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His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet "Tenzin Gyatso "

The Dalai Lama's biography


His Holiness the 14th the Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso, is the head of state and spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. He was born Lhamo Dhondrub on 6 July 1935, in a small village called Taktser in northeastern Tibet. Born to a peasant family, His Holiness was recognized at the age of two, in accordance with Tibetan tradition, as the reincarnation of his predecessor the 13th Dalai Lama, and thus an incarnation Avalokitesvara, the Buddha of Compassion.

The Dalai Lamas are the manifestations of the Bodhisattva (Buddha) of Compassion, who chose to reincarnate to serve the people. Lhamo Dhondrub was, as Dalai Lama, renamed Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso - Holy Lord, Gentle Glory, Compassionate, Defender of the Faith, Ocean of Wisdom. Tibetans normally refer to His Holiness as Yeshe Norbu, the Wishfulfilling Gem or simply Kundun - The Presence.

The enthronement ceremony took place on February 22, 1940 in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet.

Education in Tibet

He began his education at the age of six and completed the Geshe Lharampa Degree (Doctorate of Buddhist Philosophy) when he was 25 in 1959. At 24, he took the preliminary examinations at each of the three monastic universities: Drepung, Sera and Ganden. The final examination was conducted in the Jokhang, Lhasa during the annual Monlam Festival of Prayer, held in the first month of every year Tibetan calendar.

Leadership Responsibilities

On November 17, 1950, His Holiness was called upon to assume full political power (head of the State and Government) after some 80,000 Peoples Liberation Army soldiers invaded Tibet. In 1954, he went to Beijing to talk peace with Mao Tse-tung and other Chinese leaders, including Chou En-lai and Deng Xiaoping. In 1956, while visiting India to attend the 2500th Buddha Jayanti Anniversary, he had a series of meetings with Prime Minister Nehru and Premier Chou about deteriorating conditions in Tibet.

His efforts to bring about a peaceful solution to Sino-Tibetan conflict were thwarted by Bejing's ruthless policy in Eastern Tibet, which ignited a popular uprising and resistance. This resistance movement spread to other parts of the country. On 10 March 1959 the capital of Tibet, Lhasa, exploded with the largest demonstration in Tibetan history, calling on China to leave Tibet and reaffirming Tibet's independence. The Tibetan National Uprising was brutally crushed by the Chinese army. His Holiness escaped to India where he was given political asylum. Some 80,000 Tibetan refugees followed His Holiness into exile. Today, there are more than 120,000 Tibetan in exile. Since 1960, he has resided in Dharamsala, India, known as "Little Lhasa," the seat of the Tibetan Government-in-exile.

In the early years of exile, His Holiness appealed to the United Nations on the question of Tibet, resulting in three resolutions adopted by the General Assembly in 1959, 1961, and 1965, calling on China to respect the human rights of Tibetans and their desire for self-determination. With the newly constituted Tibetan Government-in-exile, His Holiness saw that his immediate and urgent task was to save the both the Tibetan exiles and their culture alike. Tibetan refugees were rehabilitated in agricultural settlements. Economic development was promoted and the creation of a Tibetan educational system was established to raise refugee children with full knowledge of their language, history, religion and culture. The Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts was established in 1959, while the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies became a university for Tibetans in India. Over 200 monasteries have been re-established to preserve the vast corpus of Tibetan Buddhist teachings, the essence of the Tibetan way of life.

In 1963, His Holiness promulgated a democratic constitution, based on Buddhist principles and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a model for a future free Tibet. Today, members of the Tibetan parliament are elected directly by the people. The members of the Tibetan Cabinet are elected by the parliament, making the Cabinet answerable to the Parliament. His Holiness has continuously emphasized the need to further democratise the Tibetan administration and has publicly declared that once Tibet regains her independence he will not hold political office.

In Washington, D.C., at the Congressional Human Rights Caucus in 1987, he proposed a Five-Point Peace Plan as a first step toward resolving the future status of Tibet. This plan calls for the designation of Tibet as a zone of peace, an end to the massive transfer of ethnic Chinese into Tibet, restoration of fundamental human rights and democratic freedoms, and the abandonment of China's use of Tibet for nuclear weapons production and the dumping of nuclear waste, as well as urging "earnest negotiations" on the future of Tibet.

In Strasbourg, France, on 15 June 1988, he elaborated the Five-Point Peace Plan and proposed the creation of a self-governing democratic Tibet, "in association with the People's Republic of China."

