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    Dharamshala — Thousands of devotees congregated at the Tsuglagkhang in the northern Indian hill town of Dharamsala on Wednesday for a ceremony to offer a long-life prayers to the spiritual leader of Tibet, His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In turn, the Tibetan leader reassured Tibetans and devotees around the world that he would live at least for more than one hundred years.

    The Long-Life Offering was organized by the the Phenpo and Pemakoe Tibetan community and their members from different countries, led by religious heads and monks. It was also attended by Tibetan officials and staff along with thousands of local Tibetans and non-Tibetan devotees.

    "Today the members of the Phenpo and Pemakoe Tibetan community and those in Tibet have expressed unwavering faith and prayers for my long life. As I have told you before, there have been certain revelations that I will live for more than a hundred years," the Dalai Lama told the gathering of Tibetans and Tibet supporters.

    "Personally, I also pray and hope to live for the next twenty years or more to continue to serve the well being of all sentient beings," His Holiness told the thousands of Tibetans and devotees rejoicing on the special occasion.

    Thanking the people for preserving the spiritual bond, His Holiness said that the long-life prayer ceremony is rooted in a strong spiritual bond between the teacher and his disciples. He noted that the prayers would bring fruition.

    The Tibetan leader advised his followers that the best way to fulfill his wishes would be to become a true follower of the Buddha. He exhorted the Tibetans to bring primary focus on quality of religious education and its practice. "Our rich tradition of Buddhism encapsulates vast knowledge of the workings of the mind and emotions.

    The main purpose of the Buddhist teaching is to train and conquer one's mind. By doing that, one will be able to achieve peaceful mind and body and simultaneously spread peace in your environment," His Holiness said, reproving the common reliance on spiritual power for happiness and alleviation of suffering.

    Reiterating his message of peace and universal responsibility, the Nobel Peace Laureate made a clarion call to all his followers to usher a new era of mutual respect and brotherhood. "We are part of one great human family. We can no longer invoke the differences of nationalities, race or beliefs."

    "For a better, happier, more stable future, each one of us must develop a sincere and warm-hearted feeling of oneness with the seven billion people of the world. Individuals can truly make a difference in society and it is up to each of us to make the best use of our knowledge and ability to help create a happier world," he said.

    Addressing the Tibetans from Pemakoe, he mentioned that the place has a special relevance as the birth place of Dudjom Rinpoche, one of the most renowned Tibetan yogi and supreme leader of the Nyingma lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. His Holiness recounted the invaluable contribution of Rinpoche towards the Tibetan culture, religion and literature.

    Tibet was invaded by Communist China in 1949. Since that time, over 1.2 million out of 6 million Tibetans have been killed, over 6000 monasteries have been destroyed— acts of murder, rape and arbitrary imprisonment, torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment were inflicted on the Tibetans inside Tibet, Beijing calls a "peaceful liberation".

    In 1959, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama along with thousands of others escaped to India, where he was given political asylum. The spiritual leader has set up a government and rebuilt monasteries where masters pass on their teachings to young monks. Tibetans in exile have succeeded in gradually rebuilding their monasteries, preserving their culture and restructuring their society and keeping it alive, in spite of the extremely difficult circumstances.

    For his part, the Tibetan spiritual leader travels around the world spreading a message of Peace and Universal Responsibility. He believes that the common aim of all religions, an aim that everyone must try to find, is to foster tolerance, altruism and love. He retired from politics in 2011. But, as one among six million Tibetans, His Holiness said he will continue to serve the cause of Tibet.

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