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The Dalai Lama celebrates his 81st birthday at Mundgod

06 Jul 2016 | Written by Shiladitya ; Edited by Gaurav
The Dalai Lama turns 81: His incredible story

The Dalai Lama, along with Tibetans in exile, celebrated his 81st birthday at Mundgod in Karnataka.

The ceremony consisted of a book release, prize distributions, a cultural program, and was attended by the Sikyong who is the head of the Central Tibetan Administration and speaker of the Tibetan Parliament in-exile.

Celebrations were also held at the exile headquarters of Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh.

In context: The Dalai Lama turns 81: His incredible story

Early LifeThe early life of the 14th Dalai Lama

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, was born on 6th July, 1935 to a farming family in Taktser in northeastern Tibet.

Initially named Lhamo Thondup, at the age of 2 the child was recognized as the reincarnation of the previous Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso.

He began his monastic education at the age of 6 in Tibet and completed it in 1959.

What are the Dalai Lamas?

Dalai Lamas are believed to be the manifestations of Avalokiteshvara or Chenrezig, the Bodhisattva of Compassion and the patron saint of Tibet. The term "Bodhisattva" means enlightened beings who have postponed their own nirvana and chosen rebirth to serve humanity.
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Brief rulePolitical responsibilities and flight from Tibet

After the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1950, the Dalai Lama was called upon to assume full political responsibility.

In 1954, he travelled to Beijing to meet Mao Zedong as a delegate of the National People's Congress.

However, in 1959, after the brutal suppression of the Tibetan Uprising by Chinese troops, His Holiness fled Tibet, followed by 80,000 Tibetans.

ExileThe Dalai Lama's life in exile

The Dalai Lama was granted asylum by Jawaharlal Nehru, the Prime Minister of India at the time.

He settled in Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, along with his followers.

He went on to meet several world leaders, appealed to the United Nations and convinced the General Assembly to adopt resolutions in 1959, 1961 and 1965, calling for the protection of the Tibetan people.

Awards and HonoursThe Dalai Lama is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize

Throughout his life, the Dalai Lama has always preached non-violence, and advocated a "middle way" to resolve the status of Tibet, calling for genuine self-rule of Tibet within China.

In 1989, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his policy of non-violence.

The Dalai Lama, till date, has received over 150 awards, honorary-doctorates etc., and has authored or co-authored more than 110 books.

Democratization processCreation of a democratic Tibet

In 1963, the Dalai Lama presented a draft constitution to democratize the Tibetan administration.

In 1990, the Tibetan Cabinet appointed by the Dalai Lama was dissolved, and a new cabinet was indirectly elected by exiled Tibetans.

In 2001, a further step was taken when the exiled Tibetan electorate directly elected their Sikyong meaning "political leader".

In 2011, the Dalai Lama officially retired from politics.

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His Holiness ends centuries old tradition

The retirement of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama from politics and the democratization of the Tibetan administrative set up marked the end of a 368 year-old tradition in which Dalai Lamas served both as spiritual and temporal heads of the Tibetan people.

06 Jul 2016The Dalai Lama celebrates his 81st birthday at Mundgod

03 Nov 2016Dalai Lama wants to live another 20 years

Speaking after the long life prayer ceremony organized by the Phenpo and Pema Koe Tibetan community members, the 81-year old Dalai Lama said he wished to live for another 20 years.

He said he wishes to live long "to continue to serve the well being of all human beings."

He thanked the Tibetan community for their "unwavering faith and prayers for my long life."