Festivities for the Dalai Lama's 77th birthday on July 6th have begun.
The exiled Tibetan government in Dharamsala, India has organized two rounds of celebrations according to the Hill Post.
Morning events will be held at the main Tibetan Temple, and evening observance will be held at the Institute of Tibetan Performing Art (TIPA). Along with prayers for the Dalai Lama's life and health, there will be performances by Tibetan monks, nuns, and artists with a focus on local participation by the community rather than a flashy international affair, Hindustan Times reports.
"This time we are aiming for more participation from the people of the state (Himachal Pradesh)," said Tashi Phunstok, head of the Organizing Committee arranged by the Central Tibetan Administration. "We are grateful to them for supporting us all this time. We have also invited the state chief minister and district administration officials on the occasion, but confirmation has not yet come."
A live webcast of the celebrations at Dharamsala will be available from the main temple broadcast in both Tibetan and English.
Observances are happening around the world. Tibetan Buddhist Rime Institute in Belgrave, Australia will be celebrating the Dalai Lama's birthday, reports Knox Weekly, by opening its doors to the public and allowing others to see how the monks pray.
"It's for the community to come and celebrate with us. You don't need to do anything - you can just come and watch if you like," said Julie O'Donnell, the Institute's Public officer. "I think a lot of people are looking to find a bit more meaning in their lives. They are embracing alternative ways to do this and Buddhism is one of those ways."
The Institute's festivities will include dinner on Friday evening, lunch and prayers on Saturday afternoon as well as screenings of various films about the Dalai Lama and his life's work.
However, not everyone is celebrating.
According to the Associated Press, exiled Tibetans in Nepal were banned from observing His Holiness' birthday, and were blocked by police from entering the school where a birthday party was to be held. The reason being that Tibetan ceremonies and observances can lead to anti-Chinese protests.
Nepal's chief government administrator from the Katmandu district, Laxmi Prasad Dhakal, warned that any public displays that led to anti-Chinese rallies would not be tolerated; but authorities did say they would allow exiled Tibetans to celebrate privately without anti-Chinese rhetoric or displays.
The Dalai Lama has lived in the Dharamsala in India since his exile from Tibet when Chinese forces took over the country in 1959. Born in 1935, the spiritual leader is recognized by Tibetans as the 14th Dalai Lama.
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