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14th Dalai Lama Biography

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Dalai Lama Biography
Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama
Tenzin Gyatso, (Lhamo Thondup) the 14th Dalai Lama was born on July 6, 1935 in province of Amdo, in Tibet.

The 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso's birth name was Lhamo Dhondup, he was born in a small village called Taktser in the province of Amdo, in the northeastern part of Tibet. The 14th Dalai Lama was born to a farming family, he had two sisters and four brothers.

Lhamo Dhondup was two years old when a search party from the Tibetan Government was sent to find the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama. They had been lead to his house by numerous signs, the first sign was when they discovered that the embalmed body of the 13th Dalai Lama's(Thupten Gyatso) head had turned from facing south to the northeast, this was recognized as the direction in which they would find the next Dalai Lama. Next the Regent, himself a senior lama, had a vision whilst looking into the water of a sacred lake called Lhamo Lhatso, here he saw some Tibetan letters Ah, Ka and Ma. He then had a vision of a three story monastery that had a gold and turquoise roof and a path that lead from the monastery up a hill. Next he saw an image of small house with an odd shaped guttering. He felt that the letters Ah referred to the province Amdo, so the search party was sent out to this province.

The members of the search party arrived in Kumbum, at this time they realized that if Ah had referred to Amdo then surely kA must indicate the monastery at Kumbum, which did have three stories and a turquoise roof. Now there was one last part of the vision to find and that was a nearby house with a strangely shaped roof. After searching some neighboring villages they came across a house that fitted the description and were quite sure that the new Dalai Lama was not far away from being found.

The party didn't reveal who they were and their real purpose for them being there. They observed the small child of the house the first night and left in the morning, only to return a couple of days later as a formal party. They gave the small child Lhamo Dhondup, some relics and things that belonged to 13th Dalai Lama as well as some similar items that did not. This was a form of test and on every occasion the child correctly identified what belonged to the 13th Dalai Lama by saying "It's mine, It's mine." This had convinced them that they had found the next incarnation of the Dalai Lama. They renamed Lhamo Dhondup, Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso ("Holy Lord, Gentle Glory, Compassionate, Defender of the Faith, Ocean of Wisdom").

At the age of six Tenzin Gyatso who was now recognized as the 14th Dalai Lama, began his education. He was taken from his parents to Kumbum monastery to begin his first teaching's. At age 25 the Dalai Lama completed the Geshe Lharampa Degree (Doctorate of Buddhists Philosophy) in 1959. He also took at age 24, took the preliminary examinations at each of the three monastic universities: Sera, Ganden and Drepung. He sat his final exam in the Jokhang, Lhasa during the annual Monlam Festival of Prayer, this festival is held in the first month of every year in the Tibetan calendar. His Holiness past with honors, he was also was awarded the Lharampa degree, the highest level geshe degree.

Not only is the Dalai Lama considered the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, the Dalai Lama in Tibetan culture also assumes head of State which gives him full political control of the state and government. On the 17th of November, 1950, His Holiness at the age of fifteen was enthroned as the temporal leader of Tibet; due to the People's Republic of China army invading Tibet in 1949. In 1954, His Holiness sent a delegation to Beijing, China, to negotiate a peace deal with Mao Tse-tung and other Chinese leaders. He also sent three other delegations out, one was sent to America and the others to Great Britain and Nepal to ask for assistance.

With China now controlling the east of Tibet, the Dalai Lama moved to the south of Tibet with other senior government officials. This would allow His Holiness to easily escape into India if the situation deteriorated. With China's ruthless policy in Eastern Tibet, it didn't take for an uprising to occur amongst the Tibetan people. On 10th of march 1959, the capital of Tibet, Lhasa, had its largest demonstration ever, the people called for China to withdraw from Tibet completely and at the same time they reaffirmed Tibet's independence. The Chinese army didn't take long to crush the uprising. The Dalai Lama escaped to India where he already had arranged with the Indian Government to seek political asylum. His Holiness was followed by about 30,000 Tibetan refugees to the city of Dharamsala, in northern India. Today there are about 120,000 Tibetan refugees living in exile Dharamsala, it now is often referred to as "Little Lhasa," the seat of the Tibetan Government-in-exile.

The Dalai Lama fully realized the importance of keeping the Tibetan culture strong in their new homeland. He created an educational system that would teach the Tibetan children about their history, language, culture and religion. In 1959, The Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts was formed. The Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies also became the primary university for Tibetans in India. He also helped re-establish over 200 hundred monasteries so as to preserve Tibetan Buddhist teachings, which is the essence of the Tibetan way of life.

In 1959, 1961, and 1965, His Holiness went to the United Nations and appealed to them for the people of Tibet. The General Assembly agreed to adopt three resolutions, these resolutions stated that China would respect the human rights of Tibetans and their desire for self-determination. The Dalai Lama set up a draft in 1963, the draft included a democratic constitution for Tibet, as well as reforms to democratize the Tibetan Government in Exile.

In 1987, at the Congressional Human Rights Caucus held in Washington, D.C, he also proposed a Five-Point Peace Plan regarding a peaceful solution to the future status of Tibet. The plan was to have Tibet become a sanctuary; a "zone of peace", it called for China to stop its population transfer policy that threatens the very existence of the Tibetans. It also called for restoration of fundamental human rights and democratic freedoms, a restoration and protection of Tibet's natural environment and the abandonment of China's use of Tibet for the production of nuclear weapons and dumping of nuclear waste. The last part of the plan was for a Commencement of earnest negotiations on the future status of Tibet and of
relations between the Tibetan and Chinese peoples.

On the 15th of June, 1988, His Holiness proposed a similar plan to members of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France. He expanded on the last point of the Five-Point Peace Plan, he proposed that Tibet would have a self-governing democratic system, "in association with the People's Republic of China." He also proposed that the Chinese Government would continue to remain responsible for Tibet's foreign policy and defense. In 1991, the Tibetan Government-in-Exile rejected the plan because of China's current negative attitude towards the ideas expressed in the proposal.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama has received many awards throughout his lifetime due to his push for peace and his concern for environmental problems around the world. Some of these include, the Key to Los Angeles in September 1979, the Raoul Wallenberg Human Rights Awards from the Congressional Rights Caucus Human Rights in 1989, Advancing Human Liberty from the Freedom House in 1991, the Earth Prize from the United Earth and U.N. Environmental Program in 1991,the Roosevelt Four Freedoms Award from the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute in 1994, and an Honorary Doctor of Law Degree from the University of British Columbia on 2004.

Perhaps Dalai Lama's most notable award was the Nobel Peace Prize, which he received on the 10th December, 1989. The Dalai Lama was officially awarded it because the committee wished to recognize his efforts in the struggle of the liberation of Tibet and the efforts for a peaceful resolution instead of using violence. In his remarks he said, "The prize reaffirms our conviction that with truth, courage and determination as our weapons, Tibet will be liberated. Our struggle must remain nonviolent and free of hatred."

In his life the Dalai Lama has traveled to more than 62 countries, covering six continents. He has met with prime ministers, crowned rulers and presidents. He has also held talks with many well-known scientists and religious leaders. The 14th Dalai Lama has authored more than 72 books.

His Holiness describes himself as “a simple Buddhist monk”.

See also: Dalai Lama Quotes, Religious Leaders, Activists

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Dalai Lama Biography

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