On 2 September 1991, the Tibetan Government-in-exile declared the Strasbourg Proposal invalid because of the closed and negative attitude of the present Chinese leadership towards the ideas expressed in the proposal.

On 9 October 1991, during an address at Yale University in the United States, His Holiness said that he wanted to visit Tibet to personally assess the political situation. He said, "I am extremely anxious that, in this explosive situation, violence may break out. I want to do what I can to prevent this.... My visit would be a new opportunity to promote understanding and create a basis for a negotiated solution."

Contact with West and East

Since 1967, His Holiness initiated a series of journeys which have taken him to some 46 nations. In autumn of 1991, he visited the Baltic States at the invitation of Lithuanian President Vytautas Landsbergis of Lithuania and became the first foreign leader to address the Lithuanian Parliament. His Holiness met with the late Pope Paul VI at the Vatican in 1973. At a press conference in Rome in 1980, he outlined his hopes for the meeting with John Paul II: "We live in a period of great crisis, a period of troubling world developments. It is not possible to find peace in the soul without security and harmony between peoples. For this reason, I look forward with faith and hope to my meeting with the Holy Father; to an exchange of ideas and feelings, and to his suggestions, so as to open the door to a progressive pacification between peoples." His Holiness met Pope John Paul II at the Vatican in 1980, 1982, 1986, 1988 and 1990. In 1981, His Holiness talked with Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Robert Runcie, and with other leaders of the Anglican Church in London. He also met with leaders of the Roman Catholic and Jewish communities and spoke at an interfaith service held in his honor by the World Congress of Faiths: "I always believe that it is much better to have a variety of religions, a variety of philosophies, rather than one single religion or philosophy. This is necessary because of the different mental dispositions of each human being. Each religion has certain unique ideas or techniques, and learning about them can only enrich one's own faith."

Recognition and Awards

Since his first visit to the west in the early 1973, a number of western universities and institutions have conferred Peace Awards and honorary Doctorate Degrees in recognition of His Holiness' distinguished writings in Buddhist philosophy and for his leadership in the solution of international conflicts, human rights issues and global environmental problems. In presenting the Raoul Wallenberg Congressional Human Rights Award in 1989, U.S. Congressman Tom Lantos said, "His Holiness the Dalai Lama's courageous struggle has distinguished him as a leading proponent of human rights and world peace. His ongoing efforts to end the suffering of the Tibetan people through peaceful negotiations and reconciliation have required enormous courage and sacrifice."

The 1989 Nobel Peace Prize

The Norwegian Nobel Committee's decision to award the 1989 Peace Prize to His Holiness the Dalai Lama won worldwide praise and applause, with exception of China. The CommitteeÕs citation read, "The Committee wants to emphasize the fact that the Dalai Lama in his struggle for the liberation of Tibet consistently has opposed the use of violence. He has instead advocated peaceful solutions based upon tolerance and mutual respect in order to preserve the historical and cultural heritage of his people."

On 10 December 1989, His Holiness accepted the prize on the behalf of oppressed everywhere and all those who struggle for freedom and work for world peace and the people of Tibet. In his remarks he said, "The prize reaffirms our conviction that with truth, courage and determination as our weapons, Tibet will be liberated. Our struggle must remain nonviolent and free of hatred."

He also had a message of encouragement for the student-led democracy movement in China. "In China the popular movement for democracy was crushed by brutal force in June this year. But I do not believe the demonstrations were in vain, because the spirit of freedom was rekindled among the Chinese people and China cannot escape the impact of this spirit of freedom sweeping in many parts of the world. The brave students and their supporters showed the Chinese leadership and the world the human face of that great nations."

A Simple Buddhist monk

His Holiness often says, "I am just a simple Buddhist monk - no more, nor less."

His Holiness follows the life of Buddhist monk. Living in a small cottage in Dharamsala, he rises at 4 A.M. to meditate, pursues an ongoing schedule of administrative meetings, private audiences and religious teachings and ceremonies. He concludes each day with further prayer before retiring. In explaining his greatest sources of inspiration, he often cites a favorite verse, found in the writings of the renowned eighth century Buddhist saint Shantideva:

For as long as space endures
And for as long as living beings remain,
Until then may I too abide
To dispel the misery of the world.
For as long as space endures
And for as long as living beings remain,
Until then may I too abide
To dispel the misery of the world

For Teachings in Dharamsala,Himachal Pradesh,India

Registration
 

In general, all teachings in India are free and open to the public.  For teachings in Dharamsala, you will need to register in person at the Tibetan Branch Security Office in McLeod Ganj (near Hotel Tibet), preferably three to four days before the teachings begin.  For registration, you will need to bring 2 passport size photos along with your passport.  There is no advance registration service.  People attending the teachings are responsible for their own board and lodging.

