from Martin Scorsese

Eighty years. A long time . . . the blink of an eye.

When I had the precious honor of telling your story in moving images, you opened my eyes. I will always be thankful to you.

What can I wish you on this occasion? What I wish for the world: courage, energy, focus, clarity, patience, compassion.

My very best wishes on the occasion of your 80th birthday.

Martin Scorsese is an award-winning American film director and producer.

* * *

from Daniel Goleman

Your Holiness,

What do you give someone who wants nothing? After spending time with you writing A Force for Good: The Dalai Lama’s Vision for Our World, I have a clearer idea of what you might like for your birthday—nothing for yourself, of course, but definitely something for all of us: a better future. Anyone who wants to honor your 80 years on the planet can align with your vision and, as you urge, act now, by going to www.joinaforce4good.organd giving you the kind of birthday present that would really please you.

Daniel Goleman is a best-selling American author.

* * *

from Patti Smith


May I be nothing

but the peeling of a lotus

papering the distance for You underfoot

one lone skin

to lift and fashion

as cap to cradle

Your bowing head

an ear to hear

the great horn

a slipper to mount

the temple step

one lone skin

baring this wish

May Your hands be full

of nothing

May Your toys

scatter the sky

tiny yellow bundles bursting like stars like smiles

and the laughter

of a bell


Patti Smith is an American singer-songwriter best known for her punk rock poetry.

* * *

from Thupten Jinpa Langri

Two things stand out in my memory from the day His Holiness was awarded the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize. When asked at the press conference how he felt about the prize, His Holiness responded, “For me personally, nothing special; I am still the same person. But I am really happy for those who had wished me to receive the prize.” When asked what he was going to do with the money, the Dalai Lama responded, “What money?” After being informed there is in fact a substantial amount that is awarded with the prize, the Dalai Lama said, “Excellent! I have always wanted to help Baba Amte’s colony for lepers in India. Now I can do this.” Having served the Dalai Lama closely as his principal translator for nearly three decades now, what inspires me most is that he makes the qualities so eloquently extolled in the Buddhist scriptures—humility, compassion, wisdom, integrity, patience, concentration—come to life. He shows us how we can live a life dedicated to both inner transformation and serving others while, on a personal level, maintaining a genuine sense of joy.

Thupten Jinpa Langri is the Dalai Lama’s primary translator and interpreter.

* * *

from Robert Thurman

In devoted offering to His Holiness the Dalai Lama

On His 80th Birthday, Praising Him in Company of Shakyamuni


To Shakyamuni, Buddha of our era,

Founder of the inner revolution in our world,

In deepest gratitude and ever-growing admiration—

Your champion insight into selflessness

Inexhaustible love for beings,

Powerful comprehension of the minute processes

Of history as theater of human evolution,

And inconceivable competence in freeing beings—

All moved You to teach the deep relativity you found,

And begin the cool, inexorable, inner revolution,

Turning human progress away from violent conquests,

Toward scientific wisdom’s conquest of one’s own self;

Founding the Jewel Community for love of freedom,

Introducing generosity, justice, and tolerant patience,

Enterprise, concentration, and creative genius,

To truly civilize our planet home of living beings,

In Your Buddhaverse You called “Tolerable!”

And at our postmodern end of history,


To Your Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama,

Bodhisattva God of Loving Gaze incarnate,

Prince of Peace, Philosopher King of Tibet,

Oceanic Wisdom and compassion Teacher of the world,

World Leader by example of all responsible world leaders—

In amazed appreciation of Your creative effort

For the people of Tibet and of the whole world—

Champion of the teaching, deep, vast, and exquisite,

Simple Buddhist monk, Shakyamuni’s devoted heir,

Upholder of the common human religion of kindness,

Explorer of the sciences of mind, spirit, society, and nature—

You exemplify the fine intelligence and the good heart,

You bring us boundless hope and cheerfulness,

The key of positive response when all seems doomed,

You make peace the path as well as thus the realistic goal,

You live again and again to continue inner revolution,

Inspiring for all beings, believers or nonbelievers,

From all world religions and all world sciences,

Blessing other species and all of nature!

Robert Thurman is Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Studies at Columbia University.

