Dalai Lama’s 77th birthday celebrated in Dharamsala (Lead)

July 6th, 2012 - 5:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Dharamsala, July 6 (IANS) Thousands of Tibetan exiles and foreigners Friday morning joined in the 77th birthday celebrations of their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, here in Himachal Pradesh.

Large crowds began to assemble since morning at the Tsuglagkhang temple for the birthday celebrations.

“Special prayer sessions were held for the long life of His Holiness,” Tashi, a Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) spokesperson, told IANS.

The Dalai Lama, revered by the Tibetans as a ‘living god’, attended the prayers held at the hilltop Tsuglagkhang temple, close to his official palace at McLeodganj.

The 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, who has been residing here for the last few years with his followers, also attended the function.

In a brief address in his Tibetan dialect, the Nobel Peace Prize winner, known for his trademark maroon robes, thanked the government of India and the people for their hospitality to the exiled Tibetans.

He thanked the Tibetans for their heartfelt greetings.

The entire cabinet of the CTA and Prime Minister-in-exile Lobsang Sangay were present at the function.

Delivering an address, Sangay, the political head of the democratically elected government, once again insisted on early resumption of the dialogue between the Dalai Lama’s envoys and the Chinese government for genuine autonomy for the people in Tibet.

“The Tibetan leadership remains firmly committed to non-violence and the middle-path approach. We believe that the only way to resolve the issue of Tibet is through dialogue, and we remain prepared to engage in meaningful dialogue anywhere and at any time,” he said.

Urging Beijing to accept the middle-path approach, which seeks genuine autonomy for Tibetans within the framework of Chinese constitution, the Dalai Lama’s first political successor said: “The Tibetan leadership is ready to announce the special envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to continue the dialogue process.”

Last month both the envoys, Lodi Gyari and Kelsang Gyaltsen, who held nine rounds of talks with the Chinese since 2002, resigned.

The last round of talks - the ninth - was held in Beijing in January 2010. Since then there is a deadlock over the talks.

The prime minister once again reiterated the commitment of his government to facilitate the return of the Dalai Lama to the Potala Palace in Tibet. “It’s (return of the Dalai Lama) the wish of all Tibetans and the universal cry of all those who have self-immolated.”

Born July 6, 1935, at Taktser hamlet in northeastern Tibet, the Dalai Lama was recognised at the age of two as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso.

He fled Tibet after a failed uprising against the Chinese rule in 1959, basing his government-in-exile here that never won recognition from any country.

India is home to around 100,000 Tibetans.

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