Prayers offered for Dalai Lama's long life at Dharamshala

ANI, March 14, 2007

Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh (India) -- Hundreds of Tibetans on Wednesday prayed for the long life of their spiritual leader at his adopted home in Dharamshala.

Exiled Tibetans and Buddhist monks in large numbers assembled at the Namgyal Monastery to offer prayers and later perform rituals.

The Tibetan Buddhist oracles, who were in a trance and who are believed to have the power of the deity within them, blessed the Dalai Lama.

"Today is the long life ceremony. So it's a request from both the human and non-human beings, to the Oracles to let his Highness live on for years and years ... for the Tibetan people and their freedom," said Tenzin, a Tibetan monk.

He said that prayers were also being conducted for the well being of all human beings and for the freedom of Tibet.

Also present at the occasion were government officials and ministers of the Tibetan Government-in-exile.

The Dalai Lama gave a discourse to the assembled Buddhists.

Analysts have been raising concern about the future of the movement afterhe Dalai Lama's death.

Some Tibetan leaders warn, if Beijing does not soon seize the chance for a solution that lets it keep the region, it may be too late to head off support for full independence -- especially among restless and frustrated youth.

The Dalai Lama, who has turned 71 and is the winner of the Nobel Peace prize in 1989 for his peacefulc campaign against Chinese rule, has renounced any goal of independence and says he only wants more autonomy for Tibet.