Today the Dalai Lama turns 80 years old, but don’t even think about getting him a gift (where would one send gifts to the Dalai Lama anyway?). In lieu of gifts, he’s asking for something simple, yet powerful. His Holiness is asking people to share photos and videos on social media of people treating each other kindly or just sharing kind words, accompanied by the hashtag #withcompassion.
We know the Dalai Lama himself will be sorting through the thousands of pictures (or at least his people will be), because he has his own official social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Clearly His Holiness just gets it.
Venerable Lama Tenzin Dhonden, founder and chair of Friends of the Dalai Lama nonprofit organization, explained the purpose of the birthday hashtag. “He has done so much to spread peace and compassion to the world – this is our opportunity to truly say thank you and to show him the incredible impact his work has on the global community,” he wrote in an email statement.
Encouraging compassion and kindness is what the Dalai Lama does best, and today his work will come full circle.
Here are a few of the #withcompassion pictures people have shared so far on Instagram: