(TibetanReview.net, Jun29, 2015) – On being prompted by Patti Smith, who has played benefits in support of the cause of Tibet for sixteen years, the 60,000 strong crowd at the Glastonbury Festival, one of Europe’s largest music festivals, sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, on Jun 28 evening as a gorgeous cake bedecked with fruit and a single candle was presented to him.
Patti Smith met the Dalai Lama backstage as he arrived at the Pyramid Stage and told the latter she had been a 12 year old girl in 1959 when Tibet was in upheaval and he escaped. She said one of her prime concerns was his safety and welfare. She then went back out on stage to perform.
When the Dalai Lama arrived shortly afterwards to watch and listen, Patti Smith, speaking between songs, announced the presence to the crowd and suggested it would be nice if they welcomed him and sang to celebrate his approaching 80th birthday. She read a poem in his honour and then led him onto the stage to cheering approval. And the crowd sang ‘Happy Birthday’.
Speaking to the crowd briefly, the Dalai Lama said, “We can think of every day as a new day, as a birthday. When we wake up we can remind ourselves, ‘I need to be happy, I need to have warm feelings towards others’. This will build self-confidence, honesty, transparency, which leads to trust, (the basis of friendship).”
There was a great roar of applause from the crowd and the Dalai Lama left the stage and the festival site.
Earlier in the day, the Dalai Lama was welcomed on arrival by Michael Eavis, the 80-year-old founder of the Festival and owner of Worthy Farm on which it took place. Robert Richards, principal organizer of the Festival, then led and drove him to the Festival Viewing point and thence to the King’s Meadow, where the BBC’s Alan Yentob introduced him to an audience of about 5000.
He expressed happiness at seeing that everyone at the festival seemed to be full of joy, that the purpose of life was to be happy and to have hope for the future. He said there were conflicts and killings, including especially in the name of religion, because “we neglect the sense that we are all the same as human beings”.
Asked if he had greater faith in basic human nature than in religion, the Dalai Lama replied that society was the basis of our happy future. “Out of concern for ourselves we are better to be concerned about others.”
He called for a more “holistic education” from kindergarten to university, which “should bring a sense of care” and help “promote human love”, reported the AFP Jun 28.
Following lunch at the Greenpeace Field, the Dalai Lama joined Guardian editor-in-chief Katharine Viner, Guardian columnist George Monbiot and director of 350.org May Boeve at the William’s Green for a panel discussion on who can fix climate change.