Today, June 6, 2012 marks the 77th birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. From refugees to the likes of Richard Gere, people around the world have followed and celebrated this spiritual, humanitarian icon. And today, thousands worldwide wish him a happy birthday and many happy returns.
The 14th Dalai Lama is perhaps best known for being the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet. His official leadership in the region was short-lived – he’s been in exile since 1959. But the Dalai Lama has become a force for humanitarian rights (especially those of the Tibetan people under the Chinese government), interfaith dialogue, and international diplomacy. Anyone skeptical of the selection process of incumbent Dalai Lamas just needs to take one look at this man’s list of achievements and beliefs, spend five minutes in his presence, watch as thousands of people around the world cry, cheer, and celebrate his life…We’re dealing with an extraordinary human being.
I don’t know about you, but it’s strange for me to think of someone like the Dalai Lama having a birthday. He’s one of those timeless, larger-than-life figures who I assume has always and will always be around. Today reminds me that His Holiness is more than an icon, more than a statement on human rights. He is a man, albeit a remarkable one. He has had an immense impact on the world in his 77 years on this planet. I know millions worldwide (including Deepak Chopra!) join me in wishing him many more years in this journey of learning, teaching, and spreading love in all corners of the globe.