Dalai Lama leaves hospital after surgery

October 16, 2008 9:44:14 AM PDT
The Dalai Lama left a hospital in the Indian capital on Thursday, six days after undergoing surgery to remove gallstones, and he plans to visit Japan later this month, a senior aide said. "The Dalai Lama is fine and has fully recovered from the surgery," said Tenzin Takhla, the Tibetan spiritual leader's spokesman.

The Dalai Lama plans to spend the next few days in a Tibetan youth hostel in New Delhi meeting followers.

He normally spends several months a year traveling overseas to teach Buddhism and highlight the Tibetan struggle for more freedom under Chinese rule. The Dalai Lama lives in the northern Indian hill town of Dharmsala, where he set up his government-in-exile after fleeing Tibet following a failed 1959 uprising against Chinese rule.

After traveling to Japan, the 73-year-old Buddhist leader plans to visit Belgium, the Czech Republic and Poland in November and December, Takhla told The Associated Press.

In August, Dalai Lama spent four days in a Mumbai hospital and underwent tests for abdominal discomfort. He had gallstones for more than a decade.

Following March protests in Tibet, China has stepped up its campaign to vilify the Dalai Lama, accusing him of leading a campaign to split Tibet from the rest of the country.

The Dalai Lama has denied the allegations, saying he is only seeking greater autonomy for the Himalayan region to protect its unique Buddhist culture.

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