* * *

from Anne Waldman


for the 14th Dalai Lama with many happy returns

swept away all suffering gathered it up

in a quantum leap sucked it up until it returned

and when he looked back over his shoulder & saw

all suffering come back in a great wave, all suffering


riding in, filling up nooks & crannies & crevices

& templates of the world all suffering filling neurons

& quarks and leptons, troubling minds of fathers, mothers

sisters, brothers, lovers all animal suffering sentient beings

suffering toxins of passion, aggression, ignorance in the middle of

night strapped in demon-mind, nowhere to hide when all

pounding suffering rides in & mind splits in a thousand pieces

Chenrezig wept & head split in a thousand pieces

& mighty red fire buddha Amitabha leans in, & puts the

puzzle back together, wires it with tantric thread, adds some

extra arms extra heads, “a conglomeration of tendencies”

this wisdom body to rid the world of all suffering

more arms & heads take charge, built it better, a deity

to maximize power of bodhicitta to ease all suffering

& now Chenrezig had a thousand arms in all directions

of space with numerous accoutrements & under those arms

a thousand hearts better to banish all suffering: suffering

of Tibet, of India, suffering of Pakistan, of Afghanistan

Iraq wherever his crystal eyes land whatever map of suffering

he alights on keep emptying Europe, USA empty, Israel-Palestine empty,

China, Russia, Japan eleven heads with eleven third eyes

& more wisdom eyes in all the pores of his body

Chenrezig walks among us,

humble prince toward all systems of empire

Chenrezig walks among us as all constituent forms—

precious ink, diamond scepter, skullcup of blood,

thighbone trumpet—dissolve in mind & lotus at his feet rises

again through cracks of a concrete city or charnel ground’s

eternal war, starflowers shoot at dark of a distant galaxy

anywhere out of this world his heart is that big

& dharma gates are endless he enters every one of them,

typhoons & famine dissolve, emptiness as form

to come back at you, blowback is love, come back at you

multiverse moves in the night that never sets is it cold out there?

will Tibet be liberated on judgment day & we’ll relight

the butter lamps of the dark age banish the syndicates of samsara

put away texts of doom, turn the wheel again in our frail



Chenrezig walks among us & no identity endures

yet bodhisattvas are ever active, invisible elves

swirling shamans, shapeshifting wizards every hour

dedicating the merit no endtime here but aspiration to press

harder, don’t tarry! don’t tarry! keep trying sweep

all suffering away all pockets of the multiverse

keep vow with mudra, with mantra every mala bead a thought

for others, golden thread of enlightenment in every step

in all directions of space push push against the darkness

our Cartersian doubt, quantum dimensions to worry

while dharma bends in all dimensions simultaneously

& extinction is nothing (but the extinction of all suffering

inside the extinction of self whose form is emptiness)

to power of compassion, no rock left unturned, om ah hum

Chenrezig walks among us, yellow hat scientist of compassion


I once watched His Holiness in the Rockies, his helicopter

like ephemeral dragon fly, descend to the Great Stupa of Dharmakaya.

He came toward us, radiant vision of compassion

in the shimmering autumnal light….

I saw Chenrezig among us, sarva mangalam.


Anne Waldman, poet, teacher, performer, and activist, is the author most recently ofThe Iovis Trilogy: Colors in the Mechanism of Concealment, Gossamurmur, Jaguar Harmonics, and the forthcoming Voice’s Daughter of a Heart Yet to Be Born. She is a founder of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University.

* * *

from Meredith Monk

To His Holiness,

You have been a beacon for me and for

countless people all over the world. May your

light continue to shine for many years to come.

Happy Birthday.

With love and gratitude,

Meredith Monk

Meredith Monk is a world-renowned American composer and performer.

* * *

from Lobsang Sangay

On this landmark occasion of the 80th birthday of His Holiness the Great 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, I offer His Holiness my deepest reverence, prayers, and warmest wishes.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama calls himself a simple Buddhist monk. But for Tibetans, His Holiness is the life and soul of Tibet and the Tibetan people. For Buddhists, he is the human manifestation of the bodhisattva of compassion. And for the world, he is an icon of peace, nonviolence, and compassion. I humbly pray for his long life. May all his wishes come true.

Lobsang Sangay is the Sikyong (political leader) of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile.

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