Taiwan Foreign Ministry wishes Dalai Lama happy birthday

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama smiles as he reads from a book during an event at the Kirti Monastery in Dharmsala, India, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019. Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama presided over a function marking the 25th founding anniversary of the monastery in exile. (AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia)

TAIPEI (The China Post) — The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA, 外交部) tweeted a happy birthday message to the Dalai Lama on Monday.

“All the very best from Taiwan on this most auspicious of occasions. We pray for the happiness, good health and long life of his holiness,” the tweet said in a move that will further strain cross-strait relations.

On Sunday, His Holiness The Dalai Lama addressed a Taiwanese audience via video link from Dharamshala.

The Dalai Lama previously visited Taiwan in person in 1997, 2001 and 2009. However, due to political tensions and the recent COVID-19 pandemic, the Dalai Lama has not been able to return.

Nonetheless, the Dalai Lama stated that ever since he visited Taiwan, he has felt a closeness and connection to the island nation. He expressed hope that he would one day be able to visit Taiwan again. 

He stated via Twitter on Sunday that “As the political scenario changes I may be able to visit Taiwan again. I hope for that. But it is difficult to say this at this point in time. But whether I am physically able to be there or not, in spirit, I am with you. Stay healthy.”

Ahead of his 85th birthday, the Dalai Lama held teaching on Mind Training for over 1,300 people, including thousands of others who watched the lesson online.

The focus of the lesson was on the Eight Verses of Training the Mind by Geshe Langri Tangpa. 

The Dalai Lama currently resides in India after fleeing his hometown of Tibet in 1959 in fear of the Chinese Communist Party.