Tibet Foundation

Dalai Lama's 71st Birthday Celebrated at Tibet Foundation in London

Jul 7, 2006

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Dalai Lama's 71st Birthday Celebrated at Tibet Foundation in London

An opening reception of a Special Photo Exhibition on His Holiness the Dalai Lama was held at Tibet Foundation Gallery on Thursday 6th July 2006.

This event was also celebrated His Holiness' 71st Birthday. He tirelessly served the people of Tibet before exile to India in 1959, and continues to serve the refugee community as well as many other communities around the world through his Universal Message of Peace and Compassion.


Phuntsog Wangyal, a founding trustee of Tibet Foundation, cordially welcomed officials from the Indian High Commission, the Office of Tibet, the Tibetan Deputy based in London, the representatives from different Tibet-related organisations, Buddhist Centres in UK, and the Tibetan Community in Britain. He said, “For Tibetans His Holiness is the greatest leader of our time and for the world he is a great leader who conveys a message of peace and harmony amongst different communities and faiths, and promotes non-violence as a fundamental principle and means to resolving differences. For Tibet Foundation, His Holiness is our Patron whose blessing is the source of our inspiration”.


Phuntsog then introduced guest speaker Geshe Samten Gyatso of Drepung Gomang Monastery in south India, who is currently on a visit at the Chenrezig Tibetan Buddhist Centre with Venerable Samten Gyatso in the Midlands, and Venerable Tenzin Rapten of Nechung Monastery in Dharamsala. Later Kelkhang Rinpoche from the Tashi Lhunpo monastery in south India and Lama Khyimsar Rinpoche, founder of the Tibetan Yungdrung Bon Study Centre, UK joined.


Whilst appreciating the work being done by various Tibet-related organisations and other individuals in the UK, benefiting the Tibetan people, Geshe Samten Gyatso briefly spoke on the backgrounds of the reincarnations of all the fourteen Dalai Lamas. He said that the 6th July is "very important and auspicious day for all Tibetans around the world as a man of peace was born in this world, who led us to the path of peace". He said that a Mongolian Leader invited the Third Dalai Lama, Sonam Gyatso to Mongolia in the 16th Century, who was very impressed by the purity of His Buddhist teachings. He was subsequently given the title "Dalai Lama" (meaning - ocean of wisdom) referring to the depth of his knowledge in Buddhist philosophy.


The visiting Tibetan Buddhist scholar said that some of the previous Dalai Lamas were not political but rather more spiritual leaders of the Tibetan people. He then said, "...the 14th Dalai Lama is widely revered by the people of Tibet, both inside and outside, as the spiritual as well as the political leader of Tibet. At a very young age, His Holiness assumed a huge responsibility for the Tibetan people. He leads his people for fighting for their freedom from China through the path of non-violence. We Tibetans remain grateful for his leadership. In exile, His Holiness has established Tibetan settlements for our refugee community, schools, cultural centres and monasteries and nunneries for our children for the preservation of Tibetan culture".

"When we celebrate His birthday, we should take some kind of commitment that we will make effort to be altruistic and good hearted as emphasised by His Holiness", Geshe Samten concluded.


The Long Life Prayers of His Holiness the Dalai Lama led by the monks from India followed his brief presentation.


Phuntsog Wangyal thanked the guest speaker and then said a few words about the exhibition.

This rare collection of colour and black and white portraits of the Dalai Lama show how he was Head of State in Tibet before 1959 and his subsequent life in exile.


The photos displayed on the exhibition in the recently redecorated Tibet Foundation Gallery are from the permanent collection of Tibet Foundation and those from the London Office of Tibet. Phuntsog thanked Mrs Kesang Takla, Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, for her generously lending the photos for this exhibition.


As a gift from Tibet Foundation on this special occasion, the British charity presented a copy of Kundun, a book on the Life of His Holiness by author Mary Craig to all those who attended the celebration.


This morning Louise Marchant, Registrar of The Buddhist Society wrote in an email, "The photographs are superb and it is a delight to be able to view them. I think that the photograph exhibition is very important because they really do show the diversity of contacts and much more about the life and of His Holiness than I think most people know without having seen them. I hope that more people will read ‘Kundun’ by Mary Craig because it is a very informative, well-written book about the life of His Holiness, his family and Tibet and its people. It was wonderful to offer prayers for the long life of His Holiness."



Jewel of Tibet: The Dalai Lama

A Special Photo Exhibition on the Extraordinary Life and Achievements of the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet


Thursday 6th July - Wednesday 20th August 2006

Opening Days/Hours: Tuesday - Saturday 12 - 6.30pm


Tibet Foundation Gallery

1 St. James's Market (Off Haymarket), London SW1Y 4SB (UK)


For further information, please contact:

Tsering Passang

Tibet Foundation

1 St. James's Market, London SW1Y 4SB, United Kingdom

Tel.: +44 (0)207 930 6001 Fax: +44 (0)207 930 6002

Email: info@tibet-foundation.org Website: www.tibet-foundation.org