The Dalai Lama Biography

Current Dalai Lama Quick Facts:

  • Current Dalai Lama: Tenzin Gyatso
  • Current Dalai Lama Reign: 17 November 1950 – present
  • Predecessor: 13th Dalai Lama
  • Father: Choekyong Tsering the 9th
  • Mother: Diki Tsering
  • Born: 6 July 1935
14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso
14th Dalai Lama – By *christopher* (Flickr: dalailama1_20121014_4639) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Dalai Lamas in the Beginning!

The Dalai Lama is an institution of great relevance in Tibetan Buddhism. The name means Ocean of Wisdom. The Tibetan people consider the incumbent to be the spiritual figurehead of Tibetan Buddhism and before the Chinese Communist rule of Tibet, The Dalai Lama was also the spiritual and temporal ruler of Tibet.  He is widely revered as an incarnation of the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara known in other words as the embodiment of compassion. Dalai Lama is respected by all the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism in addition to his importance within the Gelug sect.

The 3rd Dalai Lama

Historically, Dalai Lama as a title was first introduced in 1578 C.E. This is when Altan Khan of the Mongols gave it to Sonam Gyatso (1543-1588) commonly referred to as the Yellow Hat Sect and was the third leader of the Geluk school of Tibetan Buddhism.

Dalai Lama as a title was retroactively bestowed on his two predecessors from 1391 C.E to date. Since then, the Dalai Lama institution has been maintained by a successful lineage of re-born Tulkus.

The Dalai Lama was the head of the Tibetan Government between the 17th century and 1959. He governed a large part of the country from the capital of Lhasa.

The current Dalai Lama

The current Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso has lived in exile since 1959 from his homeland due to the country’s control by the Chinese. The institution of the Dalai Lama is much older than the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso.

World Recognition of the Dalai Lama

In 1989, the Nobel Peace Prize was worn by the Dalai Lama for his determination to negotiate a peaceful resolve to the Chinese occupation of Tibet. In our modern world, he is considered to be a voice of peace and dialogue.

Millions of Buddhists and non-Buddhist give great respect and do admire the office of the Dalai Lama for this though some of the position’s former office holders were conspicuous for their worldly habits. Furthermore, the position has had controversies, political intrigue as well as power struggles.

The Dalai Lama influenced the world due to his Pilgrimages throughout the globe and spread of multiculturalism. He has also made major contributions by using the technology and people get access to his teachings at all times through his written scripts including his website.

His Promotion of Peace

The incumbent Dalai Lama has met up with political leaders and religious leaders throughout the world focusing more on western society. He frequently attends world events like the tour de France and the Olympics to promote peace.

Lastly, Dalai Lama’s main activity is whereby he gives public talks for non-Buddhist audiences as well as teaching Buddhism all over the world. The best known teaching subject of the Dalai Lama is the Kalachakra tantra.

By 2014, he had deliberated a total of 33 times most frequently in India’s upper Himalayan regions as well western venues for instance:

  • Madison Square Garden in New York,
  • Barcelona,
  • Washington DC,
  • Los Angeles,
  • Toronto,
  • Sydney, and
  • Graz.

The Dalai Lama has also written numerous books in Buddhism comprising particular topics like Dzogchen which is a Nyingma practice. The Dalai Lama supports charities around the globe from the surplus amount he receives when his students or people attend his lectures though in India it is free.

He gives public talks for non-Buddhist audiences as well as the Buddhist teachings for example at the university of Michigan and Rutgers University (New Jersey). The Dalai Lama teachings continue to have an impact to many people around the globe especially Buddhism.


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