Dalai Lama

The 14th Dalai Lama name: Tenzin Gyatso, shortened from Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso, born Lhamo Dondrub, 6 July 1935) is the current Dalai Lama, as well as the longest lived incumbent. Dalai Lamas are the head monks of the Gelug school, the newest of the schools of Tibetan Buddhism. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, and is also well known for his lifelong advocacy for Tibetans inside and outside Tibet.

Foto Johnny Leo Johansen(c) Oslo 2014

Johnny Leo Johansen(c)

The Dalai Lama was born in Taktser, Qinghai (known to Tibetans as Amdo), and was selected as the rebirth of the 13th Dalai Lama two years later, although he was only formally recognized as the 14th Dalai Lama on 17 November 1950, at the age of 15. The Gelug school’s government administered an area roughly corresponding to the Tibet Autonomous Region just as the nascent People’s Republic of China wished to assert central control over it. There is a dispute over whether the respective governments reached an agreement for a joint Chinese-Tibetan administration.

During the 1959 Tibetan uprising, the Dalai Lama fled to India, where he denounced the People’s Republic and established a Tibetan government in exile. He has since traveled the world, advocating for the welfare of Tibetans, teaching Tibetan Buddhism and talking about the importance of compassion as the source of a happy life. Around the world, institutions face pressure from China not to accept him. He has spoken about the environment, economics, women’s rights, non-violence, interfaith dialog, physics, astronomy, reproductive health, and sexuality, along with various Mahayana and Vajrayana topics.

The Dalai Lama has received numerous awards over his spiritual and political career. In 1959, he received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership.

After the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Dalai Lama the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize. The Committee officially gave the prize to the Dalai Lama for “the struggle of the liberation of Tibet and the efforts for a peaceful resolution” and “in part a tribute to the memory of Mahatma Gandhi”  although the President of the Committee also said that the prize was intended to put pressure on China, who was reportedly infuriated that the award was given to a separatist.

On 28 May 2005, the Dalai Lama received the Christmas Humphreys Award from the Buddhist Society in the United Kingdom. On 22 June 2006, he became one of only five people ever to be recognised with Honorary Citizenship by the Governor General of Canada. The Dalai Lama was a 2007 recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award bestowed by American lawmakers. In 2012, the Dalai Lama was awarded the Templeton Prize. He later donated the entire prize money to an Indian charity, Save the Children.

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