Tibetans celebrate Karmapa Lama's 24th birthday in Dharamshala

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Dharamshala, June 26 (ANI): Tibetans living in exile in Dharamshala celebrated the 24th birthday of Ogyen Trinley Dorje, the 17th Karmapa on Friday.

Born on June 26, 1985 in Kham region of eastern Tibet, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, is heir to the Tibetan's spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

He is considered as the third most important leader after the Dalai Lama, and his authority is recognised by both Beijing and the Dalai Lama.

Buddhist monks and nuns assembled at the Gyuto monastery in Dharamsala to pray for the well-being and long life of the Karmapa.

However, this year, no singing and dancing programmes were organised because of the demise of Penor Rinpoche, head of the Nyingma sect and also due to the mass killings of Tibetans in Tibet last year.

"It is because of the demise of the head of the Nyingma sect, Penor Rinpoche and so many Tibetans have lost their lives in Tibet, so they didn't perform any sort of cultural events and they don't have big ceremony. Just to mark the birthday celebration, we have this prayer and puja ceremony only," said Tashi Wangchuk, a Tibetan youth.

Followers of Karmpa from far-flung places also came to take part in the celebration.

"I heard that the Karmapa's birthday was around this time so I wanted to see what was involved in that event because I know very little about Buddhism, so while I'm here I'm trying to learn a little bit more about Buddhism and different celebrations that take place throughout the year," said Michel, a tourist from the US.

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 India's northeast Sikkim. (ANI)

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