Dalai Lama apostle of peace: Himachal CM

Dharamsala, June 22 (IANS) Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on Monday participated in the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday celebrations, and said the Tibetan spiritual leader was an “apostle of peace and struggle”.

Virbhadra Singh wished the elderly Buddhist monk a healthy and long life.

“The Dalai Lama is a revered leader and a preacher of peace, tranquillity and goodwill. He is an apostle of peace and struggle, who is known for his non-violent struggle for the liberation of Tibet,” said the chief minister at the Dalai Lama’s official palace at McLeodganj near here.

“The Dalai Lama has consistently advocated policies of non-violence, even in the face of extreme aggression and carried out his humanitarian efforts. He became the first Nobel laureate to be recognised for his concern for global environmental problems too,” he added.

The chief minister accompanied the Dalai Lama to an exhibition of biographical ‘thangka’ paintings, depicting the life of the Tibetan monk, who is revered as a spiritual leader in the Orient and the West.

Virbhadra Singh, who turns 81 on Tuesday, and the spiritual leader jointly released a 10-volume biographical series on the Dalai Lama’s life.

Thousands of Tibetan exiles, foreigners and Indian dignitaries joined in the birthday celebrations here on Sunday.

According to a Tibetan tradition, a person’s 80th anniversary bears special significance and is celebrated as a momentous milestone in life.

The Dalai Lama will be in the US when he turns 80 on July 6, but Sunday was his official birthday, according to the Tibetan lunar calendar.

The Dalai Lama lives in exile in this northern Indian hill town. There are around 140,000 Tibetans across India.