The Dalai Lama celebrated his 78th birthday yesterday in southern India along with thousands of supporters.
The festivities took place in Bylakuppe, about 150 miles from the Karnataka state capital, Bangalore. He touched heads, in a traditional Indian display of respect, with the state’s Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and was honored with singing and colorful dance performances.
The Dalai Lama spoke to tens of thousands of fellow Tibetan exiles who settled in India, many of which in resettlement camps, like the one at Bylakuppe, which is the biggest. The camp accommodates about 18,000 monks and roughly 9,000 nuns and has temples, monasteries, schools, and housing for the residents there.
He addressed the crowds in a 30 minute long speech, where he discusses world peace and offers a powerful message to the youth:
“The present-day generation can create better conditions and build a world where everyone can live in harmony and in a spirit of coexistence,”
He urged people to “practice compassion”, saying, “Youngsters of today have an opportunity to build a happier century. For those of us from the 20th century, there is nothing we can do now.”
The Dalai Lama also offered praise and gratitude to the people of Kartnataka, for allowing the Tibetan exile community to settle there in with “dignity and honor”:
“You should not think of your and your family welfare alone but of your fellow beings and the country you are living and the whole world eventually,”
Despite the Dalai Lama‘s age he is still very active in his duties an often travels around the world for engagements. According to his aides this may have something to so with his healthy, vegetarian lifestyle and regular exercise.