Tibetans in India celebrate as Dalai Lama turns 78

BYLAKUPPE, India (AP) — Thousands of Tibetans waved banners and danced and schoolchildren sang prayers Saturday at a Tibetan university in southern India in celebration of the Dalai Lama’s 78th birthday.

Speaking after an interfaith meeting, the Tibetans’ spiritual leader called for love and compassion to promote world peace.

Turning to a Muslim priest, the Dalai Lama said the real meaning of jihad, or holy war, was “to combat our negative emotions.”

“Jihad is not beating or killing (others),” he said.

He said 150,000 Tibetans living abroad represent “6 million Tibetans (in China) who have no freedom or opportunity to express what they feel.”

The Dalai Lama has lived in exile in India since 1959. Beijing accuses him of seeking to separate Tibet from China, but he says he wants only wide autonomy under Chinese rule.

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