Locals celebrate Dalai Lama’s 82nd birthday

Tibetan Alliance of Chicago (TAC) President Kelsang Draggo at far left with the photo donated by Sera Monastery (Karnataka) monks
Tibetan Alliance of Chicago (TAC) President Kelsang Draggo at far left with the photo donated by Sera Monastery (Karnataka) monks

CHICAGO: The Tibetan Community celebrated the 82nd birthday of the 14th Dalai Lama with pomp and fervor last week in Evanston, a Chicago suburb

Monks of Sera Monastery in Byllakupe, Karnataka, India gifted a picture of Dalai Lama to the Tibetan Alliance of Chicago.

“The Tibetan Alliance celebrates HH Dalai Lama’s birthday every year. He is my spiritual leader,” said Kelsang Draggo, the president of Tibetan Alliance of Chicago, who recently attended the Dalai Lama’s talk on compassion in Minneapolis on June 23.Kashi Draggo, wife of the president also chanted mantras by heart.

“Sang-sol” was burnt with juniper tree wood in fire to pray for the prosperity of all sentient beings. Norbu Samphell performed the sang-sol and the early morning prayer of refuge in the Buddha and the long life of the Dalai Lama.

After that members went to place “khata” or scarf below Dalai Lama’s picture inside the center and got the “maniroo” or herbal prasad.

Community members and other friends also participated in Tibetan Circle Dance and sang songs of freedom and wished long life for the Dalai Lama. “Long Live the Dalai Lama and may all his dreams come true for humanity,” said Tsering Palmo, an active community member.

Dhondup Gyatso, a respiratory therapist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in downtown Chicago comes every year for the celebration and does basic chants and regular prayers by burning the butter lamps.

“I believe that Tibet will be free,” Gyatso , who lives in Skokie and grew up in Nepal said.
Tibetan chants can be of different kinds including – Words of truth, invocation to Palden Lhamo, Invocation to Nechung, and invocation to all protective deities of Tibet.

Methok Lhazey and Methok Khorlatsang, two women in traditional “chuba” dress said that they always prayed for the Dalai Lama and came every year for his birthday celebration.

Tibet Fund is supporting the two-week summer camps from July 10. It has provided part of the funds, about $2,000 for Tibetan language and technology classes for children of community members, Draggo said.
In April, the members also celebrated the birthday of the Panchen Lama, whose spiritual authority is second only to the Dalai Lama.

The program continued till evening when Tibetans sang songs for the health and well being of and danced with joy and happiness. Billed as the biggest event of the year, the center will celebrate the birthday again on July 15 with friends of Tibetan and local community members with cultural dances and programs.


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