Tibetans refer to the head of the Gelug, or “Yellow Hat,” school of Tibetan Buddhism as the Dalai Lama because it is the youngest and most influential of the four main schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Tenzin Gyatso, a Tibetan refugee in India, is the 14th and current Dalai Lama.
The Dalai Lama is also revered as the spiritual heir of a line of tulkus who are seen as reincarnations of the Bodhisattva of Compassion, Avalokitevara. Since the 17th century, when the 5th Dalai Lama upheld Buddhist principles and traditions, his persona has stood as a symbol of Tibetan unity.
The Geluk school, which was politically and numerically powerful in Central Tibet, was led by the Dalai Lama, but his religious authority transcended sectarian borders. In spite of the fact that he was not a high lama of any one sect, he served as a unifying symbol of the Tibetan state and stood for Buddhist principles and traditions as a whole.
The fourteenth Dalai Lama has assumed the role of the ecumenical figure, uniting people of different faiths and parts of the world. He has become a symbol of Tibetan nationalism for Tibetans both in Tibet and in exile and he has sought to bridge sectarian and other conflicts among the exiled population.
Who is the 14th Dalai Lama?
Since 1940, the 14th Dalai Lama, also known as Gyalwa Rinpoche to the Tibetan people, has served as Tibet’s highest spiritual leader and political leader. He is revered as a Bodhisattva in the flesh, specifically a manifestation of the Sanskrit deity Avalokitevara or the Tibetan god Chenrezig.
In addition to being the Ganden Tripa, he is also the top monk of the Gelug School of Tibetan Buddhism. The Dalai Lama was given temporal responsibilities by the Ganden Phodrang, Tibet’s central authority, until his exile in 1959.
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When was the 14th Dalai Lama born?
On July 6, 1935, Lhamo Thondup was born into a farming and horse-trading family in the remote Tibetan community of Taktser (sometimes spelled Chija Tagtser) in the province of Qinghai.
He was one of three purported reincarnated Rinpoches from the same family and one of only seven children to survive childhood. Tsering Dolma, his eldest sister, was sixteen years older than he was when he was born. She agreed to go into exile with him so that they might establish Tibetan Children’s Villages.
The 13th Dalai Lama had identified his older brother, Thupten Jigme Norbu, as the reincarnation of the 6th Taktser Rinpoche, the highest Lama, when he was just three years old. The 16th Ngari Rinpoche, Tendzin Choegyal, his fifth brother, held this position.
Jetsun Pema, his older sister, dedicated the majority of her adult life to the Tibetan Children’s Villages initiative. His family does not speak either Amdo or Lhasa Tibetan, and the Dalai Lama has remarked that his first tongue was “a broken Xining language which was (a dialect of) the Chinese language.”
Democracy, Nonviolence, Religious Tolerance and Tibetan-Indian Relations
The Dalai Lama has stated that he is working to transmit India’s message of religious tolerance and nonviolence over the world. “I travel the world spreading the wisdom of India’s sages,” I say. According to him, democracy in India dates back many years.
He claims that great intellectuals from India taught Buddhism in Tibet, making India the teacher and Tibet the follower. He pointed out that the 20th century saw the deaths of millions of people in wars and the destruction of the economies of many nations. Let the twenty-first century be known for its openness and communication.
What is Dalai Lama apologizing for?
The spiritual head of Tibet has issued an apology after a video surfaced of him kissing a child on the lips and encouraging him to “suck my tongue” at a function in northern India.
Check out the tweet posted by him below:
— Dalai Lama (@DalaiLama) April 10, 2023
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