The Dalai Lama, the spiritual head of the Tibetan Buddhists, had to flee the Chinese Communists as early as 1959. He still lives in exile. In Indian Dharamsala at the foot of the Himalayas he settled, traveled around the world preaching reconciliation and always enjoyed visiting Germany. This Monday, the Nobel Peace Prize winner, who resigned from his political duties in 2011, will be 85 years old.
The Dalai Lama wrote on Facebook that he was still very healthy at 85. "I think that's because my mind is peaceful after practicing altruism." His life had brought some benefits. For many people, the Buddhist teacher is a symbol of peace, harmony and non-violent resistance by Tibetans against China. Five facts about him and his day:
Late musical debut
The Dalai Lama releases his first album for his birthday – with mantras, teachings and music. It's called "Inner World" and the idea came from his longtime student, the musician Junelle Kunin from New Zealand.
The Dalai Lama said, "The purpose of my life is to serve as much as I can. Music can help people in a way that I can't." Music could reach more people with the news that the real source of happiness is warmth and concern for others. The titles are about compassion, courage, healing, wisdom, purification, protection, children and humanity. Kunin and her husband Abraham produced the album with a small team in New Zealand: he composed the music and played more than 30 instruments himself, plus other artists from around the world.
Reincarnation: discovered as a two year old
When the farmer's son Lhamo Dhondup was just two years old, Buddhist scholars saw him as the rebirth of his late predecessor and he was trained in monasteries. So it wants the tradition of rebirth great Teacher in Tibetan Buddhism. If a spiritual leader dies, a child is sought as a successor. Old rules, rituals and instructions of the deceased count. So far, all 14 Dalai Lamas have been Tibetan men. But the current Dalai Lama says that he can also disguise a successor. He once joked that maybe he would come back as a "teasing blonde woman".
The Dalai Lama as Nobel Peace Prize winner
At the age of 15, the Dalai Lama led his people as spiritual and political leader when the Chinese invaded Tibet. After years of resistance, he was forced to flee to India. Around 80,000 compatriots followed. In India they created a small Tibet with temples and colorful flags. The Dalai Lama campaigns for the rights of Tibetans and wants to achieve cultural and religious freedoms within the People's Republic through dialogue with China. He was honored with the Nobel Peace Prize for his conciliatory work. However, the Chinese authorities see him as a separatist who threatens China's absolute right to the huge mountain province of Tibet and have banned him from returning home since he fled more than 60 years ago.
Early risers and vegetarians
At 3 a.m., the spiritual leader of the Tibetans wakes up daily, as stated on his website. He then showered, prayed, and meditated until 5 a.m. Then after a walk – or if it rains, run on a treadmill – follow breakfast. There is usually porridge, bread with jam and tea. Then there was more meditation and the study of religious texts. He is actually a vegetarian, but sometimes eats non-vegetarian food when traveling. In the afternoon he would be in the office and give audiences, for example, and at 7 p.m. he would get ready for bed.
Birthday in Corona times: celebrities congratulations
For the 85th birthday there are mainly virtual celebrations, as it says on the website of the Tibetan government in exile in India. Some dignitaries congratulate by video message. For example, former US President George W. Busch said in a video by the government in exile: "I admire you, I like you, and I love you." Hesse's Prime Minister Volker Bouffier said in the video: "We wish you to stay healthy and the best for the future."