Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama on Monday celebrated 85th birthday in restrictions owing to COVID-19 pandemic at his residence in Dharamsala in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh.

In his message to devotees, Dalai Lama said “Today is July 6th, my birthday. It’s not possible for large numbers of people to hold a big celebration because of restrictions due to the pandemic. And it’s not necessary either.

However, if you want to celebrate my birthday, I would like to ask you to recite the Mani mantra (Om Mani Padme Hung) at least a thousand times.

He said the reason for my saying this is that we Tibetans have a unique connection with Avalokiteshvara.

“After we came into exile in India and after I settled here in Dharamshala, the statue of Chenrezig Wati Sangpo was brought to me here from western Tibet.

When the monks of Dzongkar Chode Monastery were moving from Dharamshala to southern India, I did dough-ball divination to see whether the statue should go with them or remain here with me. The result indicated that Wati Sangpo preferred to stay here with me so I serve as his caretaker,” he added.

He further stated that there is something special about this Wati Sangpo such that sometimes I feel he smiles at me. Since the altruistic awakening mind of bodhichitta is my principle practice, Wati Sangpo is like my refuge, protector and guardian.

“However on this day, remember Avalokiteshvara and recall that he is the one on whom I, Gyalwa Rinpoche, rely and in whom I seek refuge. In terms of pure vision, Avalokiteshvara is someone who I have been connected with over successive lifetimes,” he added.