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article imageDalai Lama’s 75th birthday celebrated in South Africa Special

By Christopher Szabo     Jul 9, 2010 in World
Pretoria - South Africa’s Tibetan community and a large number of visitors have celebrated the Dalai Lama’s 75th birthday with Tibetan music, speeches and a very special birthday cake to mark a remarkable life dedicated to peace.
A key feature of the event held at the Office of Tibet in Pretoria was a lovely chocolate cake which one of the onlookers deemed too nice to eat. The cake, with the words, “His Holiness, 75” was nonetheless quickly surrounded by eager guests and expertly divided by the chef.
On the sidelines of the party, Digital Journal spoke to the Dalai Lama’s official spokesman and organizer of the event, Sonam Tenzing. Asked of the significance of this particular birthday, Tenzing said:
For the Tibetan people, inside and outside Tibet, as well as thousand and millions of Buddhists all over the world, this 75th birthday is very, very significant. It also determines their support for Tibet – supporting His Holiness the Dalai Lama also means support of the cause of Tibet. In an individual’s life, it is significant, I mean, you reach that age when it really means a lot and in the case of His Holiness it is significant because he has contributed to peace around the world. Wherever he has travelled, he has always conveyed the message of peace and harmony (and) happiness.
The centre piece of the celebration  a photo of the Dalai Lama.
The centre piece of the celebration, a photo of the Dalai Lama.
Tenzing gave an example of this peaceful message:
This famous statement (is) by him: “If you’re angry at your neighbour, the impact will also bounce back to you.” So this is a very profound and strong message. The international community like to hear such messages; which are not superficial (but) genuine messages. This comes from His Holiness the Dalai Lama every time.
Sonam Tenzing addresses guests at the Office of Tibet gardens.
Sonam Tenzing addresses guests at the Office of Tibet gardens.
I asked if people in Tibet where celebrating the event. Tenzing had this to say:
Unfortunately, the people in Tibet are restricted from celebrating the Dalai Lama’s birthday, even though in their hearts and minds they are celebrating and they pray for the long life of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. Even though there may not be so much of a physical celebration, or so much of a fanfare or display, but mentally, in their own individual hearts, they truly, truly pray for the longevity of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
A Tibetan in traditional garb.
A Tibetan in traditional garb.
The Office of Tibet flew the country’s flag and played Tibetan traditional music. The guests were from all walks of life, including academics, diplomats, and members of the Buddhist community and most heartening of all, members of South Africa’s Chinese community, along with a smattering of journalists.
The flag used until 1959 in Tibet.
The flag used until 1959 in Tibet.
A printed version of the Memorandum on Genuine Autonomy for the Tibetan People was available for guests to take home. The document outlines the views of the Dalai Lama and his exile government on how to make Tibet autonomous within the laws of the People’s Republic of China.
More about Tibet, South Africa, Dalai, Lama, Birthday
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