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The BBC's Mike Wooldridge
"Need to keep culture alive"
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Religious affairs reporter Jane Little
"Within the exile community there's growing disenchantment with his tactics"
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Friday, 18 February, 2000, 11:19 GMT
Dalai Lama's appeal for Tibet

Dalai Lama blesses relic Elaborate ceremonies were held for the anniversary


The Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, has marked the 60th anniversary of his enthronement by calling for greater efforts to end Chinese rule over Tibet.

Speaking to several thousand supporters in the Indian hill town of Dharamsala, he said: "Today is a good day to renew and reinforce your dedication to the Tibetan freedom struggle."

"The most important thing today is to save Tibetan Buddhism and culture. The younger generation has to take more responsibility ... and work for the Tibetan issue in a non-violent way."

He said the issue between China and the Tibetans was not about one side winning and the other losing - but both being able to see it as a victory.

Elaborate ceremonies were held to mark the enthronement.

Sitting on a carved throne in front of a gilded statue of Buddha in a room plastered with religious scrolls, the Dalai Lama received senior monks.

He was then presented with sacred relics - including a knotted garland of gold, holy banners, the eyes of a fish crafted in gold and silver vessels.

Karmapa's escape

The celebrations brought together the heads of all the schools of Tibetan Buddhism, including the 14-year-old Karmapa Lama who escaped from Tibet last December.

Karmapa Lama The Karmapa Lama who fled Tibet last December
In his address, the Dalai Lama said he was very glad the Karmapa Lama had managed to get out of Tibet.

"He is safe here. He is very young right now," he said.

The gathering in Dharamsala - the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile - was said by officials to be unprecedented in the recent history of Tibetan Buddhism.

Figurehead

Since China invaded Tibet in 1950, Beijing has sought to control all religious activities there, and banned all references to the Dalai Lama.

Human rights groups have accused China of the systematic destruction of Tibetan Buddhist culture and persecution of monks loyal to the Dalai Lama.

Born Tenzin Gyatso in north-eastern Tibet on 6 July, 1935, he was recognised at the age of two as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama and brought up in the Potala Palace in the capital, Lhasa.

Dalai Lama The Dalai Lama and 100,000 exiled Tibetans live in India
In 1950, the 15-year-old assumed full responsibility as the head of the Tibetan state - the same year that 80,000 Chinese troops poured into the mountain kingdom.

After a failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959, the Dalai Lama fled across the border to India. Tens of thousands of his people followed.

The Dalai Lama first travelled overseas in 1973 on a landmark visit to Europe - the first by a Tibetan spiritual leader.

In 1989, he won the Nobel Peace Prize, which he accepted "on behalf of the oppressed everywhere."

China has repeatedly insisted that the Dalai Lama wants an independent Tibet, whereas he says the country should be self-governing in association with China.

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See also:
11 Mar 99 |  From Our Own Correspondent
Tibetans keep their faith
17 Jan 00 |  South Asia
New boy lama rejected
08 Jan 00 |  Asia-Pacific
Tibetan Lama meets spiritual leader

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