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The Dalai Lama turns 77

He says about his birthday: ‚It is just another day for me'


By mea correspondent B. John Zavrel



The Dalai Lama in his simple monk's gown at a press conference. For over 60 years he has been engaged in teaching, and preaches to people how to find the right way to achieve peace, understanding and happiness.

Foto: Tibet-Archive


New Delhi/New York (mea) The Dalai Lama turned 77 years old on July 6, 2012 in India. Born in 1935, the 14th Dalai Lama fled during the Tibetan Uprising on March 17, 1959 from the Chinese communist invasion to the city of Dharamsala in northern India. It has become his residence ever since, where he is surrounded by refugees from Tibet. After more than 50 years of struggle in exile for Tibet's freedom, the spiritual head of the Tibetans keeps to the tradition of his land and says: „For me as a Buddhist, the birthday is just another day." That also means: no celebrations nor gifts as it is customary in the West.

Politically, it has become quieter around the Dalai Lama, who had received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for his worldwide merits. After his enthronement more than 70 years ago, he was, like all the previous Dalai Lamas the head of Tibet's government. He gave up this post in 2011. In March, 2011 the Dalai Lama requested the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile to release him from his political duties. Democratically elected representatives from the people should replace him at the head of the government-in-exile.


Merits of the USA and the free world

The long, long road in the struggle for liberation from the Chinese occupation was not totally in vain, but in the end it was unsuccessful. Seen in the context of history, it is thanks to the USA and the democratic movement in the free world that the theme „Tibet and the Chinese .oppression of a people to its extermination" has remained on the agenda of world politics. And so it were, according to reports in the media, donations of money from the USA through the CIA, that made possible the establishment of the Tibetan colony in exile around the Dalai Lama, who was totally without any financial means. In the time shortly after the escape of the Dalai Lama, who was pursued by China, to northern India, when the Indian government would have liked best if the „Tibetan God-King" were on his way, that the AP correspondent Joe F. Bodenstein (Associated Press, New York) was the first political Western journalist, who had sought out the secluded Dalai Lama in an Indian military camp in the mountains. At the meeting under strongest military guard, was also the concept of sensible „Pilgrimages to the West' discussed. The realization of this was the beginning of a peaceful road, which finally led the Dalai Lama to the government heads of state in Europe and the USA, in order to bring attention to the suffering of the Tibetan people. In this respect, the dialog with the Vatican had a special meaning.

In the course of time, several meetings took place with Popes like John Paul II (Poland) and Pope Benedict XVI (Germany). Among the chiefs of state and heads of governments have been in addition to the West-European politicians also US presidents like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.



The US President Barack Obama receives the Dalai Lama for a talk in the White House in Washington. Already his predecessors have courageously shown, by meeting the Dalai Lama, that they will not allow to be put under political pressure by the Chinese leadership in Peking. China's government has been making protests for decades all over the world, whenever the Dalai Lama is received with honors. The spiritual leader, who had escaped during the occupation of Tibet by China, is treated in the Chinese propaganda as an arch enemy.

Foto: Archive mea

As a friend of Christianity in Milan, Italy

The Dalai Lama has proved himself repeatedly as a „friend of Christianity". And so, shortly before his 77th birthday, one of his wishes was fulfilled: the visit of the famous Milan Cathedral. The visit took place as a ‚surprise', as was reported by the Italian media.

The leader of the Tibetans in exile had expressed a wish to visit this gothic cathedral, in which is located the golden statute of the mother of God „La Madonnina'. The Buddhist guest was received by the vicar Ligi Manganini. „The Dalai Lama admired for a long time the main altar of the Milan cathedral, which is after the St. Peter's Catedral in the Vatican and the Cathedral in Sevilla the third largest cathedral in the world", said the reporter.

„We have received the Dalai Lama in the spirit of inter-religious dialog that he has so strongly supported over the years. Buddhism has been since then open to dialog with other religions, as is confirmed by meetings of the Dalai Lama with John Paul II and Benedict XVI", said the vicar of the Milan Cathedral.

The Dalai Lama was received in the morning in the city hall by the Milan mayor Giuliano Pisapia, with a great applause of the members of the council and many citizens. The visit of the Dalai Lama was a gift to the whole city, said Pisapia.

But the visit of the Dalai Lama in Milan, where he will be taking part in some conferences, was overshadowed by strong political debates.

The Milan city council has in the end decided not to award the honorary citizenship to the Dalai Lama. The reason: Peking gave them to understand that China could boycott the planned World Expo 2015, if the Dalai Lama were to be awarded the key to this Lombard city.

The result is the realization that this time, also the local politicians gave in to the Chinese threats from Peking. It was made once again clear to the Dalai Lama and his friends iaround the world that in the the political power plays, business comes before morality.





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Copyright 2012 Prometheus

PROMETHEUS, Internet Bulletin for Art, News, Politics and Science, Nr. 180, August 2012