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Portrait of The 14th Dalai Lama

The 14th Dalai Lama

 Buddhist - Tibetan | The Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Dharamsala, India


Born July 6th, 1935 to a poor family in Taktser with the name Lhamo Thondup, this young man would grow up to be the Religious and Spiritual leader of a nation.

The Dalai Lama is held to be the reincarnation of the previous Dalai Lama, the first being born in 1351 CE, who is considered to be a manifestation of the Bodhisattva of CompassionThe Dalai Lama's spiritual lineage through Avalokiteshvara, or Chenrezig -- the Bodhisattva of Compassion, makes the Dalai Lama the seventy-fourth in a lineage that can be tracked back to a Brahmin boy who lived at the time of Prince Siddharta, the Buddha himself.

His older brother, Thupten Jigme Norbu, had already been recognized as the reincarnation of a high lama named Taktser Rinpoche.  Because of his older brother, it was considered nearly unthinkable that the newborn son would be an incarnation as well, even with the few auspicious events that happened at and shortly after his birth.  It would be when Lhamo Thondup was about three that, due to auspicious signs and visions, a party of monks would be lead to him in the little village and almost immediately would be acknowledged as the new Dalai Lama.

From late 1949 to mid 1950, the Dalai Lama would start having difficulties with the Chinese "People's Liberation Army" (PLA).  What started as border raids, ended up on October 7, 1950 as a 40,000 troop invasion across the Drichu river.

A couple of weeks before the Dalai Lama was fully enthroned as the temporal leader of Tibet, his eldest brother would arrive in Lhasa after being a virtual prisoner in his monastery in Kumbum.  The Chinese had tried to indoctrinate Thupten Jigme Norbu to the new Communist way of thinking and had allowed him to go to Lhasa to convince his younger brother to accept Chinese rule and if not, kill him.

The United States and Great Britain made it clear that they were not going to come to the defense of Tibet against China, so in an effort to prevent a full-scale invasion he sent a delegation to Beijing to open a dialog with the Chinese.  This delegation had no powers beyond attempting to convince China from invading Tibet.  On May 23, 1951 the People's Republic of China announced to the world that they had a signed "Seventeen-Point 'Agreement' for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet" with what China called the "Local Government of Tibet."  The delegation had never had such authority according to the Dalai Lama who also says that the Tibetan seal was a forgery.

After having received an explicit order from the Nechung Oracle on March 17, 1958, the Dalai Lama left Tibet and started his exile in India which had already agreed to provide asylum for him and his followers.  During his meetings with Nehru, the Indian Prime Minister, he convinced Nehru to undertake the formation of an independent "Society for Tibetan Education" within the Indian Ministry of Education, which would leave all the expenses of the education of the children of the Tibetan refugees on the Indian government.

On June 20, 1959 the Dalai Lama called a press conference and formally repudiated the Seventeen-Point Agreement.  Every year the Dalai Lama has given a statement on the anniversary of the Tibetan People's Uprising on March 10th.  In 1989 the Dalai Lama was awarded the Noble Peace Prize.

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