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2025 will be ‘Year of Compassion’, says CTA Prez on Dalai Lama’s 89th birthday

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Screen grab of H.H. the Dalai Lama delivering his 89th birthday message

By Tenzin Nyidon 

DHARAMSHALA, July 6: The Tibetan community at the capital of the exile set up in Dharamshala gathered to celebrate the 89th birthday of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama at the Tsuglakhang temple complex, as the Tibetan spiritual leader currently recovering from knee surgery in New York.

During the celebration, Penpa Tsering, the executive head of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), announced that 2025 will be formally and internationally commemorated as the “Year of Compassion” in honour of the Dalai Lama’s 90th birthday. This milestone next year is particularly significant in view of the looming question circling the Tibetan leader’s reincarnation. The Dalai Lama has earlier expressed his intention to meet with senior Buddhist figures to discuss his reincarnation upon reaching the age of 90.

“In accordance with the Tibetan calendar, this year marks the 90th birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. As per the modern calendar, His Holiness will turn 90 on 6 July 2025. Beginning July 2025, the Kashag will commence a diverse series of year-long events celebrating this milestone as the ‘Year of Compassion,’ stated Sikyong Penpa Tsering. 

The official function to celebrate H.H. the Dalai Lama’s 89th birthday celebration at Tsuglakhang temple in Dharamshala on July 6, 2024 (Phayul Photo)

The Kashag (Cabinet), he said, will highlight the four principal lifelong commitments of His Holiness in four separate official events throughout the year. An organising committee, headed by the Cabinet Secretary and comprising civil servants from the three pillars of democracy and major departments, will oversee the coordination. Each department will be responsible for managing regular and special 90th-anniversary events within their jurisdiction. Under the Department for Information and International Relations (DIIR), each Office of Tibet based around the world will form organising committees to develop and execute national and institutional events. Additionally, a dedicated online portal will be available for downloading materials such as films, documentaries, and exhibitions, and for uploading details of conducted events.

The celebration was attended by various dignitaries, including Chief Minister of Sikkim Shri Prem Singh Tamang as the chief guest, Member of Lok Sabha Shri Tapir Gao as a special guest, Speaker of the Sikkim Legislative Assembly Shri Mingma Norbu Sherpa, Deputy Speaker of Ontario State Parliament Bhutila Karpoche, and several ministers and MLAs from the State of Sikkim. Namgyal Gangshontsang, Mayor of Oetwil am See, Switzerland, was also present.

The octogenarian leader in a pre-recorded video delivered his birthday message expressing his gratitude for the celebration of his birthday and praying for his well-being, “Today, Tibetans inside and outside of Tibet are celebrating my birthday with much joy and festivity. All Tibetans and people in the Himalayan regions also pray for me as well. I am nearly 90 now but I don’t feel unhealthy, except for the slight discomfort in my legs. I am basically healthy. I would like to thank all my fellow Tibetans in and outside Tibet for your prayers on my birthday.” 

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