The Dalai Lama said he was in “excellent” health Saturday after doctors told him to scrap a tour of the United States as he returned to his home in northern India.

The 80-year-old Tibetan spiritual leader walked unaided from his plane after it landed at Dharamsala airport and spoke with a small group of followers who had gathered to welcome him back, before telling reporters that there was no cause for concern.

The Dalai Lama. Photo: WikiMedia

“I’m okay,” he said in brief comments. “I went for check-up, then basically excellent.”

He said that he had received some “advice” from his doctors but gave no further details.

The exiled Buddhist leader, who maintains a punishing schedule, had been due to embark on a tour of the US when doctors told him to rest.

He then checked in to the prestigious Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, according to CNN.

The Nobel laureate had been due to receive the prestigious Liberty medal in Philadelphia in recognition of his campaigning work on human rights.

Although he has been in generally good health, he was hospitalised in Mumbai in 2002 with an infection.

Concerns about the impact of his heavy workload also led him to step down as the political head of the exiled Tibetan leadership in 2011.

The Tibetan government in exile in India. Photo: HKFP.

The Dalai Lama fled across the Himalayas to India in 1959 in the aftermath of a failed uprising among Tibetans to Chinese rule.

Although he insists he does not seek independence for Tibet, China regards him as a “splittist” and takes a dim view of any governments who agree to meet the Dalai Lama.

Many observers believe that China is confident that the Tibetan movement will lose much of its potency and global appeal when the charismatic Dalai Lama dies.

The Dalai Lama has also increasingly spoken of succession and has not ruled out picking his reincarnation before his death, fearing that China would instead pick its own boy whom it would use to advance its agenda.

His stance has led Chinese communist rulers, who are officially atheist, to insist that the Dalai Lama can only reincarnate after his death.

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