Today, July 6th is His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama’s 77th birthday. It is hard to think of any living individual who better represents the ideals of peace, hope, and compassion. As a leader, visionary, philosopher, environmentalist, reformer, and peace activist, His Holiness’ monumental contribution to humankind has touched us all.
Born in a remote corner of eastern Tibet in 1935 and educated in the grandeur of Lhasa’s Potala Palace, his life – and that of his nation – was turned upside down when Tibet was invaded by China in 1949. As Chinese troops massacred Tibetans, stole their land, looted their wealth, and razed their temples to the ground, the young Dalai Lama was called upon to lead his people. Instead of resigning to a life under Chinese control, he risked everything to flee his beloved homeland. His dramatic escape to India, from where he could continue to lead his people in their freedom struggle, was a visionary decision and has denied the Chinese government the power to control his activities.
Ever since he moved into a humble residence in Dharamsala at the age of 24, His Holiness has dedicated every waking hour to the cause of his people, and indeed to the well-being of all sentient beings. In his effort to promote world peace, religious harmony, and universal responsibility, he has traveled across continents, given thousands of talks, written hundreds of books, and educated millions of people.
Everywhere he travels, the Dalai Lama brings inspiration and rekindles our hope. Together, we can give His Holiness a gift that will complement his tireless work: an investment in the future of the Tibetan nation.