to upholding the human rights of all people, including those of the Tibetan community.

The United States is unwavering in our commitment to support the linguistic, cultural, and religious identity of Tibetans, including the ability to freely choose and venerate their religious leaders without interference.

(US Department of State)

The Dalai Lama attended birthday celebrations organized by the Central Tibetan Administration in the courtyard of the Thekchen Choling temple complex in Dharamsala on Thursday. 

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, who attended the event, praised the Dalai Lama’s efforts to educate young people about ancient Indian culture and values, and urged everyone to live by his teachings, describing His Holiness as an icon of non-violence and compassion.

Amid the colorful celebrations, speeches, and cultural performances, His Holiness addressed the assembled well-wishers.

“Today, I’d like to tell all my friends that my daily prayer is as follows:

As long as space endures,
And as long as sentient beings remain,
Until then, may I too remain
To help dispel the misery of the world.

“As long as there are living sentient beings who want happiness, I will come in life after life to help them,” His Holiness pledged.

“Today, you are celebrating my 88th birthday, but when I look in the mirror, I feel I look as if I’m still in my 50s. My face doesn’t look old, it isn’t wrinkled with age. What’s more I still have all my teeth so there’s nothing I can’t eat or chew.

“I was born in Tibet and I bear this name Dalai Lama, but in addition to working for the cause of Tibet, I’ve been working for the welfare of all sentient beings. I’ve done whatever I could without losing hope or allowing my determination to flag. I’m angry with no one, not even those Chinese leaders who have adopted a harsh attitude toward Tibet. Indeed, China has historically been a Buddhist country, as witnessed by the many temples and monasteries I saw when I visited that land.

“I believe there is knowledge within Tibetan culture and religion that can benefit the world at large. However, I also respect all other religious traditions because they encourage their followers to cultivate love and compassion.

“According to indications in my own dreams and other predictions, I expect to live to be more than 100 years old. I’ve served others until now and I’m determined to continue to do so. Please pray for my long life on that basis.” (Central Tibetan Administration)

His Holiness addresses the gathering. Photo by Tenzin Choejer. From

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.

See more

Celebrating His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s 88th Birthday (His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet)
His Holiness’s 88th Birthday Celebrations (His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet)
Tibetans in Dharamsala Celebrate 88th Birthday of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama (Central Tibetan Administration)
His Holiness Dalai Lama Attends Official Celebration of His 88th Birthday with Honourable Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu (Central Tibetan Administration)
On the Occasion of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s 88th Birthday (US Department of State)

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