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The Dalai Lama

Social | 7-13 yrs | Reading Pod

Who are Dalai Lamas?

Dalai Lamas are believed to be reincarnations of ‘Avalokitesvara’, an important Buddhist deity who personifies compassion. They are enlightened beings who devote their lives to benefiting humanity.

Who is the present Dalai Lama?

His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso was born to a small farming family in northeastern Tibet. He began his monastic education at the age of 6, studying subjects like logic, fine arts, Sanskrit, medicine and most importantly, Buddhist philosophy. In 1989, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his non-violent efforts and concern for global environmental issues.

Who is Dalai Lama?

Tenzin Gyatso (July 6, 1935) is the 14th Dalai Lama of the Gelug or ‘yellow hat’ order of Buddhism. The current and 14th Dalai Lama is believed to be the reincarnation of the 13th Lama, who is believed to be the reincarnation of the 12th and so on. This spiritual office of the Dalai Lama is the most influential of the Gelug tradition and in modern history has come to become a position with worldwide recognition and influence. The current Dalai Lama is the 1989 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for his peace efforts of the Tibetan people that are living in exile caused by the government of the People’s Republic of China.


The Dalai Lama was born in Takster, in modern day China, just east to the borders of Tibet. After the death of his predecessor, a search party was sent to locate the reincarnation of the deceased leader. One of the omens during the search for him was that the head of the body of the embalmed Lama was at first facing south-east but had mysteriously turned to the north-east. This was taken as an indication of which direction to look for the prophecised child. Another was a vision of a house with a specific roof and outside gutter that matched that of Tenzin Gyatso, who was 2 years old when he was accepted as the incarnation.


The Dalai Lama, fearing persecution by China, fled Tibet in 1959. The Indian government granted him and other government officials political asylum after which they set up the Government of Tibet in Exile in Dharamsala, in Himachal Pradesh. A large number of refugees also followed their leader into exile where they are settled to this day.
Apart from his spiritual office, the Dalai Lama also holds a high standing in the global political arena. In the past he has met with many world leaders and continues to do so in order to promote peace and the cause of Tibetans in exile.

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