Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday at Southern California summit

(Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)
(Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)

The Dalai Lama celebrated his 80th birthday last weekend in Southern California, with hundreds of well-wishers attending a three-day Global Compassion Summit to mark the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader’s big day, with events being held at Anaheim’s Honda Center and the University of California, Irvine.

During his remarks Sunday, the Dalai Lama spoke of “awakening compassion” and the “transformative power of creativity and art,” India’s Economic Times reported.

The world renowned peace advocate drew cheers and even some protests during his Southern California stop.

“On this very special birthday we will have a chance to celebrate his accomplishments in many areas and hear his exciting view for the years to come,” said Venerable Lama Tenzin Dhonden, founder of the Friends of the Dalai Lama. “This milestone occasion is a joyous opportunity for people to come together in celebration of His Holiness’ life and achievements.”

Plans for the festivities included an 8-foot-tall birthday cake complete with maroon-and-gold frosting — the colors of the Dalai Lama’s Tibetan robes.

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The Dalai Lama, known the world over for his peace crusade, remains a controversial figure wherever he goes. The Chinese government accuses him of trying to separate Tibet and labels him “a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”

The Nobel Peace Prize winner also attended discussions at the University of California-Irvine. He arrived in Southern California after spending time with former president George W. Bush in Texas.

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