The 14th Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, has turned 80 surrounded by admirers at a public summit in southern California.
The Dalai Lama, whose name is Tenzin Gyatso, celebrated on Monday at the Global Compassion Summit, a three-day conference in the cities of Anaheim and Irvine.
The monk spent the day as the guest of honour at public discussion panels on the subjects of climate change action and “wisdom, vision and experience” at the University of California, Irvine.
He was lauded by admirers from Nobel laureate Jody Williams to singer Gloria Estefan and applauded by the more than 5000 people in the audience.
At the conference’s start the day before, thousands of fans sang Happy Birthday as the spiritual leader blew out candles on a towering golden cake, then cut himself a slice.
His birthday wish was “the same as all beings. I wish to live a happy life,” he said on Sunday, according to his website.
“My life is dedicated to the well-being of others. If humanity is happy, then I’ll be happy, because each of us is dependent on others,” the Dalai Lama said.
Organisers began the celebration on Sunday, to mark the birthday in his birthplace of Tibet.
The Dalai Lama has lived in exile in Dharamsala, India, since 1959.
The Central Tibetan Authority, Tibet’s government in exile, celebrated his birthday there according to the Tibetan calendar, on June 21.