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The Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama
Tenzin Gyatso, is a revered, internationally known spiritual leader. He is considered to be both the head of state and the spiritual leader of Tibet. With the invasion of Tibet by China in 1949, the Dalai Lama has consistently campaigned for his country’s freedom, tirelessly traveling and speaking on this subject as well as aspects of Buddhism and how it contributes to peace. For this, the Dalai Lama won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.

The Dalai Lamas are believed to be manifestations of Chenrezig, the Bodhisattva of Compassion and the patron saint of Tibet. Bodhisattvas are enlightened beings who have chosen to be reborn, postponing their own nirvana, in order to serve humanity. This the 14th Dalai Lama has done in droves.

Born on July 6, 1935, to a farming family in northeastern Tibet, he was named Lhamo Dhondup. At the age of two, he was recognized as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso, and he began his monastic education at age six. He had a rigorous educational program, with five major and five minor subjects, covering Tibetan art and culture, Sanskrit, medicine, and Buddhist philosophy, as well as poetry, music and drama, and astrology, to name only some of the subjects. At 23 he passed his final examinations at Lhasa with honors and was awarded the Geshe Lharampa degree, which is equivalent to a doctorate in Buddhist philosophy.

The Dalai Lama assumed full political power in 1950, after China’s invasion of Tibet. He pursued a peaceful solution to the invasion until 1959, when he was forced into exile. Since then he has lived in Dharamsala, in northern India, which serves as the seat of the Tibetan political government in exile. The Dalai Lama has repeatedly appealed to the United Nations for resolutions on Tibet, and also been successful in swaying world opinion to his cause. He proposed the Five Point Peace Plan for Tibet in 1987, viewing it as an initial step to a worsening Tibetan solution.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama has consistently and tirelessly been a champion for non-violence, not only in his own country, but in the larger world. This has made him an inspiration to millions. He has traveled to more than 62 countries on 6 continents, along the way meeting with presidents, premieres, heads of state, and royalty. He has also enjoyed dialogues with scientists and every day people. He has won over 84 awards, honorary doctorates and prizes, and he is known for his writing, authoring over 72 books, many of which reach bestseller status. His books include, My Land and My People, A Simple Path, How to Practice, The Art of Happiness, and The Universe in a Single Atom.

His Holiness adheres to the Three Main Commitments in Life. His first commitment is the promotion of human values such compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, contentment and self-discipline. His second is the promotion of religious harmony and understanding among the world’s major religions. The third is his commitment to the Tibetan issue. He will act as a spokesman for the Tibetans struggle for freedom until a solution is reached. His Holiness says he will carry on with the first two commitments until his last breath.

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