 

Seating

 
Seating is usually reserved on a first come - first serve basis.  In the West, seating for public events is in most cases designated by your ticket and seat number.  In India, seating for teachings is usually on the ground.  The conventional practice amongst Tibetans is that you take your seat on the first day of a series of teachings, mark it with your cushion or piece of cloth, and thereafter, keep to that same seat for the duration of the teachings.  This is how Tibetans have traditionally avoided hassling with each other over who sits where every day.  So, following the old adage “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”, it seems reasonable to suggest that when among Tibetans, do as the Tibetans do.  Usually, people come to the teaching venue 1 or 2 days before the teaching begins to reserve their seating space.  For people requiring translation services, there is a designated area at the teaching venue. 

Translation
 

His Holiness teaches in Tibetan.  Therefore, on most occasions when His Holiness is teaching in India an effort is made to provide simultaneous translation into English.  If you wish to listen to the translation, you are advised to bring a FM radio.  Headphones are a must since you do not want to disturb the majority of listeners nearby, who may not be listening to the translation.  Although the quality of the signal varies according to the local conditions, you can often improve reception by changing the angle and position of the antenna of your radio, which is often incorporated in the headphone lead.

Travel FAQ'S when coming to Dharamsala for teachings

What will the weather in Dharamsala around the year?

The best seasons are the beginning of March through to the end of June and mid September through to the end of November. The temperature is around 20-24c.

The summer/monsoon season which brings fog and mist, an umbrella and non-slippery or waterproof type shoes are recommended.

Winters are quite cold, temperature around 7-14 c nights severly cold when temperature dips to 0 c.

What suitable clothing should I bring?
Dress appropriately for the weather. 
During the teachings - No sleeveless tops or spaghetti straps.

Electricity and voltage
Electricity used in India is 220 volts AC. They use a 2 pin plug.


Are there internet cafes?
Yes.
What is the time difference?

India Standard Time

Time = GMT+5.5



What important things do I to bring on this trip?
  His Holiness will be teaching in Tibetan so a portable FM radio with earphone is necessary to receive the translations.
  Torch light because power failure is common.
  Sleeping bag
  Water bottle
What are the things that I cannot bring into teachings?
  Mobile phone or PDA
  Recording devices
  Camera
  Sharp objects
  Lighters, cigarettes or matchboxes
What are the things I should bring to the teachings?
  FM radio with earphone
  Security badge (will be given in Dharamsala)
  Prayer book and text (will be given in Dharamsala)
  Notebook and pen
  Wallet 
  Cup/flask (for tea)
  Water bottle
  A plastic bag to put your shoes in when you go into the gompa

Upcoming Schedule of HH Dalai Lama

2010 

Teachings in Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India from January 5 to 10, 2010: His Holiness will give five-day teachings on Nagarjuna's In Praise of the Transcendental (jigten ley depar toepa), Atisha's Lamp of the Path to Enlightenment (jangchup lamdron), Longchen Rinpoche's Mind In Comfort and Ease (semnyid nyelso) & Tsongkhapa's Short Version of the Stages of the Path To Enlightenment (lamrim dhuedhon) from January 5 to 9.  On the morning of January 10 His Holiness will confer a Long Life Empowerment (tsewang) and a long life offering will be offered to His Holiness.

Public Talk in Los Angeles, LA, California, USA on February 21: His Holiness will give a public address entitled Cultivating Compassion and the Needs of Vulnerable Children at the Gibson Amphitheater at Universal Citywalk. The event is organized by Whole Child International. Contact: http://www.wholechild.org

Public Talk in Fort Lauderdale (Davie), FL, USA on February 23: His Holiness will give a talk on Global Compassion at the arena at D. Taft University Center, Nova Southeastern University. Contact: www.ticketmaster.com or www.nova.edu/arena

Public Talk in Palm Beach (Boca Raton), FL, USA on February 24: His Holiness will give a public talk entitled Compassion as a Pillar of World Peace at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton campus. Contact: http://www.fau.edu/peaceweek/

Discussion in Palm Beach (Boca Raton), FL, USA on February 24: His Holiness will lead a discussion with south Florida's FACU Presidents on The Responsibilities of Ethics in Higher Education In Today's Society to be held at Broward College.

