Dalai Lama celebrates 87th birthday with the opening of library and museum

DHARMSALA (India) -- The Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, celebrated his 87th Birthday Wednesday by launching a library and museum at his hillside Indian headquarters.

Dalai Lama celebrates 87th birthday with the opening of library and museum

DHARMSALA (India) -- The Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, celebrated his 87th Birthday Wednesday by launching a library and museum at his hillside Indian headquarters.

A large number of people cheered him, including Richard Gere, an American actor and long-time disciple.

At the Tsuglakhang Temple, near his residence, hundreds of local residents, monks, and schoolchildren prayed for the health and well-being of Dalai Lama.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called the Dalai Lama and wished him well for his birthday.

"Conveyed greetings for His Holiness the @DalaiLama on his 87th Birthday via phone call earlier today. Modi tweeted that he prayed for his health and long life.

Modi is now the second person to publicly confirm that he spoke with the Dalai Lama in public since becoming prime minister in 2014. This acknowledgement is important given the deteriorating relations between India and China. China doesn't recognize Tibet's self-proclaimed government-in-exile, and accuses Tibet's Dalai Lama with trying to separate Tibet.

Since 1959, when he fled Tibet for a failed rebellion against Chinese rule, the Dalai Lama made Dharmsala, a hillside community, his home. India considers Tibet part of China, even though it hosts Tibetan exiles.

The Dalai Lama claims he is not a separatist, and says that he supports substantial autonomy and the protection of Tibet's Buddhist culture.

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