Dalai Lama celebrates 80th birthday
By Lobsang Wangyal
MCLEOD GANJ, India, 21 June 2015
Thousand of devotees, fans, and well-wishers gathered at the Tsuglakhang temple from early morning to celebrate the 80th birthday of the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.
The date of the 80th birthday of the Dalai Lama is 21 June this year according to the Tibetan lunar calendar. The Nobel laureate will be in the United States on 6 July, his birthdate according to the western calendar.
Beaming with health and joy, Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama arrived at the TsuglaKhang temple at 8am. Sikyong (the Prime Minister of the Central Tibetan Administration) Lobsang Sangay, led him for a long life prayer at the decked and decorated temple amidst prayers and songs.
All the major Tibetan spiritual leaders, family members of the Dalai Lama, and various foreign dignitaries attended the prayer ceremony.
Later, in a cultural programme, Minister of State for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, of the Government of India, Mahesh Sharma, joined the event as Chief Guest.
Kiren Rijiju, the Union Minister of State for Home Affairs of India, and the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, Nabam Tuki, also attended the ceremony.
Sikyong Lobsang Sangay wished the Dalai Lama a happy birthday on behalf of Tibetans inside and outside Tibet.
He thanked the Dalai Lama for his leadership and his life-long commitment to contribute to human happiness, promote religious harmony worldwide, and safeguard Tibet’s culture and environment.
“You have empowered us with democracy and hope,” Sangay says.
“For the people around the world you are the beacon of hope and light to all the people. For Tibetans you are the life and the soul of Tibet.”
The Dalai Lama in his speech said that he will continue with his works promoting human values and religious harmony.
Describing the great health that he is enjoying, and the confidence given by his doctors, he said he expects to live another twenty years, and said, “I hope you will join me again to celebrate my 90th bithday”.
Hosts of dignitaries gave speeches of felicitation to the Dalai Lama in the packed court yard.
Following Tibetan cultural shows, lunch was served to the entire gathering.
McLeod Ganj became the Dalai Lama’s home-in-exile in 1960, after he established the Central Tibetan Administration following the Chinese invaion of his country.