DHARMSALA, India (AP) — The Dalai Lama celebrated a milestone birthday by giving back.
The Tibetan spiritual leader marked his 87th birthday by inaugurating a library and museum in his hillside Indian headquarters.
He was cheered by a large number of followers, including American actor Richard Gere, a longtime disciple.
The Dalai Lama Library and Museum contain artifacts, teachings, and books on his life and struggle for Tibetan autonomy and the protection of its native Buddhist culture.
The Dalai Lama has made the Indian hillside town of Dharmsala his headquarters since fleeing from Tibet after a failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959.
China accuses the Dalai Lama of seeking to separate Tibet from China, but he says he only advocates substantial autonomy and protection of Tibet's culture.
Many people sent His Holiness well wishes for his birthday, including Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi.
Modi tweeted that he spoke to the Dalai Lama by phone.
“Conveyed 87th birthday greetings to His Holiness the Dalai Lama over [the] phone earlier today," Modi said. "We pray for his long life and good health."
Conveyed 87th birthday greetings to His Holiness the @DalaiLama over phone earlier today. We pray for his long life and good health.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) July 6, 2022
Since becoming prime minister eight years ago, this marks the second time Modi has publicly confirmed speaking with the Dalai Lama.