CHANDIGARH: Buddhist spiritual leader the Dalai Lama turned 85 on Monday. Starting a virtual celebration globally, his followers dedicated this as 'Year of Gratitude'.
In a video message, the Dalai Lama told his followers that it was not possible to hold a big celebration due to the pandemic. "And it is not necessary either. However, if you want to celebrate my birthday, I would like to ask you to recite the Mani mantra (Om Mani Padme Hung), at least a thousand times."
"The reason for my asking this is that we Tibetans have a unique connection with Avalokiteshvara. After we came into exile in India, and after I settled here in Dharamsala, the statue of Chenrezig Wati Sangpo was brought to me here from western Tibet," the spiritual leader said.
"When the monks of the Dzongkar Chode Monastery were moving from Dharamsala to southern India I did a dough-ball divination to whether the statue should go with them or remain here with me. The result indicated that Wati Sangpo preferred to stay here with me - so I serve as his caretaker. There is something special about this Wati Sangpo such that I sometimes feel he smiles at me, I often say, Avalokiteshvara is my boss and I am his messenger.
"So if you wish to celebrate my birthday, if you want to get together that may not be so bad, you needn't be extravagant about it. However, on this day, remember Avalokiteshvara and recall that he is the one on whom I Gyalwa Rinpoche, rely, and in whom I seek refuge. In terms of pure vision, Avalokiteshvara is someone who I have been connected with over successive lifetimes. Therefore, on my birthday, either visualize me, Gyalwa Rinpoche, as inseparable from Avalokiteshvara, or visualize Avalokiteshvara as the principal deity and me as a monk sitting in front of him.
"If you then recite his mantra (Om Mani Padme Hung) a thousand times, it will be beneficial. With that practice you will create some roots of virtue that you can dedicate for me - Avalokiteshvara's messenger - to live for 108 or 110 years or so. May everyone be happy and well," the Nobel Peace laureate added.
A statement issued by the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile states,"His Holiness has given us by way of quoting Him: It is absolutely wrong and one should never
ever engage in strife based on sectarian and provincial considerations;” and “The best birthday gift for me would be that you should be kind-hearted.”
Union Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports, Kiren Rijiju tweeted, "On the auspicious occasion of the 85th birthday of His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama, I offer my deepest reverence, prayers, and wishes for his long and healthy life. His values and ideals are the guiding light towards love, peace, and compassion for the entire humanity."
Born on 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. Since then, he has spent his time in exile pushing for autonomy for Tibet.
(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)