Celebrating His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s 88th Birthday
Luglio 7th, 2023 by admin

His Holiness the Dalai Lama: “I was born in Tibet and I bear this name Dalai Lama, but in addition to working for the cause of Tibet, I’ve been working for the welfare of all sentient beings. I’ve done whatever I could without losing hope or allowing my determination to flag. I’m angry with no one, not even those Chinese leaders who have adopted a harsh attitude towards Tibet.

July 6, 2023. Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, India – This morning, His Holiness the Dalai Lama stepped into the temple courtyard adjacent to his residence, a radiant smile on his face. He was presented with the traditional ‘Chema Changphu’ as artistes from the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA) sang their welcome to him on his birthday. He took his seat below the temple at the head of the courtyard with members of his family sitting directly behind him and members of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), past and present, behind him on either side.

The moderator disclosed that the Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister was expected to join the gathering as the Chief Guest. In the meantime, she announced that Sikyong Penpa Tsering would raise the Tibetan flag while TIPA musicians led a rendition of the Tibetan national anthem. The public joined in and His Holiness raised his hand in salutation. The Indian national anthem was sung immediately following this, and once again His Holiness raised his hand in salutation.

The moderator invited the Sikyong, Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament in exile and the Justice Commissioner to make a mandala offering to His Holiness. A decorated sponge cake was presented to him and His Holiness cut it. Slices were distributed among the guests while the congregation sang ‘Happy Birthday to you’.

In his speech to mark the occasion the Sikyong mentioned that His Holiness’s vision is of value to the whole of humanity. Seeking to highlight what His Holiness has achieved on a global level he touched on the large number of countries he has visited around the world, some of them many times, sharing his thoughts about cultivating universal responsibility and developing a good heart.

The Sikyong noted that in connection with Tibet His Holiness first presented the Five Point Peace Plan in the US Congress and elaborated on his vision for a Middle Way Approach at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

Penpa Tsering also remarked that His Holiness’s own curiosity and interest in science had been the starting point for a dialogue between Buddhist scholar-adepts and scientists that included 35 meetings of the Mind & Life Institute. In this context, he observed, His Holiness has emphasised that a compassionate motivation should be the cornerstone of any scientific research to ensure its results not become a cause of harm to sentient beings or the environment.

The Sikyong entreated Tibetans to consider it their sacred duty to work towards the realisation of His Holiness’s vision, to set aside divisive regionalism and sectarianism and reinforce unity among the Tibetan people. This, he said, would be a real offering and act of homage in honour of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s birthday.

Khenpo Sonam Tenphel, Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile recounted key events in His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s life from his birth in Kumbum Taktser amidst auspicious signs, to his completion of his formal education in Tibet in 1959 for which he was awarded a Geshé Lharampa degree. At the age of 16 he took on the leadership of the Tibetan people, but in 1959 was forced to leave his homeland. In exile, he strove to re-establish monastic centres of learning and set up schools for Tibetan children. Consequently, the Tibetan exile community is a body of educated people.

Having introduced a model of democracy to Tibetans in exile, with the first direct election of a Kalon Tripa in 2001, His Holiness semi-retired. Once this was repeated in 2011, he formally devolved his political and administrative power to the elected leaders.

The Speaker made the point that the Middle Way Approach instituted by His Holiness was intended to provide a solution to the Tibet issue that was mutually beneficial to Tibetans and Chinese. He remarked that let alone celebrating His Holiness’s birthday, people in Tibet at present are not even allowed to possess a photograph of him—and yet their spirit remains unbroken. He reported that His Holiness often mentions that Tibetans inside Tibet are always in his thoughts and prayers.

Children from the TCV Day School in McLeod Ganj sang and danced next. For ones so young, their costumes, gestures and movements were delightfully typical of Tibetan tradition. The performance of a dance known as the Light That Pervades the World by adult members of the TOEPA Association followed.

At this point the moderator invited His Holiness to address the gathering.

Today,” he responded, “I’d like to tell all my friends that my daily prayer is as follows:

As long as space endures,
And as long as sentient beings remain,
Until then, may I too remain
To help dispel the misery of the world.

As long as there are living sentient beings who want happiness, I will come in life after life to help them.

Due to karma and prayers I have made in the past, I was born in Amdo and since then I’ve done the best I could to help all sentient beings.

Today, you are celebrating my 88th birthday, but when I look in the mirror, I feel I look as if I’m still in my 50s. My face doesn’t look old, it isn’t wrinkled with age. What’s more I still have all my teeth so there’s nothing I can’t eat or chew.

I was born in Tibet and I bear this name Dalai Lama, but in addition to working for the cause of Tibet, I’ve been working for the welfare of all sentient beings. I’ve done whatever I could without losing hope or allowing my determination to flag. I’m angry with no one, not even those Chinese leaders who have adopted a harsh attitude towards Tibet. Indeed, China has historically been a Buddhist country as witnessed by the many temples and monasteries I saw when I visited that land.

I believe there is knowledge within Tibetan culture and religion that can benefit the world at large. However, I also respect all other religious traditions because they encourage their followers to cultivate love and compassion.

According to indications in my own dreams and other predictions, I expect to live to be more than 100 years old. I’ve served others until now and I’m determined to continue to do so. Please pray for my long life on that basis.

At our last meeting Mao Zedong praised my scientific outlook but criticized religion as poison. I think the point of religion isn’t just to say prayers but to engage in helping and serving others. I believe there’s a resonance of this even in the communist way of thinking and I sometimes wonder if I met Mao today whether I couldn’t talk him round. Religion is about living a good life in the service of others.

As I already mentioned, there are indications that I will live for another 15 or 20 years and in that time, there is hope for change in the world—for the elimination of weapons and the use of military force. May people learn to live in peace and friendship.

The scriptures suggest that eventually the world may be consumed by fire, but until that happens, we must learn to live in a more peaceful, friendly way. If we practise well now while we can, in due course we will take our message to other world systems.

I’m not very concerned with the name Dalai Lama, what interests me much more is being of service to others. Of course, I need food and drink to survive, but not much else. My prime concern is to serve other beings—thank you.”

Children from the Mewoen Tsuglag Petoen model school sang and danced next. One of their number announced that they all prayed for His Holiness to live long and dedicated their performance to that end. These children were followed by a gentle group of women, friends and supporters of Tibet from Japan, who sang softly for His Holiness.

The TIPA marching band announced the arrival of the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu. Accompanied by his wife and two daughters, as well as members of his administration, he warmly greeted His Holiness, presenting him with a traditional Himachali cap and shawl.

Invited to address the gathering he declared that first of all he wanted to wish His Holiness a very happy birthday. “Your Holiness,” he continued, “you are known for your consistent message of love and friendship. You bring us all great joy. It has been a blessing to have you among us for so many years working for justice for Tibetans and peace in the world.

On the occasion of his birthday I appeal to everyone to work to fulfill His Holiness’s vision of a more complete education. We should all follow his example and seek to lead a meaningful life. I especially advise children to pay heed to what he has to say.

Your Holiness, for more than 60 years, you have been welcome here in Himachal Pradesh.”

The Chief Minister offered his hand and His Holiness took it. They walked together through the courtyard until they boarded a golfcart to ride up to the audience hall where His Holiness, the Chief Minister and his family had a brief, cordial meeting.

Joyful celebrations of His Holiness’s birthday continued through the day in the temple courtyard and into the evening at TIPA.

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