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Tenzin Gyatso

The current Dalai Lama is His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso.

Table of contents
1 Early years
2 Political career
3 International influence
4 Writings of the Dalai Lama
5 Films about the Dalai Lama
6 References
7 See also
8 External links

Early years

He was born to a farming family as Lhamo Dhondrub on June 6, 1935, in the village of Taktser in the northeastern region of Tibet. At the age of two the child was recognized as the incarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso. Lhamo Dhondrub was, contemporaneously with being elevated to the status of Dalai Lama, renamed Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso ("Holy Lord, Gentle Glory, Compassionate, Defender of the Faith, Ocean of Wisdom"). Tibetans normally refer to His Holiness as Yeshe Norbu, the "Wishfulfilling Gem" or just Kundun - "The Presence."

His Holiness began his monastic education at the age of six. At 23 he sat for his final examination in the Jokhang Temple, Lhasa, during the annual Monlam (prayer) Festival in 1959. He passed with honours and was awarded the Lharampa degree, the highest level geshe degree (a doctorate of Buddhist philosophy).

Political career

Mao Zedong (center) with the Dalai Lama (right), early 1950s

His political leadership amongst the Tibetans became important especially after the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1950. In 1954 he travelled to Beijing to negotiate with Chinese leaders Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, and Deng Xiaoping; the talk was not fruitful. After a failed uprising of the Tibetans against People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1959, the 14th Dalai Lama fled to Dharamsala, in India on March 17 of that year.

In 1989, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

On May 14, 1995 the Dalai Lama proclaimed 6-year-old Gedhun Choekyi Nyima as the eleventh reincarnation of the Panchen Lama.

International influence

The Dalai Lama has been important in gaining Western sympathy for Tibetan self-determination. At various times, he has been denounced by the Chinese government as a supporter of Tibetan independence. However, he has stated that he is not necessarily for independence and would not object to a status in which Tibet has internal autonomy while the PRC manages defense and foreign affairs. There have been intermittent and quiet negotiations between the Dalai Lama and the government of the People's Republic of China, but these have generally proven fruitless.

The Dalai Lama has generally wished to discuss the issue of the status of Tibet, while the Chinese government has insisted that negotiations be limited on the conditions of the Dalai Lama's return to Tibet.

Among supporters of the Dalai Lama are a number of Hollywood actors, most notably Richard Gere, Steven Seagal, and the Beastie Boys.

The Dalai Lama and U.S. President
George W. Bush in the White House.

He speaks excellent English, which is of great use in gaining international support.

In September, 2003, an interviewer from the New York Times asked about his views on the U.S. led war on Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq, and on terrorism. The Dalai Lama responded "I feel only history will tell. Terrorism is the worst kind of violence, so we have to check it, we have to take countermeasures." [1]

Writings of the Dalai Lama

Other writings need to be added

Films about the Dalai Lama

Among the films that have been recently made about the 14th Dalai Lama are Kundun and Seven Years in Tibet.


  1. Anti-Defamation League Commends Dalai Lama for Condemning Terrorism

See also

External links