(TibetanReview.net, Jul07, 2018) – Tibetans and other devotees as well as supporters across the free world marked the 83rd birthday on Jul 6 of Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, with solemn prayer gatherings and joyous festivities. The Dalai Lama himself marked the occasion at Leh, capital of the Ladakh region of Jammu & Kashmir state, by cutting a cake before a huge crowd which included top local religious as well as political and civil society leaders.
He was presented a 113-spoked Golden wheel of Dharma as devotees numbering tens of thousands prayed for a long and healthy life for him on the Shiwatsel teaching ground. Those present included the Gaden Trisur Rizong Rinpoche, the Thigtse Rinpoche, Drikung Chetsang Rinpoche, elected Indian parliament and state legislature members from the area, the President of Ladakh Buddhist Association, Members of Ladakh Hill Development Council, and Indian officials.
The Dalai Lama suggested that each person at the gathering do something to contribute towards creating a happier, peaceful world and cultivate peace of mind within oneself. He said: “Change in the world starts with an individual. First of all, build peace of mind within yourself and then spread the message to ten friends and those 10 spreads to 10 each, then that would spread to 100, thousands, ten thousand and millions.”
He also said: “What unites all sentient beings is that we all naturally seek happiness and try to avoid suffering on the physical, mental and emotional level. Therefore, we have a collective responsibility to try to bring about the well-being and happiness of all living beings and help them overcome their suffering.”
He said his life was being guided by four principal commitments: “to contribute to bringing about a more compassionate world; to encourage inter-religious harmony, to work to preserve Tibet’s Buddhist culture, which is a culture of peace and non-violence, while also drawing attention to the need to protect the natural environment of Tibet; and fourth commitment towards revival of Nalanda tradition in modern India”.
He stressed the importance for the youth to study psychology, philosophical ideas, logic and epistemology, which he said were part of Tibetan culture having their root in the ancient Nalanda university tradition from India.
The gathering was also addressed by President Lobsang Sangay of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA).
The official CTA function to mark the Dalai Lama’s 83rd birthday was held on the Tsuglakhang courtyard in Dharamshala, presided over by the recently appointed Education minister Dr Pema Yangchen. All the other CTA ministers were on tours of a number of separate sets of countries where they took part in Dalai Lama birthday events, with plans for other engagements as well.
The chief guest at the Tsuglakhang event was Mr Kishan Kapoor, the Himachal Pradesh state Minister of Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs. Mr Gopal Narayan Singh, Rajya Sabha MP, and Mr Janardhan Singh Sigriwal, Lok Sabha MP, were two special guests.