HIS HOLINESS THE DALAI LAMA
The Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is the spiritual and temporal Leader of the Tibetan people. He was born on July 6, 1935, in a small village called Taktser, in north eastern Tibet. Born to a peasant family, His Holiness was recognised at the age of two, in accordance with Tibetan tradition, as the reincarnation of his predecessor the 13th Dalai Lama.
The Dalai Lamas are the manifestations of the Buddha of Compassion who chose to take rebirth for the purpose of serving other human beings. Dalai Lama means Ocean of Wisdom. Tibetans normally refer to His Holiness as Yeshe Norbu, the Wish-fulfilling Gem or simply Kundun, meaning The Presence.
When the 13th Dalai Lama had passed away in 1933, the task which confronted the Tibetan Government was not to simply appoint a successor but to seek for and discover a child in whom the Buddha of Compassion would incarnate. It was not necessary that the child should have been born just at the time of the death of His predecessor, or even soon after.
As on former occasions, there would be indications of the directions in which the search should be made, and that the child would be found to possess physical and mental attributes similar to those of his predecessor.
In 1935, the Regent of Tibet went to the sacred lake of Lhamoe Lhatso about 90 miles southeast of Lhasa, Tibet's capital. The Tibetans have observed that visions of the future can be seen in this lake. The regent saw the vision of three Tibetan letters : "Ah" "Ka" and "Ma" followed by a picture of a monastery with roofs of jade green and gold and a house with turquoise tiles. A detailed description of these visions were written down and kept a strict secret.
In 1937, high lamas and dignitaries, carrying the secrets of the visions, were sent to all parts of Tibet to search for the place which the regent had seen in the waters. The search party which headed east was under the leadership of Lama Kewtsang Rinpoche of Sera Monastery. When they arrived in Amdo, they found a place matching the description of the secret vision. The party went to the house with Kewtsang Rinpoche disguised as a servant and a junior official Lobsang Tsewang disguised as the leader. The Rinpoche was wearing a rosary which belonged to the 13th Dalai Lama, and the little boy recognizing it, demanded that it should be given to him. Kewtsang Rinpoche asked who the leader was and the boy replied that he was Sera Aga, which meant in the local dialect, "a Lama of Sera". The Rinpoche asked who the leader was and the boy gave his name correctly. He also knew the name of the real servant. This was followed by a series of tests which included choosing of correct articles which belonged to the 13th Dalai Lama. By these tests, they were further convinced that the reincarnation had been found and their conviction was enhanced by the vision of three letters: "Ah" stood for Amdo, name of the province, "Ka" stood for Kumbum, one of the largest monasteries in the neighbourhood or the two letters
"Ka" and "Ma" stood for the monastery of Karma Rolpai Dorjee on the mountain above the village. It was also significant that once the 13th Dalai Lama had stayed at the monastery on His way back from China. In 1940, the new Dalai Lama was enthroned.
He began His education at the age of six and completed the Geshe Lharampa Degree (Doctrate of Buddhist Philosophy) when He was 25. At 24, His Holiness took the preliminary examinations at each of the three monastic universities: Drepung, Sera and Ganden. The final examination was held in the Jokhang, Lhasa, during the annual Monlam Festival of prayer which is held in the first month of each year. In the morning He was examined on logic by 30 scholars turn by turn in congregational discussion. In the afternoon, 15 scholars took part as his opponents in the debate on the Middle Path, and in the evening 35 scholars tested his knowledge of the canon of monastic discipline and the study of metaphysics. His Holiness passed the examination with honors.
In 1950, when He was only 16, He was called upon to assume full political power when Tibet was threatened by the might of China. In 1954, His Holiness went to Peking to talk peace with Mao Tsetung and other Chinese leaders including Chou En-lai and Deng Xiaoping. In 1956, His Holiness visited India to attend the 2500th Buddha Jayanti Anniversary. While in India, His Holiness had a series of meetings with Prime Minister Nehru and Premier Chou En-lai about deteriorating conditions in Tibet.
In 1959, His Holiness was forced into exile in India after the Chinese military occupation of Tibet. Since that time, His Holiness has been residing in Dharamsala, North India. The seat of the Tibetan Government in exile.
While in exile, His Holiness appealed to the United Nations on the guestion of Tibet, resulting in three resolutions being adopted by the General Assembly in 1959, 1961 and 1965. His Holiness has set up educational, cultural and religious institutions which have contributed significantly towards the preservation of the Tibetan identity and its rich heritage. In 1963, His Holiness promulgated a draft constitution of Tibet which assures a democratic form of government.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama has been working tirelessly for the Tibetan Nation ever since his been in exile since 1959 and try to find a peaceful solution with China over the status of Tibet.
In a landmark address to the United States Congressional Human Rights Caucus, delivered in Washington DC, on September 21st 1987. His Holiness offered Five Point Peace Plan for Tibet, in order to open a dialogue with Beijing.
On June 15th 1988 His Holiness the Dalai Lama elaborated on his earlier Five Point Peace
Plan for Tibet in an address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg. This is to be known as The Strasbourg Proposal. There was no response to the proposals herein from Beijing and commitment to them was withdrawn on September 2nd. 1991.