Tibetans mark Dalai Lama’s 84th birthday 

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  • Dolma Tsering offers some Tibetan butter tea to Kelly O’Reilly, left, legislative aide to state Rep. Daniel Carey, during a program to mark the 84th birthday of the Dalai Lama hosted by the Regional Tibetan Association of Massachusetts at Most Holy Redeemer Parish in Hadley on Saturday. The day was recognized by both the Massachusetts House and Senate as a “Day of Love and Compassion in the Commonwealth” and O’Reilly was on hand to read the House proclamation. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Penelope Young, left, 8, of Northampton and Shantel McCullough, 12, of Belchertown help blow out the candles on a cake marking the 84th birthday of the Dalai Lama during the Not Bread Alone lunch in Amherst on Saturday, July 6, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO / KEVIN GUTTING

  • A plate at the Not Bread Alone lunch on Saturday, July 6, 2019, in Amherst includes vegetarian dumplings made by members of the Regional Tibetan Association of Massachusetts to mark the 84th birthday of the Dalai Lama. —STAFF PHOTO / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Not Bread Alone volunteer Miranda Bushey of Florence lights candles on a cake marking the 84th birthday of the Dalai Lama before wheeling the dessert into the dining room to close the weekly Saturday lunch on July 6, 2019, in Amherst. —STAFF PHOTO / KEVIN GUTTING

  • The First Congregational Church of Amherst dining room was decorated with Tibetan flags, prayer flags and a portrait of the 14th Dalai Lama during the Not Bread Alone lunch to mark his 84th birthday on Saturday, July 6, 2019. On Wednesday, Regional Tibetan Association of Massachusetts members had made about 300 vegetarian Tibetan dumplings to contribute to Saturday's meal. —STAFF PHOTO / KEVIN GUTTING

  • The Tibetan National Anthem is sung at an event honoring the birthday of the 14th Dalai Lama on Sunday outside of First Churches on Sunday. BERA DUNAU

  • Nima Zidig, vice president of the Regional Tibetan Association of Massachusetts, speaks at an event honoring the birthday of the 14th Dalai Lama outside First Churches in Northampton on Sunday. Bera Dunau—Staff Writer

Staff Writer
Published: 7/8/2019 12:20:54 AM

NORTHAMPTON — The Regional Tibetan Association of Massachusetts honored the Dalai Lama’s 84th birthday over the weekend by participating in two events that gave back to the community.

The 14th Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, is the winner of the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize and an internationally-recognized advocate for the Tibetan people. Tibet is currently a part of China, which incorporated Tibet into itself in the 1950s. The Dalai Lama has lived in exile since he fled Tibet in 1959.

On Saturday at the Amherst Congregational Church, a vegetarian lunch was served at the Not Bread Alone soup kitchen, featuring dumplings made by the Tibetan community. Saturday also saw a birthday cake and celebration at Most Holy Redeemer Parish in Hadley.

On Sunday, the community provided the food for Cathedral in the Night’s weekly dinner outside First Churches of Northampton.

“We are very happy for this opportunity to put compassion into action,” said Nima Zidig, vice president of the Regional Tibetan Association of Massachusetts, speaking at the event.

Prior to the dinner, a ceremony was held featuring elements of both Buddhist and Christian traditions. Song and verbal prayer could also be heard at the event, which drew dozens of people.

Thondup Tsering, president of the Regional Tibetan Association of Massachusetts, said the Dalai Lama’s birthday wish is for people to live more compassionate lives.

“On behalf of the Regional Tibetan Association of Massachusetts, I would like to express our profound joy and gratitude and thank his holiness, the Great 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, for his leadership and lifelong commitment to promoting universal human values: Peace, religious harmony and safeguarding the Tibetan culture and identity,” said Tsering. “May his dream of returning to a free Tibet come true very soon.”

The Massachusetts House of Representatives and Senate also both issued citations congratulating the association and naming July 6 as a day of love and compassion. The house version of the citation was read at the Northampton event.

The vegetarian meal provided by the Tibetan community included “chicken” curry, dahl, dumplings and fried rice. As is the case with all Cathedral in the Night dinners, the meal was open to all, with no questions asked.

“I really appreciate that,” said Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa, D-Northampton, who attended the event.

This is the fourth year that Cathedral in the Night has worked with the Tibetan community, although it is the first dinner since the Regional Tibetan Association of Massachusetts became a registered nonprofit.

“This is really trying to put his teachings and words into practice,” said Tsering, who was pleased with Sunday night’s attendance.

Tsering first came to western Massachusetts in 1989 on a Fulbright scholarship.

A residence hall director at the University of Massachusetts, Tsering was also the owner of the late Lhasa Cafe in Northampton, a Tibetan restaurant.

The Rev. Steph Smith also felt that the event went well.

“It’s important that we go outside of comfort zones and really connect with other communities,” she said. “I think it enriches both of our traditions.”

 Smith said that Cathedral in the Night feeds up to 100 people during the summers. Dinners are held in front of First Churches from 5 to 6 p.m. every Sunday.

“We really encourage everybody to eat together,” said Smith. “It’s a community meal.”

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.




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