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6 july 2012 004Dharamshala: His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet celebrated a colourful 77th birthday on July 6th in Dharamshala, India, to an audience of thousands. In a spectacular show of blessing, support and exaltation, the revered leader drew a rapt audience at the main temple as He celebrated His first birthday at His exile home of Dharamsala since handing full political power to an elected head of government.

The event was attended by a wealth of esteemed guests, including His Holiness the Karmapa, Kalon Tripa Lobsang Sangay, Himachal Pradesh Industries Minister Kishan Kapoor, as well as honourable members of the Tibetan Government in exile.

Before the main ceremonies began at the Tsuglagkhang temple, an incense burning ceremony and hoisting of prayer flags commenced the auspicious event at Lhagyalri, near the main temple in Dharamshala.

Following the arrival of His Holiness at the main temple at 9.00am, the Tibetan national flag was hoisted by Kalon Tripa Lobsang Sangay, amid singing of both the Tibetan and Indian national anthems.

An auspicious long life offering was given by members of the Central Tibetan Administration in the form of Mendrel Tensum; which offers the body, the speech and the mind to the Buddha. This was followed by a spectacular performance by members of the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts. Dressed in traditional chupas, the young performers stunned the audience with traditional Lhasa attire, dancing and songs.

Below an enormous series of banners, flags and decorations in the main temple, His Holiness addressed the audience warm heartedly and jokingly. Pointing towards one of the images of Himself as a young boy, the Dalai Lama highlighted how He was once a naughty child, referring to His lack of interest in study at times. He emphasised to the audience that no matter how naughty a child can be; they can still attain a great many achievements as they grow with age.

His Holiness expressed His gratitude to the audience, as well as to the kindness and hospitality India has provided since His flight to exile in 1959. He re-iterated the fact that India has historically been a teacher to Tibet through the past, particularly regarding tolerance and though Buddhist practice, and Tibetans have much to be grateful for to their neighbour.

Events celebrating His Holiness' birthday by the Tibetan diaspora are expected to brighten the lives of those living both in exile and within Tibet, amid a year of growing unrest for the Tibetan community.

The next public engagement His Holiness will give are teachings in Padum, Zanskar (Ladakh) India on the last week of July (date to be confirmed) which focus on Gyalsey Thokmay Sangpo's 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva.

Addressing the audience of thousands at the main temple in Dharamsala on His 77th birthday, His Holiness the Dalai Lama gives thanks and draws upon His past during the closing talk on the auspicious event:

"I would like to thank all of you who have attended my birthday, and have wished me well on this day. Everyone regards birthdays as very important events, but as Tibetans, we usually don't regard birthdays as highly as others, traditionally".

His Holiness joked: "I myself have in the past not had much care about my birthday".

"If we regard the birthday as important, then every day, when we get up the morning, this can also seem like a birthday itself. This is also important, because each of us every day, if you can, should try to help other people, if you cannot, then at least don't hurt others".

"As for me, every day I promise myself to treat others in this way. If I can get up each day and help, and not hurt others, this is good. I also say this to other people, not just as a promise to myself".

"My life is spent like this, and now, today, I am 77 years old".

His Holiness points to the image of himself hanging in the temple when he was younger, aged 4 years old. He states informally:

"I was very naughty as a boy, from Kubom [birthplace], Xinning. Now, at this time, I have become like this: the Dalai Lama. Why have I arrived at this place? This is not without reason".

"If we talk about reason, or cause and effect, there are two kinds. One kind: cause, we can see the consequences immediately. The other: effect, we cannot yet see".

"My mother used to tell me that, before I had been recognised as the Dalai Lama, before the reincarnation search group arrived from Lhasa, I had told my family that guests will be coming to our house".

"Early in the morning, I got up early and told my mother and family, someone would come to the room. Before the reincarnation search group arrived, my family were unaware this would happen".

"These things, they have a relation, a special right, they are special events".

"However, when I was young, I was sometimes very lazy; too lazy to study, and usually liked to play. I had no interest to study when I was a young boy".

"If I see these things, like this, maybe there is nothing special about me".

"My life is spent like this, and myself, I am one of 6 or 7 billion people in this world".

"Actually, everyone has the ability of compassion, and to help other people, in their minds, because everyone grows up under their parents love, from compassion when they were born".

"A person who has received more love from other people, those people, in the mind, have more love and compassion towards others. As we are all human beings, we should have compassion towards other people. If someone has more compassion, they will definitely become happier. Even scientists have said and tested this, that those with more compassion in their mind; it is more good for their health".

"Sometimes, in life, we get problems. In the mind though, because of Buddhism, and practice, there is no change".

"Through history, in the past, during the tribal times, if one had no study or experience of Buddhism, or study of compassion, people can easily become violent and get angry. Because of Buddhism, in the mind, there is no change from happiness".

"Religious people, sometimes, in this world, have killed each other, and fought. Sometimes this has happened, despite saying good things. This is a very poor thing to happen".

"If people fight each other because of economics, or because of political power, they cannot explain the reason. But a person who talks about love and compassion, sometimes they kill and fight; this is a very surprising thing. The main kind of happiness should come from inside, from within the mind, not from economics, not from political power, the main happiness is from within".

"Now, my political power is already handed over, now I am totally retired from this role politically. Those who have continued the hard work with the Tibetan government, I would like to thank you. So, for those who are carrying on, I hope you continue as before".

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