The Dalai Lama on Monday turned 85, his birthday celebrated through prayers here at the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile which also condoled the deaths of Indian soldiers in the recent clash with Chinese troops.
In his message to the Buddhist community from his home in McLeodganj, the Tibetan spiritual leader asked people to recite the 'om mani padme hum' mantra.
With this practice, you will create some roots of virtue that you can dedicate to me -- Avalakiteshvara's messenger -- to live for 110 or 108 years or so, the Dalai Lama said.
This year, the celebrations remained a low-key affair due to restrictions imposed by the government in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
Prayers marked the occasion at the community's main temple in McLeodganj.
The Tibetan spiritual leader too said it was not possible to hold a large celebration due to the pandemic.
"And it's not necessary either," he said, asking his followers to recite the mantra if they wished to celebrate the occasion.
In a statement, the Tibetan parliament-in-exile said, 'We pray with great hope that His Holiness the Dalai Lama may live for a hundred aeons, that all his wishes may be seen fulfilled with spontaneity, and that the just cause of Tibet may be seen to prevail with indubitable certainty.'
It said the Dalai Lama was just 24 when he entered India from Tibet on March 17, 1959, almost a decade after China began the armed invasion of Tibet.
'The Dalai Lama adopted broad-mindedness and fortitude when the Chinese government acted with brutality and violence, relying only on the non-violent method that ensured no harm to the other side,' the central Tibetan administration, also known as the Tibetan government-in-exile, said.
As the situation in Tibet became 'even more critical and dangerous', it became 'inevitable' for His Holiness the Dalai Lama to leave, it said.
The statement said the People's Liberation Army of the communist-ruled China continued to make 'attempts to encroach into India from all across its border areas'.
'And recently, a dispute in Galwan Valley in Ladakh led to a clash between the troops from the two sides with the result that 20 Indian soldiers died and several others were injured.
'The Tibetan parliament-in-exile wishes to express our condolences to India for the tragedy which resulted from that unfortunate incident,' the statement said.
The Dalai Lama's office in Dharamshala said the spiritual leader received birthday greetings through Internet or social media from across the world, including former United States president George Bush.
'Laura (former first lady) and I send our very best wishes on your 85th birthday. I admire you, I care for you and I love you,' Bush said.
Indian Union minister Kiren Rijiju too wished him on his birthday.