(TibetanReview.net, Jul06’20) – Calling a large gathering neither possible at this forbidding Covid-19 moment nor even necessary, the Dalai Lama has on Jul 6 asked his devotees to simply recite the universal six-syllable Tibetan Buddhist mantra at least a thousand times by way of wishing him well on his 85th birthday. The mantra invokes Avalokiteshvara (Chenrezig in Tibetan), the patron-deity of Tibet, of which the Dalai Lama is considered the human manifestation.
“Today is July 6th, my birthday. It’s not possible for large numbers of people to hold a big celebration because of restrictions due to the pandemic. And it’s not necessary either. However, if you want to celebrate my birthday, I would like to ask you to recite the Mani mantra (Om Mani Padme Hung) at least a thousand times.” He said in a message posted on his Dalailama.com website.
Stressing the Tibetan people’s unique connection with Avalokiteshvara, the Dalai Lama has said, “After we came into exile in India and after I settled here in Dharamshala, the statue of Chenrezig Wati Sangpo was brought to me here from western Tibet. When the monks of Dzongkar Chode Monastery were moving from Dharamshala to southern India, I did dough-ball divination to see whether the statue should go with them or remain here with me. The result indicated that Wati Sangpo preferred to stay here with me — so I serve as his caretaker.”
He further stressed his own unique connection with the deity and said, “There is something special about this Wati Sangpo such that I sometimes I feel he smiles at me. Since the altruistic awakening mind of bodhichitta is my principle practice, Wait Sangpo is like my refuge, protector and guardian.”
Calling Avalokiteshvara his boss and himself the deity’s messenger, the Dalai Lama has said, “So if you wish to celebrate my birthday, if you want to get together to celebrate, which may not be so bad, you needn’t be so extravagant about it.”
And then stressing his connection with Avalokiteshvara over successive lifetimes, the Dalai Lama has said, “On my birthday, either visualize me, Gyalwa Rinpoche, as inseparable from Avalokiteshvara, or visualize Avalokiteshvara as the principal deity and me as a monk sitting in front of him. If you then recite his mantra (Om Mani Padme Hung) a thousand times, it will be beneficial.
“With that practice, you will create some roots of virtue that you can dedicate for me — Avalakiteshvara’s messenger — to live for 110 or 108 years or so.”
To those wishing to greet with a birthday present, the Dalai Lama has said the best would be to be kind hearted toward everyone.
Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports, Kiren Rijiju, was the first member of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet to wish the Dalai Lama on his 85th birthday.
Chief Minister Pema Khandu of Arunachal Pradesh also made as Twitter posting of his greeting. So also RK Mathur, the Lieutenant Governor of Ladakh.