The Dalai Lama has assured thousands of devotees that he is in fine health, despite receiving treatment at a leading medical clinic in the United States.
The Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader spoke to more than 3,000 followers Sunday at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
The 80-year-old told the crowd -- in both English and Tibetan -- that he is being treated for prostate problems at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Instead of making the faithful journey there, he decided to come to Minneapolis, 140 kilometers north of Rochester, to celebrate the Tibetan new year with them.
The Dalai Lama spoke of values, compassion and humility, telling the audience that the human capacity for compassion is key to promoting happiness, peace and physical health.
China has ruled Tibet with an iron fist since Communist troops took over the region in 1950. Beijing regards the Dalai Lama, who fled into exile in India in 1959, as a dangerous separatist who wants an independent Tibet.
The Dalai Lama has repeatedly refuted those claims and has advocated greater autonomy for Tibet within China through dialogue with Beijing.