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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

World's most celebrated monk turns 75 on Tuesday

July 6, 2010

Sify (India)
July 5, 2010

Arunachal Pradesh -- 'His Holiness,' 'Guruji' and
the 'Dalai Lama' are the more famous terms by
which he is known. But as Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th
Dalai Lama, turns 75 years old Tuesday, the
landmark birthday will just be another day in the
life of this 'simple Buddhist monk' as he describes himself.

Born July 6, 1935, to a farming family in a small
hamlet in Taktser in Amdo province in
northeastern Tibet, the two-year-old child,
earlier named Lhamo Dhondup, was recognized as
the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso, in 1937.

This birthday will put the present Dalai Lama in
the exclusive league among all Dalai Lamas - of having lived for over 75 years.

Dalai Lama criticises anti-whaling protesters

Only the first Dalai Lama, Gedun Drupa
(1391-1474), lived beyond the age of 75 years. He died at the age of 84 years.

The second Dalai Lama, Gedun Gyatso (1475-1542),
and the fifth Dalai Lama, Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso
(1617-82), lived till the ages of 67 and 65 respectively.

The ninth Dalai Lama, Lungtok Gyatso, had the
shortest life span among all Dalai Lamas. He
lived only till the age of nine years.

The present Dalai Lama, incidentally, has lived
over five decades of his life in exile in India.

Rubbing shoulders with the most powerful in the
world, the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize winner
continues to charm common people to world leaders
with his simplicity, religious knowledge and child-like wit.

Tibetan Member of exiled Parliament (MP) Karma
Yeshi told IANS: 'The 75th birthday of His
Holiness is a big event. Celebrations by various
organizations will continue through the year. His
holiness himself keeps it as a low-profile event.'

'Long-life prayers, functions in Dharamsala and
other Tibetan settlements in India and other
countries, photo-exhibitions and other events
will be held this year for His Holiness,' a
spokesman for the Tibetan government-in-exile said.

The Dalai Lamas, according to the official
website of the present Dalai Lama, are
manifestations of 'Avalokiteshvara' or
'Chenrezig', the 'Bodhisattva' of Compassion and
patron saint of Tibet. 'Bodhisattvas' are
enlightened beings who have postponed their own
nirvana and chosen to take rebirth in order to serve humanity.

In 1950, the Dalai Lama was called upon to assume
full political power after China's invasion of
Tibet in 1949. In 1954, he went to Beijing for
peace talks with Mao Zedong and other Chinese
leaders, including Deng Xiaoping and Zhou Enlai.

He was forced to flee the Potala Palace in
Tibet's capital Lhasa in 1959 and reached India
via Nepal after the Chinese troops took control
of Lhasa and other areas in Tibet.

Since then he has been living in Dharamsala, in
Himachal Pradesh. The hill town has become the
seat of the Tibetan political administration in exile.

The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is now both -
the head of state and the spiritual leader of Tibet.

Even though he has expressed his willingness to
go back to Tibet and resolve the complicated
Tibetan issue by agreeing to an autonomous
Tibetan set-up under Chinese control, Beijing has
shown no inclination to oblige him.

Chinese leaders have, in fact, called him a
'splittist'-one who wants Tibet to secede from China.

In 1989, he won the Nobel Peace Prize for his
non-violent struggle for Tibet. He was awarded
the US Congressional Gold Medal in October 2007,
even in face of protests by China.

The Dalai Lama, despite his age, continues to
travel throughout the world, meeting presidents,
prime ministers and rulers of various countries
and giving his teachings on Buddhism.

His followers and admirers include Hollywood
celebrities like 'Pretty Woman' star Richard Gere
and several others. He has travelled to nearly 65
countries, spanning across six continents.

What happens when the Dalai Lama dies?

Even though he lives in exile in India, with
political asylum granted to him, he holds the
honorary citizenship of several countries and
leading cities like Paris, Venice and Rome.

Scores of books, encompassing his message of
peace, non-violence, inter-religious
understanding, universal responsibility and
compassion, have been written about him and his philosophy all over the world.

He has authored over 70 books.
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