Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama takes to the Stage with Patti Smith at Glastonbury

Rock legend Patti Smith surprised the audience when she bought the Dalai Lama out on stage during her Glastonbury set yesterday. The spiritual leader was appearing at the festival to talk about environmental issues, and made the impromptu appearance ahead of his 80th birthday on Monday.

Smith honoured the spiritual leader stating: “Glastonbury is the festival of the people, and it would be very nice if the festival wished his Holiness a happy birthday.” The crowd erupted in a chorus before Smith read a special birthday poem.

The Dalai Lama, who had taken to the stage already once that day to address the “unthinkable” violence in Syria, Iraq and Nigeria, addressed Smith and the audience with the statement:

“Thank you, thank you. Dear sisters and brothers, I really appreciate so many people’s expressions of warmth, and I very much reciprocate it. I have dedicated my body, speech and mind to the well-being of others, so when people show these warm feelings [back to me], that gives me more enthusiasm. So I very much appreciate it.

Most of you have white hair – but the voice and the physical action looks very youthful. So that gives me encouragement myself. I’m now 80, but I should be more active like you.”

Smith and his Holiness are hardly strangers, having met at World Peace Conference in Berlin in 1995. She has since written poems for him, performed at several Tibet House concerts and spoken about what she has learned from him in interviews.

Smith played a set of career highlights before closing with the call to action, “Use your voice!”