PM Modi, Secretary Blinken and Richard Gere lead the wishes as Dalai Lama turns 87

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Hollywood actor Richard Gere during the inauguration of a museum by the Dalai Lama, in Dharmsala on Wednesday. (ANI Photo)

The Dalai Lama, throughout his life in exile, has achieved prominence among the world’s political, religious, and social leaders as a universal icon of peace, harmony and non-violence

Our Bureau
Dharamshala/New Delhi   

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday conveyed wishes to Dalai Lama on his 87th birthday and prayed for the long life and good health of the spiritual leader. “Conveyed 87th birthday greetings to His Holiness the Dalai Lama over phone earlier today. We pray for his long life and good health,” PM Modi said in a Tweet. Meanwhile, Tibetans across the world are celebrating the 87th birthday of the 14th Dalai Lama today.

The Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) of the Tibetan government-in-exile organized the Dalai Lama’s 87th birthday in Dharamshala. Hundreds of Tibetans including monks, nuns, school students, and foreigner supporters gather at the main Buddhist temple, Tsuglagkhang.

Jairam Thakur, the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh also attended the event virtually. “Hearty birthday greetings to respected Dalai Lama, the great saint and spiritual leader who gave the message of truth, love, humanity and virtue. May your blessings be with all of us always. I wish you stay healthy and long,” Jairam Thakur tweeted.

The birthday celebrations saw the presence of Hollywood star Richard Gere. In a video, Gere, who is an active follower and supporter of the Dalai Lama, is seen participating in the celebrations.

In Washington DC, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken wished Dalai Lama on the occasion of his 87th birthday and extended support to the Tibetan community’s efforts to preserve Tibet’s distinct cultural traditions, including the ability to freely choose their religious leaders.

“I extend best wishes to His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the occasion of his 87th birthday today. His Holiness brings light to his fellow Tibetans and so many around the world by promoting peace, encouraging inter-faith harmony, and advocating for the preservation of Tibetan language and culture,” Blinken said in a statement. “The United States will continue to support His Holiness’s and the Tibetan community’s efforts to preserve Tibet’s distinct linguistic, religious, and cultural traditions, including the ability to freely choose their religious leaders,” he added.

Tibetans across the world on July 6 celebrated the 87th birthday of the 14th Dalai Lama. The Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) of the Tibetan government-in-exile organized the Dalai Lama’s 87th birthday in Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh.

Exiled Tibetan celebrate the 87th birthday of their spiritual leader Dalai Lama, at a Government School Majnu Ka Tila in New Delhi on Wednesday.(ANI Photo)

Hundreds of Tibetans including monks, nuns, school students, and foreigner supporters gather at the main Buddhist temple, Tsuglagkhang.

Since 2007, Chinese authorities have imposed regulations limiting the recognition of reincarnate lamas, which include most of the religious leaders in Tibetan Buddhism. These provisions specify that reincarnations may not be recognized without state approval and must be born within China’s borders.

According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), high-ranking incarnations must be selected using the “Golden Urn,” an 18th-century Chinese lottery system that had scarcely been used by Tibetans until 2007, when the party mandated it as the only legal way to select top-ranking lamas.

These regulations – imposed by a political party that denounces religion as delusion and implemented by a government that, in Tibet, bans its employees from religious practice – are widely understood as preparation for what officials call the “post-Dalai era.” They are the legal groundwork for the Party’s plan to capitalize on the future death of the current Dalai Lama, who is 87 and in exile, by appointing their choice as the next one.

Chinese authorities have seen fit to use force, intimidation, and intrusive supervision to remove the Dalai Lama’s influence over Tibetan Buddhism and enforce the state’s absolute control over religion, according to HRW. It is a precedent that promises further violence, persecution, and travesties of the tradition.

The Dalai Lama, throughout his life in exile, has achieved prominence among the world’s political, religious, and social leaders as a universal icon of peace, harmony and non-violence.

He has been successful in exposing the true nature of the anti-democratic, anti-religious, and anti-humanistic attitude of China and the untold sufferings of the Tibetans under the Chinese administration.

The Dalai Lama has won widespread international support for the Tibetan independence movement. He has been advocating the Tibetan cause with non-violence for the last many decades and has been raising awareness in the international community on the Tibetans’ right to a homeland and culture, the restoration of the thousands of Buddhist monasteries which were destroyed by China and the freedom of hundreds of Tibetans captured by Beijing.

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