Dharamsala, June 26 : Exiled Tibetan Buddhists living in Dharamsala are celebrating the 23rd birthday of Ugyen Trinley Dorje, the 17th Karmapa and heir to their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, with day-long celebrations on Thursday.
Hundreds of Tibetans chanted hymns praying for peace and harmony and performed traditional dances as Dorje cut the cake.
"They are praying for the Karmapa Lama's long life. They are also praying for world peace. The reason is to free everybody from sufferings," said Lama Phungstok, the personal secretary to Karmapa.
The Karmapa Lama, who fled to India in January 2001, following religious suppression and human rights violation by the Chinese, is now settled in Dharamsala. He is the head of the Karma Kagyu sect of Buddhism, which is headquartered at the Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim.
Thrinley has been granted refugee status by the Indian Government.
The 17th Karmapa Lama is the highest Tibetan lama whose authority is recognised by both Beijing and the Dalai Lama.