Lhasa (AsiaNews) – Tibetans around the world are celebrating the 80th birthday of the Dalai Lama. In the West, his birthday is celebrated on 6 July. Following the Tibetan lunar calendar, celebrations for Tibetan Buddhism’s main spiritual leader took place in late June.
Top officials from the Tibetan government in exile in India and the Arunachal Pradesh State Government (in northeast India) took part in the ceremony, including Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki, State Tourism Minister Shri Pema Khandu, Tibetan Prime Minister Lobsang Sangay, Tibetan Parliamentary Speaker Penpa Tsering, and several other ministers and members of parliament.
The government and people of Arunachal Pradesh gave the Dalai Lama a statue of Buddha Shakyamuni for his contribution to the humanity.
Tibetan Prime Minister Sangay thanked the Dalai Lama on behalf of the Tibetan people, inside the country and in exile, for his leadership and commitment to the cause of Tibet worldwide.
Tenzin Gyatso, Tibet’s 14th Dalai Lama, accepted the Mandala offering and citation from His Eminence Sakya Ghongma Rinpoche in the presence of the heads and representatives of the four traditions of the Tibetan Buddhism and Bon.
The Dalai Lama thanked the participants for his birthday party. However, he told the gathering that the best birthday gift for him would be for people to follow the teachings of the Lord Buddha and maintain the rich tradition of Nalanda.
Tibet’s spiritual leader noted that the "Tibetan language is the only language which can explain in entirety the great scriptures of the Nalanda tradition”.
Although it “might not be beneficial for [one’s] livelihood,” it is certainly “the only medium that can explain the great Nalanda tradition. And this tradition can benefit the entire humanity.” For him, “It is not a matter of religious belief,” but “is the study of the mind".
In addition, “The more you care for the happiness of others, the greater your own sense of wellbeing becomes and without [a] doubt, cultivating this sense will help everyone”.
India, His Holiness added, must realise that the message he carries around the world is actually Indian. "I call myself son of India wherever I go because I lived on this land for more than 56 years now, and my body dwelled on the rice and dal grown on this land”.