Dharamshala: - A long life prayer service was offered to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama by the Belgium Tibetan Association, Chikdrel Association, Dhasa Tsongpa Community, Lhasa Association and Lhoka Association at the Main Tibetan Temple, Dharamshala, India, March 4.
This ceremony began at 6am with a ritual performance led by and Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche, the current head of the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism. The ritual is dedicated to His Holiness for his long life. His Holiness graced the ceremony at around 8.30am, after which the long life prayer offerings began.
Addressing the ceremony, His Holiness expressed his appreciation and thanks to the members of the five Tibetan organisations who were there to greet him and offer prayers for his long life.
"The long life prayer ceremony is rooted in a strong spiritual bond between the teacher and his disciples. The best way for the disciples to fulfil the wishes of the teacher is to engage in virtuous activities. However, one should examine whether what the teacher is preaching is reasonable or not, and practise accordingly," His Holiness said.
"As we are known in the world for our warm-heartedness and morality, Tibetans must uphold these values. These values not only help you in leading a meaningful life, but also encourage the flourishing of the Buddha's teachings," he added.
His Holiness recounted how - on reaching the age of 13 - he was offered long life prayers by different monasteries in Tibet to ward off obstacles. He also said how long life prayers could not be arranged when he reached 25 as he had to flee the Chinese invasion of Tibet.
"Now you have offered the long life prayers on the occasion of my 80th birthday. Apart from a minor knee problem, I am in very good health and should be able to live for over 100 years," he further said.
"Most importantly, every Tibetan should take the responsibility and work for the cause of Tibet with dedication and sincerity in this life time," the Nobel Peace Prize laureate said, adding that "there should not be a feeling of regret when one passes away."
Members of the Tibetan community, including Chief Justice Commissioner Kagyu Dhondup, Tibetan political leader Dr Lobsang Sangay, Tibetan Parliament Speaker Mr Penpa Tsering, Tibetan ministers, Justice Commissioners, members of the Tibetan Parliament, and representatives of the non-governmental organisations, schools and institutions attended the ceremony.
As His Holiness turns 80 this year, Tibetan communities both inside and outside Tibet have been holding occasional prayer gatherings and religious ceremonies for His Holiness's long life and well-being.