The 14th Dalai Lama (spiritual name Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso, known as Tenzin Gyatso; born Lhamo Dhondup, 6 July 1935) is the current Dalai Lama, the highest spiritual leader of Tibet, and considered a living buddha. The Dalai Lamas are also leaders of the Gelug school, which is the newest school of Tibetan Buddhism and was formally headed by the Ganden Tripas. From the time of the 5th Dalai Lama to 1959, the central government of Tibet, the Ganden Phodrang, invested the position of Dalai Lama with temporal duties.The 14th Dalai Lama was born in Taktser, Tibet. He was selected as the tulku of the 13th Dalai Lama in 1937 and formally recognized as the 14th Dalai Lama in a public declaration near the town of Bumchen in 1939. As with the recognition process for the 13th Dalai Lama, a golden urn selection process was not used. His enthronement ceremony as the Dalai Lama was held in Lhasa on 22 February 1940 and he eventually assumed full temporal (political) duties on 17 November 1950, at the age of 15, after the People’s Republic of China’s occupation of Tibet. The Gelug school’s government administered an area roughly corresponding to the Tibet Autonomous Region, just as the nascent PRC wished to assert control over it.
During the 1959 Tibetan uprising, the Dalai Lama escaped to India, where he currently lives in exile while remaining the most important spiritual leader of Tibet. The Dalai Lama advocates for the welfare of Tibetans while continuing to call for the Middle Way Approach to negotiations with China for the autonomy of Tibet and the protection of Tibetan culture, including for the religious rights of Tibetans.
The Dalai Lama also meets with other world leaders, and travels giving Tibetan Buddhist teachings. His work includes focus on the environment, economics, women’s rights, nonviolence, interfaith dialogue, physics, astronomy, Buddhism and science, cognitive neuroscience, reproductive health and sexuality.
Along with his teachings on Tibetan Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism, the Dalai Lama’s Kalachakra teachings and initiations are international events.
The Dalai Lama is a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize awarded in 1989, and the US Congressional Gold Medal in 2006. Time magazine named the Dalai Lama one of the “Children of Mahatma Gandhi” and Gandhi’s spiritual heir to nonviolence.
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