DHARAMSALA, July 7: As Tibetans and well-wishers across the world celebrated the Tibetan spiritual leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s 79th birthday on July 6, thousands of Tibetans and Tibet supporters in Dharamsala attended an official function held at the courtyard of the main temple in Mcleod Ganj to celebrate the Tibetan leader’s birthday.
The official birthday celebration of the Tibetan spiritual leader, who is currently in Leh, Ladakh for the Kalachakra teachings, was attended by among others, Mr G S Bali, Himachal Pradesh Minister for Transport, Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs as the Chief guest, the political head of the Tibetan people, Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay and His Holiness the 17th Karmapa as Guests of Honour, Deputy Speaker, Khenpo Sonam Tenphel, Members of the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile and senior officials of the Central Tibetan Administration.
Addressing the crowd, Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay attributed the unity of the Tibetan people to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, saying “the fact that the Tibetan people are united like an iron ball regardless of their regional or religious affiliations and in spite of the Chinese occupation is mainly due to his enlightened leadership”.
Sikyong Sangay said the CTA is observing this year as the “Year of the Great 14th Dalai Lama” to express appreciation of the spiritual leader’s accomplishments for the cause of Tibet and the promotion of peace, inter-faith harmony and human values.
Reiterating the Kashag’s (Tibetan cabinet) belief in resolving the Tibet issue through dialogue with the Chinese government, Sikkyong Sangay said: “It is our hope that the new Chinese leadership will soon realize the fact that the Middle Way Approach is a mutually beneficial solution to the Tibet problem,” and added “The Middle Way Approach continues to receive support from governments around the world and from the international community, including a growing number of Chinese citizens and the CTA has launched an international campaign to continue this awareness and support for the Approach.”
Sikyong Sangay, the first democratically elected Prime Minister-in-exile also likened recent smear campaigns against His Holiness the Dalai Lama by Dholgyal followers to advocating sectarianism and fanaticism to disrupt the existing harmony and unity among all the traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. He urged the Tibetan people to ‘wisely discern between true and untrue and right from wrong’.
While addressing the crowd, Mr G S Bali conveyed Himachal Chief Minister Shri Virbadhra Singh’s heartfelt greetings to His Holiness the Dalai Lama on his 79th birthday.
Mr Bali said His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s message of love, compassion, non-violence and religious harmony is a great inspiration for the international community and praised harmonious relationship between the Indian and Tibetan communities in Dharamshala where the Tibetan spiritual leader resides.
He also mentioned that the government and the people of Himachal Pradesh have requested His Holiness the Dalai Lama to continue to stay in the state and not to shift his residence to another Indian state as some media reports suggested that the Tibetan leader might shift his base to South India.
Mr Bali announced a financial aid of Rs 3 crore from the state government for the construction of road from lower Dharamshala to Mcleod Ganj which His Holiness’ motorcade uses when he moves in and out of the hill town. He further made a personal donation of Rs 1 Lakh to TCV School after watching the songs and dances performed by the school children.
Cultural performances were also presented by artistes from the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts, local Indian community and others.
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso was born Lhamo Dhondup on 6 July 1935 to a peasant family in Taktser village in the traditional Tibetan province of Amdo.