Nationality – Tibetan
Education – He has received monastic education.
Career – Head of State and spiritual leader of Tibet
Tenzin Gyatso, born on 6 July 1935, is the 14th and present Dalai Lama. Simply referred to as the Dalai Lama, he happens to be both the head of state as well as the spiritual leader of Tibet. The current Dalai Lama is a committed member of the Gelug School of Tibetan Buddhism. Being a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, the Dalai Lama (Tenzin Gyatso) is the world's most famous Buddhist monk and is leader of the exiled Tibetan government in India. (Dalai Lamas are believed to be a reincarnation of Avalokitesvara, sought for among newborn children after the death of the preceding Dalai Lama).
Dalai Lama Childhood
The present Dalai Lama, originally named Lhamo Dhondup by his farming parents, was the fifth of their 16 children. They lived in the village of Taktser in the Tibetan province of Amdo. It was at the age of two that Lhamo Dhondup was recognized as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso. At the age of six, he started his monastic education. His syllabus comprised five major and five minor subjects. The five major subjects the Dalai Lama studied were logic, Tibetan art and culture, Sanskrit, medicine and Buddhist philosophy. The minor ones included poetry, music and drama, astrology, motre and phrasing, and synonyms.
Dalai Lama Leadership
After China invaded Tibet in 1949, the present Dalai Lama was asked to assume political power in 1950. He even went to Beijing in 1954 to hold peace talks with the Chinese leaders like Mao Zedong and others. But this measure failed to be productive. In 1959 when the Chinese cruelly repressed the Tibetan national uprising, the Dalai Lama had to seek exile in India. Since then the 14th Dalai Lama has been residing at Dharashala in north India.
Dalai Lama has left no stone unturned in seeking justice for Tibet. He has repeatedly petitioned the United Nations for this, which made the General Assembly pass three resolutions on Tibet in 1959, 1961 and 1965. These resolutions required China to respect the human rights of Tibetans and their desire for self-determination. In 1963, Dalai Lama introduced a draft democratic constitution for Tibet named ‘The Charter of Tibetans in Exile’. It embodies rights like freedom of speech, belief, assembly and movement.
In September 1987, Dalai Lama put forward the Five Point Peace Plan for Tibet. Basically it called for Tibet to become a zone of peace and for the end of movement by ethnic Han Chinese into Tibet. But China made no positive response to the peace proposals of Dalai Lama. Another similar plan was proposed by the Dalai Lama on 15 June 1988, when he spoke before members of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
He actually expanded on the Five-Point Peace Plan and proposed the creation of a self-governing democratic Tibet in association with the People's Republic of China. The Dalai Lama, thus, proposed talks between the Chinese and Tibetans that would lead to a self-governing democratic political entity for Tibet. This body would be in alliance with the People's Republic of China and the Chinese Government would take care of the Tibet's foreign policy and defense. This plan was, however, rejected by the Tibetan government in exile later.
In 1992, the present Dalai Lama again introduced set of policies for the constitution of a future, free Tibet. The Dalai Lama pronounced that an interim government be set up instantly when Tibet became free. He further added that its first responsibility would be to anoint a constitutional assembly that would adopt Tibet's democratic constitution and give it a shape. His Holiness, the Dalai Lama voiced that he would then assign all his historical and political power to the Interim President and himself live as a normal citizen.
This long drawn effort of Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people to provide Tibet its rightful independence is still on. But in the process, the Dalai Lama has been very successful in garnering the sympathy of the western world for the Tibetan cause. Giving him full support on this are some famous Hollywood actors like Richard Gere and Steven Seagal, apart from many well-known law makers from different countries.
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