Biography of XIV Dalai Lama

By Bhikshuni Tenzin Wangmo

Lhamo Dhondup – the current Dalai Lama – was born in Taktser, a village in the Amdo province of Tibet, on Saturday July 6, 1935, the fifth day of the fifth month of the Tibetan Wood-Pig-Year. Prophesies by the XIII Dalai Lama, who had died in 1933, as well as oracles provided the search party with hints where to find the place of his reincarnation.

The then two-year-old boy underwent a strict and thorough examination. The child had to prove a faultless memory of his former life. After his identity had been ascertained the child was ceremonially appointed to the Lion throne in Lhasa. His new monk’s name from then on was: Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso, the XIV Dalai Lama of Tibet.

The future sovereign of Tibet went through a strict education to prepare him for office. In summer 1949 the Chinese rulers began invading Tibet. After the Tibetan National Uprising on March 10, 1959, against the occupying forces, during which some 90,000 Tibetans died, the Dalai Lama saw no other alternative than to flee to India. Numerous fellow Tibetans followed him under life-threatening conditions. There, in Dharamsala, North-India, he formed the democratic Tibetan Government in Exile.

During his first years in exile he turned to the United Nations to find a solution to the Tibetan issue. As a result, the UN passed resolutions in 1959, 1961 and 1965, demanding China to respect the Tibetans’ human rights and their wish for self-determination. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been any success in this respect up to the present day. H. H. the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government in Exile are committed to the saving of the Tibetan people and their culture: refugees are being helped and a Tibetan educational system with schools and universities has been established. More than 200 monasteries have been set up again in exile.

Ever since, on his travels all around the globe and when meeting other religious leaders or politicians, H. H. the Dalai Lama doesn’t cease to try to enlist support for peaceful solutions to the Tibetan issue and other conflicts throughout the world, for human rights or ecological questions.

For his untiring commitment to understanding between peoples and religions and his firm holding on to a nonviolent liberation of Tibet he has received respect, appreciation and enormous popularity worldwide; he won the Nobel Peace Price on December 10, 1989, the highest among numerous international honors he’s been given so far. The Dalai Lama, addressed with the polite title “His Holiness”, inspires people with his genuine friendliness and his good humour and impresses by his vast knowledge, clear thinking and the ability to have a detached view upon himself and his religion.

Every year he travels around the world for many weeks to fulfill requests for traditional teachings on Buddhist texts and to give public talks. In summer 2009 he has given a 6-day-teaching in Frankfurt on the invitation of the German Buddhist Union (DBU), the Pagoda Phat Hue and Tibet House.