Gyatso, originally named Lhamo Dondrub, was born to a farming
family in Amdo, Tibet. Lhamo was raised mostly by his siblings,
since there were fifteen other children who were born in their
family. He was the fifth eldest of the nine who survived childhood.
Although his parents Choekyong and Diki Tsering were not often
around, they were aware of their responsibilities as parents.
age of two, there was a search party looking for the new incarnation
of the Dalai Lama. Supposedly, the head of the thirteenth Dalai
Lama turned and faced northeast, indicating where the next Dalai
Lama should be chosen. Tenzin then claimed to be the owner of
items that were previously owned by the Dalai Lama. It was from
here on out that Tenzin was referred to as the new Dalai Lama.
The necessary education that was necessary to truly fulfill
the duties of the Dalai Lama started at age six. In 1959, he
took his final test during the Monlam Festival. He passed and
was awarded the Lharampa degree, the highest-level geshe degree.
the new found Dalai Lama, Tenzin had a lot of pressure to fulfill
everyone’s expectations. As well as being one of the most
influential spiritual leaders of Tibetan Buddhism, the Dalai
Lama by tradition is also Tibet's Head of State and most important
political ruler. A lot of his time was spent following his expectations
as a spiritual guide for many.
of 1950, at the age of fifteen, with the country facing possible
war, Tenzin Gyatso was enthroned as the temporal leader of Tibet.
His governorship, however, was short. In October of that year
the army of the People's Republic of China entered the territory
controlled by the Tibetan administration, easily breaking through
the Tibetan defenders.
In February 2007, the Dalai Lama was named Presidential Distinguished
Professor at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, United States.
This was the first time that the leader of the Tibetan exile
community had accepted a university appointment.
Lama has initiated a series of tours in 46 nations. He has frequently
engaged on religious dialogue. He met with Pope Paul VI at the
Vatican in 1973. He met with Pope John Paul II in 1980 and also
later in 1982, 1986, 1988, 1990, and 2003. In 1990, he met in
Dharamsala with a delegation of Jewish teachers for an extensive
interfaith dialogue. He has since visited Israel three times
and met in 2006 with the Chief Rabbi of Israel. In 2006, he
met privately with Pope Benedict XVI. He has also met the Archbishop
of Canterbury, the late Dr. Robert Runcie, and other leaders
of the Anglican Church in London, as well as senior Eastern
Orthodox Church, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, and Sikh officials.
Pope John Paul II met the Dalai Lama in 2003, the Pope issued
an immediate statement to warn people not to be seduced by these
eastern beliefs as they will not bring salvation. The Dalai
Lama then replied that he understood, and that Tibetan Buddhism
was n ot for everyone. It was widely reported in the media that
the Vatican did not consider Tibetan Buddhism a proper religion.
December 1989 the Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize,
the chairman of the Nobel committee saying that the award was
"in part a tribute to the memory of Mahatma Gandhi."
The committee recognized his efforts in "the struggle of
the liberation of Tibet and the efforts for a peaceful resolution
instead of using violence." In his acceptance speech
he criticised China for using force against student protesters
during the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. He stated however
that their effort was not in vain. His speech focused on the
importance of the continued use of non-violence and his desire
to maintain a dialogue with China to try to resolve the situation.