Dharamshala — The spiritual leader of Tibet, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, celebrated his 82nd birthday in Leh, Ladakh last week on July 6th, while celebrations around the world also marked the leader's commitments to compassion and peace.
In Ladakh, more than ten thousand Tibetans, local Ladhaki people and foreigners joined the 82nd birthday celebration at Shiwatsel Phodrang, the official seat of His Holiness in Leh, Ladakh. His Holiness expressed his gratitude to all his well wishers and long life prayer service offered to him on his 82nd birthday, saying “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.”
Joking with the audience, His Holiness remarked, “I feel young seeing the young school children. At the same time, when I see the elderly lots, I feel who it might be to go first.”
Meanwhile, on other ends of the world, celebrations also commenced for the Nobel Laureate's birthday.
In Belgium, the Tibetan community hosted a day-long celebration in Antwerp, which included a program featuring remarks from Representative Tashi Phuntsok and several speakers from Tibetan NGOs and ended with a cultural performance. Hundreds gathered for the event from all over Belgium.
Tibet House Brazil organized a small reception with over 50 guests celebrating both His Holiness's birthday and a year since their formal opening last year, and included talks from Tibetan Representative Tsewang Phuntso, and Chair of the Tibet House Board, Dr Elisa Kozasa.
The republic of Kalmykia, a Buddhist republic under Russian rule, also joined in the celebrations, hosting a day-long event. After a religious ceremony and cake-cutting, there was a concert where Kalmyk masters of the arts performed for the public. The concert brought together representatives of Buddhist, Orthodox and Muslim religions, several ethnic diasporas such as Tibetan, Chechen, Kazakh, Dagestani, Armenian and Azerbaijani, in an effort to hold a true celebration of friendship, understanding and harmony for the sake of long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
In London, supporters hosted a long life ceremony and reception with more than 100 guests, including former Representatives of Office of Tibet, heads of Tibetan Buddhist centers, diplomats, Tibet House Trust sponsors, representatives from various Tibet support groups based in UK and a number of other friends and supporters of the Tibetan cause.
Celebrations were also underway in Canberra, Australia, where more than 500 guests gathered to celebrate His Holiness the Dalai Lama's birthday. A good friend of His Holiness, Reverend Bill Crews, spoke at the event, saying “I am absolutely certain that long, long after the Chinese empire of today has crumbled into dust, the religion of the Dalai Lama will be as strong as ever. Happy Birthday, your Holiness.”
Thousands also celebrated across Asia, including in Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, and of course, the exiled leader's home in India.