Dalai Lama XIV
- Category : Religion
- Type : GE
- Profile : 4/6 - Opportunistic / Role Model
- Definition : Split - Small (55)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Tension 2
Tenzin Gyatso is the fourteenth and current Dalai Lama, and as such, is often referred to in Western media simply as the Dalai Lama, without any qualifiers.
The fifth of sixteen children of a farming family in the Tibetan province of Amdo, he was proclaimed the tulku (rebirth) of the thirteenth Dalai Lama at the age of two. On 17 November 1950, at the age of fifteen, he was enthroned as Tibet's Head of State and most important political ruler, while Tibet faced occupation by the forces of the People's Republic of China.
After the collapse of the Tibetan resistance movement in 1959, Tenzin Gyatso fled to India, where he was active in establishing the Central Tibetan Administration (the Tibetan government in exile) and seeking to preserve Tibetan culture and education among the thousands of refugees who accompanied him.
A charismatic figure and noted public speaker, Tenzin Gyatso is the first Dalai Lama to travel to the West, where he has helped to spread Buddhism and to publicise the ideal of Free Tibet. In 1989, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
The Dalai Lama met with the Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, to urge India to pressure China into giving Tibet an autonomous government when relations with China were not proving successful. Nehru did not want to increase tensions between China and India, so he encouraged the Dalai Lama to work on the Seventeen Point Agreement Tibet had with China. Eventually in 1959, the Dalai Lama fled Tibet and set up the government of Tibet in Exile in Dharamsala, India, which is often referred to as "Little Lhasa".
After the founding of the exiled government, he rehabilitated the Tibetan refugees who followed him into exile in agricultural settlements. He created a Tibetan educational system in order to teach the Tibetan children what he believed to be traditional language, history, religion, and culture. The Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts was established in 1959, and the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies became the primary university for Tibetans in India. He supported the refounding of 200 monasteries and nunneries in attempt to preserve Tibetan Buddhist teachings and the Tibetan way of life.
The Dalai Lama appealed to the United Nations on the question of Tibet, which resulted in three resolutions adopted by the General Assembly in 1959, 1961, and 1965. These resolutions required China to respect the human rights of Tibetans and their desire for self-determination. In 1963, he promulgated a democratic constitution which is based upon the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A Tibetan parliament-in-exile is elected by the Tibetan refugees scattered all over the world, and the Tibetan Government in Exile is likewise elected by the Tibetan parliament.
At the Congressional Human Rights Caucus in 1987 in Washington, D.C., he proposed a Five-Point Peace Plan regarding the future status of Tibet. The plan called for Tibet to become a "zone of peace" and for the end of movement by ethnic Chinese into Tibet. It also called for "respect for fundamental human rights and democratic freedoms" and "the end of China's use of Tibet for nuclear weapons production, testing, and disposal." Finally, it urged "earnest negotiations" on the future of Tibet.
He proposed a similar plan at Strasbourg, France, on 15 June 1988. He 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". This plan was rejected by the Tibetan Government-in-Exile in 1991. In October 1991, he expressed his wish to return to Tibet to try to form a mutual assessment on the situation with the Chinese local government. At this time he feared that a violent uprising would take place and wished to avoid it. The Dalai Lama has indicated that he wishes to return to Tibet only if the People's Republic of China sets no preconditions for the return, which they have refused to do.
The Dalai Lama celebrated his seventieth birthday on 6 July 2005. About 10,000 Tibetan refugees, monks and foreign tourists gathered outside his home. Patriarch Alexius II of the Russian Orthodox Church said, "I confess that the Russian Orthodox Church highly appreciates the good relations it has with the followers of Buddhism and hopes for their further development". President Chen Shui-bian of the Republic of China attended an evening celebrating the Dalai Lama's birthday that was entitled "Traveling with Love and Wisdom for 70 Years" at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei. The President invited him to return to Taiwan for a third trip in 2005. His previous trips were in 2001, and 1997.
Conversations with U.S. President George W. Bush in the White House on May 23, 2001Since 1967, the Dalai Lama has initiated a series of tours in forty-six nations. He has frequently engaged on religious dialogue. He met with Pope Paul VI at the Vatican in 1973. Later on, he met with Pope John Paul II in 1980 and also later in 1982, 1986, 1988, 1990 and 2003. In 1990 he met in Dharamsala with a delegation of Jewish teachers for an extensive interfaith dialogue. He has since visited Israel three times, and met in 2006 with the Chief Rabbi of Israel. In 2006, he met privately with Pope Benedict XVI. He has also met the Archbishop of Canterbury, the late Dr. Robert Runcie, and with other leaders of the Anglican Church in London. He has also met with senior Eastern Orthodox Church, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, and Sikh officials.