Image: Dalai Lama and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy
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The Dalai Lama and the first lady of France, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, attend the inauguration of a Buddhist temple in southern France. news services
updated 8/27/2008 10:48:31 AM ET 2008-08-27T14:48:31

The Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, has been admitted to a hospital in India with "abdominal discomfort" but there was no cause for concern, doctors said on Thursday.

The 73-year-old spiritual leader, who cancelled trips trips to Mexico and the Dominican Republic after he complained of fatigue was "cheerful" after reaching the hospital in Mumbai, a hospital spokesman said.

"He has just been admitted for abdominal discomfort, investigation will commence tomorrow morning and there is no cause for concern," Mohan Rajan, the spokesman, said from Mumbai.

"We cannot tell you for how many days he will stay in the hospital at the moment."

The Nobel Peace Prize winner returned to Dharamsala, the north Indian town where Tibet's self-proclaimed government-in-exile is based, on Sunday after a two-week visit to France.

The visit focused mainly on lectures on Buddhism, but during it he also criticized Chinese policies in Tibet.

He told Le Monde in an interview that Chinese troops had fired on protesters in eastern Tibet on August 18, and that since protests against Chinese rule broke out in March, 400 people had been killed in the Lhasa area alone.

'He's fine'
"All I can say is that he is fine," Chhime Chhoekyapa, the Dalai Lama's aide saod from Mumbai on Thursday.

On arrival, the Dalai Lama was escorted by hospital officials to his room, where doctors carried out a preliminary check-up, his aide said.

"He is resting and has not had any visitor since he reached the hospital," Chhoekyapa, who accompanied the Dalai Lama, said by telephone.

The Dalai Lama spends several months of the year away from Dharamsala, delivering religious lectures and speaking about what he calls the suffering of Tibetan people under Chinese rule.

In recent years, doctors have increased medical checks to ensure that the Lama was in good health.

"His holiness is in good health, he retires early in the evening and gets up early in the morning," Chhoekyapa said.

Medical tests in Mumbai
The Dalai Lama would return to recuperate in the north Indian hill town of Dharmsala, where he has had his headquarters since fleeing Tibet in 1959 after an abortive uprising against China, said Thupten Samphel, the spokesman of the self-declared Tibetan government-in-exile, on Wednesday.

"He has been going to Mumbai for regular health checkups on advice from his doctors for quite a long time," said Samphel. He said all appointments and visits would be canceled for three weeks.

While the Dalai Lama is generally thought to be in good health, he has canceled events due to exhaustion before.

Since the outbreak of violence in Tibet, China has stepped up its campaign to vilify him, blaming him for recent unrest which Beijing says was part of a campaign to split the Himalayan region from the rest of China.

He has denied the allegations and says he only wants greater autonomy for the Himalayan region to protect its Buddhist culture.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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