The 89th birthday of the Dalai Lama was celebrated by devotees and well-wishers the world over, led by the Tibetan community, on July 6, 2024. Given that the Dalai Lama is recovering from a recent knee treatment in the United States, the celebrations evoked strong emotions and collective prayers for his speedy recovery.

In a special video message on the occasion, the Dalai Lama thanked everyone and assured them that he was recovering well. He urged everyone not to be led by other reports that may be there about his treatment saying, “Recently I had surgery on my knee which has given me some problems. However, I am recovering and have no problem at all now. So, please be happy and feel at ease.”

The Dalai Lama also expressed his determination to continue serving humanity. He said, “Until now, with the title of the Dalai Lama, I have made a contribution, to a certain extent, to people in and outside of Tibet and many parts of the world, and most importantly, with regard to the Buddha’s teaching. Still, I am determined to continue my service to teaching; I am resolved to do so with all my heart.”

In many countries. government leaders participated in the birthday events or issued social media postings wishing the Dalai Lama well. In Dharamsala, the headquarters of the Central Tibetan Administration, the Chief Minister of the state of Sikkim (which borders Tibet), Shri Prem Singh Tamang, better known as P.S. Golay, attended the birthday celebrations as the chief guest. In his remarks, Chief Minister Golay highlighted the profound impact of His Holiness’s teachings in promoting harmony and sustainability, pledging unwavering support and disseminating His Holiness’s principles for a peaceful world.

Guests at the 89th birthday celebrations of the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala on July 6, 2024. Photo:

Sikyong Penpa Tsering and Speaker Sonam Tenphel addressed the gathering highlighting the Dalai Lama’s contribution to Tibet and the world. Sikyong Penpa Tsering described the unparalleled leadership of the Dalai Lama, stating, “His contributions towards ensuring the sustenance of the ethnic identity of the Tibetan people and the preservation and advancement of [its] religion, culture, language and so forth of the Tibetan people, as well as in the campaign for the just cause of Tibet remain incredibly enormous.”

Guests included Speaker of Sikkim Legislative Assembly, Mingma Norbu Sherpa; Sri Tapir Gao, a member of the Indian Parliament from Arunachal Pradesh; several other dignitary officials and ministers of Sikkim; Bhutila Karpoche, Honourable Deputy Speaker of the Ontario Legislative Assembly, Canada; and Namgyal Gangshontsang, Mayor of Oetwil am See, a municipality in Zürich in Switzerland.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a social media posting on the Dalai Lama’s birthday, saying, “Sent my greetings to His Holiness @DalaiLama on the occasion of his 89th birthday. Pray for his quick recovery after knee surgery, good health and long life.”

In the United States, Secretary of State Antony Blinken issued a message of greetings to the Dalai Lama. “Through his promotion of nonviolence and compassion, as well as his commitment to advancing human rights for all, his Holiness serves as an inspiration for the Tibetan community and many around the world.

“The United States reaffirms our commitment to support efforts to preserve Tibetans’ distinct linguistic, cultural, and religious heritage, including the ability to freely choose and venerate religious leaders without interference.”

The US Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, Uzra Zeya, also posted her greetings to the Dalai Lama.

Similarly, Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, Rep. Jim McGovern, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Ben Cardin, SFRC Ranking Member Jim Risch also issued statements of greetings to the Dalai Lama.In Minnesota, Governor Tim Walz has declared July 6, 2024, as “His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama Day.” The celebrations, organized by the Tibetan American Foundation of Minnesota, were attended by Tencho Gyatso la, President of the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), and Tsejin Khando la, Outreach and Engagement Officer of ICT. The Foundation also honored ICT Chairman Richard Gere and the organization for their dedicated work in promoting the cause of Tibet.

Although Chairman Gere was unable to attend in person, he expressed his gratitude to the Tibetan community in Minnesota. In his message, he said, “Thank you all, not only for your kind prayers and thoughts in recent weeks but for the important work that brings you here, together, today. I join you in that work. And as we all gather in celebration, with prayers for His Holiness’ recovery and long life, let us renew our intentions to make this year and next, a year of compassion, kindness, wisdom, and service, in hope to honor, not only one another, but our brothers and sisters in Tibet, and His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. I honor you all. Thank you and happy birthday, Your Holiness.”

TAFM President Kunga Nyima presents Chenrezig Thangka signed by His Holiness to ICT’s Tencho Gyatso, accepting on behalf of ICT Chairman Richard Gere. Photo: Tsejin Khando/ICT

In Salt Lake City, Utah, Mayor Erin Mendenhall proclaimed July 6, 2024 as “Tibet Day.” The proclamation honors His Holiness’ leadership and contributions towards global peace and recognizes the Utah Tibetan community’s efforts to preserve Tibetan culture and share His Holiness’ message and wisdom.

Parliamentarians in Australia, France, Switzerland, and other countries held events or issues messages of congratulations and best wishes to the Dalai Lama. In Mongolia, for the first time, the Dalai Lama’s birthday was celebrated at an event at Ulaanbaatar’s Central Palace of Culture attended by Mongolian and Tibetan religious leaders and diplomats from India, Germany and Japan.

More reports on the Dalai Lama’s birthday events can be seen here.

Governor Tim Walsh of Minnesota issues a proclamation dedicating July 6, 2024, as “His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama Day” in honor of His Holiness’ 89th birthday.

Mayor Erin Mendenhall of Salt Lake City, Utah, issued a proclamation declaring July 6, 2024, as “Tibet Day” honoring His Holiness and the Utah Tibetan community.