Tibet Foundation

His Holiness the Dalai Lama Celebrates Jubilant 77th Birthday

Jul 6, 2012

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Dharamshala: 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. Due to a visit to America the previous year, His Holiness celebrated His first birthday at His exile home of Dharamsala since handing full political power to elected head of government, Kalon Tripa Lobsang Sangay.

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

Amid an incense burning ceremony, and hoisting of prayer flags, Tibetans living in the exile community and neighbouring regions flooded to see His Holiness celebrate the jubilant event, welcoming the unique celebrations from dawn with circumambulation of the kora; a path surrounding the scared site of the main temple. Amid a backdrop of an amber dawn, monks led a series of mantras, as local Tibetans observed puja ceremonies by burning pine branches along the sacred route in specific chimneys. The new day was met with pale white smoke and the beautiful cry of Tibetan long horns echoing across the Himalayan community.  

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, and the British Tibetan community held their own celebrations in London to mark another bright year for His Holiness. May the year ahead be just as prosperous. 


A report by Samuel Ivor

Tibet Foundation