The First Dalai Lama • Gedun Drupa, was born in 1391 in central Tibet • His parents were Gonpo Dorjee and Jomo Namkha Kyi • His given name was Pema Dorjee • He founded theTashi Lhunpo monastery • Wrote more than 8 books • Spread Buddhism throughout Tibet
Other Significant Dalai Lamas • 3rd Dalai Lama Sonam Gyatso was the first to be called the Dalai Lama by the Mongolian King • 5th Dalai Lama became the spiritual and political ruler of Tibet in 1642 • 13th Dalai Lama fled to India when China invaded Tibet in 1910 but returned in 1911
Origins of the 14th Dalai Lama • Upon the death of the 13th Dalai Lama in 1933, visions and signs pointed to where the next Lama might be found. In the small village of Kumbum, a search party discovered young LhamoThondup (the future TenzinGyatso, above), who displayed familiarity with objects belonging to his predecessor.
Lhamo Thondup was declared the new Dalai Lama in 1939. He was taken to Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, in 1940, where his name was changed to Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso and he began his spiritual education.
In this photograph, the young Tenzin Gyatso poses with his mother. The Dalai Lama's parents had 16 children, 9 of whom survived. His brother Thupten Jigme Norbu is also recognized as the High Lama Taktser Rinpoche.
During the 1950s, the new Communist government of China gradually took control of Tibet. Their refusal to respect the sanctity and authority of the Dalai Lama led to a resistance which was crushed by the Chinese army, forcing TenzinGyatso and his followers to flee across the Himalayas, where this photo was taken, to India.
By 1959, the Chinese assumed complete authority over Tibet. In this photograph, Chinese soldiers block the border with India, part of a failed effort to stop the Dalai Lama's escape.
The Dalai Lama's spiritual home is the Potala Palace. He has not lived there since 1959.
Since his exile to India, Tenzin Gyatso has labored to draw attention to the Chinese occupation of Tibet and bring the message of Tibetan Buddhism to the rest of the world.
Many celebrities, Richard Gere most notable among them, have taken up his cause.
At a 1986 prayer for peace organized by the Vatican in Assisi, the Dalai Lama joins from left: The Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie, Orthodox Archbishop Methodius and Pope John Paul II.
Presently the Dalai Lama resides in Dharamsala, India. In this photograph, he meditates in the offices of the government in exile.
Every year, thousands travel to India to pay their respects to His Holiness. At the core of the Dalai Lama's political message is the belief that global peace cannot begin until each person has attained inner peace.
3 Commitments • Promotion of individual compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, contentment and self-discipline • Promotion of religious harmony and understanding among the world’s major religious traditions • Preservation of Tibet's Buddhist culture, a culture of peace and non-violence
Monlam Teachings • 16th day of the first month of the Tibetan calendar (March 17 this year) • Annual spring teachings at Main Temple in Dharamsala • Lasts 15 days
In 2010 The Dalai Lama and Obama discussed human rights and the promotion of religious harmony.
According to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, the President "stated his strong support for the preservation of Tibet's unique religious, cultural and linguistic identity and the protection of human rights for Tibetans in the People's Republic of China." China strenuously objected to the meeting.
Travels • The Dalai Lama travels throughout the world promoting his Three Commitments • This year he has travelled extensively throughout India, Japan and USA • He visited Canada in 2007 and 2012