Spiritual Leader of Tibet
06 July 1935
Works & Achievements
His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the spiritual leader of Tibet. Recognized as the "Man Of Peace", Dalai Lama was awarded the Noble Prize in 1989 for adapting peaceful methods to find a solution for the much debated Tibetan issues.
His Holiness, Tenzin Gyatso, is the fourteenth and the present Dalai Lama. The temporal leader of Tibetans was born on July 6, 1935 and is considered to be a rebirth of his predecessor. Simply referred to as His Holiness - the Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso is the spiritual leader of the Tibetans. The Dalai Lamas are traditionally regarded as the manifestations of Avalokiteshvara or Chenrezig, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, who choose to serve the people, and Tenzin Gyatso is no exception.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama was born to a peasant family in Tibet. Originally named ‘Lhamo Thondup’, he was the fifth amongst the 16 children of the family, who lived in a small village of Taktser, in the province of Amdo, Tibet. Tsering Dolma, eighteen years elder than him, was the eldest child of the family. Tenzin Gyatso was recognized as the reincarnation of the thirteenth Dalai Lama at the tender age of two.
Tenzin Gyatso started his monastic education when he was six years old. He was preached by Yongdzin Ling Rinpoche and Yongdzin Trijang Rinpoche (Junior Tutor). He studied Buddhist philosophy, Tibetan art and culture, Sanskrit, medicine and logic. At the age of eleven, the young Dalai Lama met Austrian mountaineer Heinrich Harrer, who taught him about the outside world. He was awarded the Geshe Lharampa Degree (Doctorate of Buddhist Philosophy) at the age of 25.
After China’s invasion of Tibet, in 1949, His Holiness the Dalai Lama was called upon to take charge as the Head of the State and Government. In 1954, he went to Beijing to hold peace talks with Mao Tse -Tung and other Chinese leaders, including Chou En-Lai and Deng Xiaoping. Dalai Lama paid a visit to India in 1956, for the celebration of Buddha Jayanti. During the visit, he met the then Prime Minister Nehru and held talks with him, regarding the deteriorating conditions in Tibet.
Dalai Lama had to seek exile in India in 1959, when Chinese military repressed the Tibetan national uprising. Since then, he has been residing at Dharamsala, in the northern part of India. He also set up the Government of Tibet in Exile in Dharamsala, which is known as “Little Lhasa”. His Holiness the Dalai Lama appealed to the United Nations during his exile in India, seeking justice for Tibet. As a result, the United Nations General Assembly passed three resolutions on the question of Tibet - in 1959, 1961 and 1965.
In 1963, Dalai Lama promulgated a draft constitution for Tibet, under the name ‘The Charter of Tibetans in Exile’, which assures a democratic form of government for Tibet. The draft constitution was based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and comprised of freedom of speech, belief, assembly and movement. With the aim of preserving the Tibetan identity and its rich heritage, Dalai Lama has established educational, cultural and religious institutions in the last two decades.
Five-Point Peace Plan
His Holiness the Dalai Lama continued to take initiatives and find a solution for the Tibetan issues. In 1987, he proposed a Five-Point Peace Plan at the Congressional Human Rights Caucus. This plan required the designation of Tibet as a zone of peace and called for restoration of fundamental rights and democratic freedoms to Tibetans. Apart from this, the Peace Plan called for the end of China’s use of Tibet, for the production of nuclear weapons and the disposal of nuclear waste. The plan also called for urging "earnest negotiations" on the future of Tibet and relations between the Tibetan and Chinese people.
In June 1988, Dalai Lama proposed a plan similar to the Five-Point Peace Plan, when he was addressing the members of the European Parliament, in Strasbourg. The Plan aimed at re-establishing Tibet’s own identity and restoring the fundamental rights of the Tibetans, while accommodating China’s own interests. He put emphasis on the fact that Tibetans must be the ultimate deciding authority on who shall govern them. This plan was, however, rejected by the Tibetan Government in Exile, in 1991.
In 1992, the Dalai Lama again introduced a set of policies for the constitution of a free Tibet. He proposed that an interim government should be set up as soon as Tibet became free. He further pronounced that a constitutional assembly should be appointed, to adopt Tibet’s democratic constitution and give it a shape. Dalai Lama proclaimed that then he would assign all his historical and political power to the Interim President and would lead the life of a normal citizen. His efforts to solve Tibet’s problems continue till date.
The sincere efforts of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, to provide independence to the Tibetans, have achieved worldwide recognition. The 'Man of Peace', as he is fondly called, was awarded the prestigious Noble Peace Prize in 1989, for his non-violent struggle for liberation of Tibet. Even in the face of extreme aggression, he followed a peaceful path and advocated policies of non-violence. His Holiness the Dalai Lama also became the first Nobel Laureate to be recognized for his concern for environmental problems pertaining to the globe. His message of peace, non-violence, inter-religious understanding, universal responsibility and compassion has fetched him over 84 awards and a number of honorary doctorates and prizes. He is also the author of more than 72 books.
· 6 July 1935: Lhamo Thondup is born
· 1937: Lhamo Thondup is discovery as the 14th Dalai Lama
· November 17, 1950: Dalai Lama, becomes the Head of the State and temporal leader of Tibet
· May 23, 1951: Tibetan delegation is forced to sign treaty with China
· September 1954: Dalai Lama goes to Beijing to hold peace talks with Chinese leaders
· March 10, 1959: Mass popular uprising in Lhasa
· March 17, 1959: Dalai Lama seeks exile in India
· March 10, 1963: Dalai Lama promulgates a democratic constitution for Tibet
· September 21, 1987: Dalai Lama proposes Five-Point Peace Plan with China
· March 7, 1989: China imposes martial law in Tibet
· December 10, 1989: Dalai Lama awarded Nobel Peace Prize
· April 17, 1991: Dalai Lama addresses US Congress
· November 29, 1995: New Panchen Lama chosen over Dalai Lama’s objections
· March 10, 1997: Dalai Lama’s brother leads march for independence of Tibet
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