(TibetanReview.net, Jul07, 2017) – With a combined offering of a long-life prayer ceremony, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, on Jul 6 celebrated his 82nd birthday at Shiwatsel Phodrang, his residence in Leh, capital of the Ladakh region of Jammu & Kashmir state of India. And addressing a gathering of more than 10,000 people, he acknowledged the showering upon him of lofty praises by the speakers on the occasion but made it clear they would have meaning only if everyone heeded his advices by doing good deeds.
“I am grateful to everyone who wished me and the dignitaries who spoke highly of me on my birthday celebration here and to some extent, it is flattering. However, the love and affection you hold for me should translate into actions of good deeds,” he was quoted as saying.
The long-life prayer offering was led by the former Gaden Tripa Rizong Rinpoche with the attendance of the President of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), the Speaker of Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile (TPiE), local dignitaries. Those who attended the ceremony included and the celebrations included Tibetans and Ladhakis and well as wishers from around the world.
CTA President Lobsang Sangay and TPiE Speaker Khenpo Sonam Tenphel, who delivered their official statements for the occasion. Mr Thinles Tsewang, President of Ladakh Buddhist Association, gave the welcome remark. Dr Sonam Dawa Lhunpo, Chief Executive Councilor of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, also spoke. He urged the Dalai Lama to celebrate his 83rd birthday as well in Ladakh.
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At the Tsuglakhang in Dharamshala, Chief guest Mr Kishan Kapoor, a former state government minister, and guest of honour Mr Ninong Ering, Member of Parliament, showered lofty praises on the Dalai Lama at the exile Tibetan administration’s official celebrations. Thousands of Tibetans as well as Indians and overseas visitors thronged the Tsuglagkhang courtyard to mark the occasion.
Mr Kishan Kapoor, who belongs to the local Indian community and spoke on their behalf, urged everyone to keep the Dalai Lama’s messages of love and compassion in heart for a happier and contented life. “Just as Shri Ram and Shri Krishna are manifestations of Lord Vishnu, His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the true manifestation of Lord Buddha,” he said.
He particularly expressed gratitude to His Holiness for making Dharamshala one of the most well known destinations for peace and tranquillity in the world. “Today, the whole world wants to come here. And for this, I deeply thank His Holiness the Dalai Lama,” he said.
He also spoke on the situation in Tibet and said the world should hold China accountable for its violation of human rights and destruction of Tibetan culture.
Mr Ering, who represents the state of Arunachal Pradesh in the Indian Parliament and is a member of the All Party Indian Parliamentary Forum for Tibet, promised to raise the issue of Tibet in the Indian parliament and urged Tibetans to carry on with their robust democratic administration in exile.
The function was officiated by the Finance Kalon (Minister) Mr Karma Yeshi who delivered the Kashag’s statement for the occasion. The statement said one of the most effective ways for Beijing to gain global respect was to protect the basic human rights and freedoms in China and Tibet and, in particular, to start a dialogue with Tibetan representatives. Reiterating the administration’s commitment to the middle way approach, the statement said, “We urge the Chinese government to clearly recognize His Holiness the Dalai Lama as the solution, the key to resolving the Tibet issue and make use of the lifetime of His Holiness as an opportunity to immediately resume dialogue with the envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.”
Deputy Speaker Acharya Yeshi Phunstok delivered the statement of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile. The statement bemoaned the continuously deteriorating situation in Tibet and condemned China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative under which the trade routes in the Southeast Asian countries will be routed through Tibet with building of new railroads and so on, which it said will surely lead to catastrophic damage to the natural environment there.
Both the statements praised the international community’s support for Tibet and their positive effect on the morale of Tibetans both in Tibet and in exile.
Several books were releases at the function which also witnessed cultural performances. One of the books was ‘Tibet’s Past, Present, and Future – What is the way Forward?’ which recorded the proceedings of a Symposium held at the Constitution Club of India, New Delhi, on Dec 17 last year.
Tibet supporters in many parts of the world also marked the 82nd anniversary of the Dalai Lama’s birth as World Tibet Day.
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In India’s capital New Delhi, a reception was held by the Bureau of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, at which India’s former National Security Advisor and Ambassador Shivshankar Menon praised the Tibetan leader as a “truly remarkable statesman” of the highest level.
“I am what I am today because of the blessings I received from His Holiness when I was five, in Lhasa”, the Ambassador said, recalling his first association with the Dalai Lama when his father served as the Consular General of India in Tibet’s capital Lhasa.
The invited guests included some 200 personalities from the fields of religion, politics and diplomacy from India and abroad.