In the almost four-minute-long video, the Tibetan spiritual leader said: “Many people really show they love me. And many people actually love my smile.”
He added with a laugh: “In spite of my old age, my face is quite handsome.”
Thanking his supporters, he said: “I want to express my deep appreciation of all my friends who have really shown me love, respect and trust.” He also expressed gratitude towards India where he has continued to live after he fled Tibet in 1959.
According to the Free Tibet website: “Hundreds of thousands of Tibetans surrounded the Potala Palace in Lhasa fearing that the Dalai Lama was about to be kidnapped or assassinated. The uprising was brutally suppressed and the Dalai Lama was forced to flee into exile.”
The Associated Press reported that due to the pandemic, the Dalai Lama’s birthday celebrations were muted. But a birthday banner hung in the town square in Dharamshala. Many Tibetan monks distributed sweets and juice to the passers-by outside the closed Tsuglakhang temple in Mcleodganj in the state of Himachal Pradesh.
Talking about India, the Dalai Lama said: “Since I became a refugee and now settled in India, I have taken full advantage of India’s freedom and religious harmony.”
He said that he had great respect for India’s values such as “honesty, compassion and non-violence.” He also urged his followers to be more compassionate in his video message.
On his birthday on Tuesday, a small celebration, attended by mostly government officials, was held at the Central Tibetan Administration, Dharamshala. The Dalai Lama’s video message was played and it was followed by a cultural performance by the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts.
China claims Tibet as its territory and accuses the Dalai Lama of being a separatist. The leader however denies the allegation. China also doesn’t recognise the Tibetan government-in-exile.
In 1959, the Dalai Lama made Dharamshala, a hillside town in Himachal Pradesh his headquarters.
Sometimes, on his birthday, the Dalai Lama would also make an appearance and greet his supporters.
Meanwhile, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also called the Dalai Lama on his birthday, wishing him a “long and healthy life.”
Local reports said that last time on his birthday, Mr Modi did not wish the Dalai Lama in public after India’s face-off with Chinese troops in the Galwan valley.
Mr Modi tweeted: “Spoke on phone to His Holiness the @DalaiLama to convey greetings on his 86th birthday. We wish him a long and healthy life.”