Teaching in Dharamsala, HP, India on February 28: His Holiness will give a short teaching from the Jataka Tales in the morning at the Main Tibetan Temple.

Conference in Zurich, Switzerland from April 9 to 11: His Holiness will participate in the XX Mind and Life Conference on Altruism and Compassion in Economic Systems – A Dialogue Between Economics, Neuroscience and Contemplative Sciences organized by the Mind & Life Institute at the Congress Center Zurich. Contact Website: www.compassionineconomics.org

Public Talk in Zurich, Switzerland on April 11: His Holiness will give a public talk on Universal Responsibility and Economics organized by the Mind & Life Institute at Hallenstadion Zurich. Contact Website: www.dalailamazurich.ch

Teachings in Bloomington, IN, USA on May 12 & 13: His Holiness will give two-day teachings on The Heart Sutra (sherab nyingpo) organized by The Tibetan & Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center. Contact Website: www.tmbcc.net 

Public Talk in Indianapolis, IN, USA on May 14: His Holiness will give a public talk on Facing Challenges with Compassion & Wisdom organized by The Tibetan & Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center, Interfaith Hunger Initiative and Indiana Buddhist Center. Contact Website: www.tmbcc.net, www.interfaithhungerinitiative.org & www.indianabuddhist.org

Public Talk in Cedar Falls, IA, USA on May 18: His Holiness will give a public talk on The Power of Education organized by University of Northern Iowa. Contact Website: http://www.uni.edu/dalailama

Teachings in New York, NY, USA from May 20 to 22: His Holiness will give three-day teachings on Shantideva’s A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life (chodjug) & Kamalashila’s The Middling States of Meditation (gomrim barpa) organized by Healing the Divide & The Tibet Center at Radio City Music Hall. Contact Website: www.dalailamany.org

Public Talk in New York, NY, USA on May 23: His Holiness will give a public talk on Awakening the Heart of Selflessness organized by Healing the Divide & The Tibet Center. Contact Website: www.dalailamany.org

Interfaith Dialogue in New York, NY on May 23: His Holiness will participate in an interfaith dialogue at the Church of St. John the Divine.

Teachings in Ladakh, J&K, India in July: His Holiness will give teachings in Kargil and in Nubra during the second half of July (topics yet to be decided). According to the tentative dates, he will be giving teaching in Bodhkharbu (Kargil) on July 20 and in Sumur & Disket (Nubra Valley) on July 22, 23, 26 & 27. There is no visit to Leh or Zanskar planned in 2010.

Teaching in Jispa, HP, India from August 18 to 20: His Holiness will give teachings on Atisha’s Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment (jangchup lamdron) on August 18. On August 19 he will confer the Heruka (dechok) Initiation. On August 20 he will confer the Avalokiteshvera (chenresig) Initiation.

Teaching in Dharamsala, HP, India from August 28 to 30: His Holiness will give three-day teachings on The Diamond Sutra (dorjee chotpa) at the request of a group of Koreans.

Teaching in Dharamsala, HP, India from September 8 to 10: His Holiness will give three-day teachings (topic yet to be decided) at the request of a group of Southeast Asians.

Teaching in Dharamsala, HP, India from October 4 to 7: His Holiness will give four-day teachings (topic yet to be decided) at the request of a group of Taiwanese.

 

2009

Teaching in Copenhagen, Denmark from May 30 & 31: His Holiness will give a day and a half teaching on Nagarjuna's Commentary on Bodhicitta (jangchup semdrel) & Kamalashila's The Middling Stages of Meditation (gomrim barpa) at the Bella Center.  Contact Website: www.dalailama.dk

Public Talk in Copenhagen, Denmark on May 31: His Holiness will give a public talk on Peace Through Inner Peace at the Bella Center.  Contact Website: www.dalailama.dk

Public Talk in Reykjavik, Iceland on June 2: His Holiness will give a public talk on the topic on Values, Attitude and Happiness at the Laugardalsholl Sporting Arena. Contact Website: www.dalailama.is

Teaching in Amsterdam, The Netherlands on June 4: His Holiness will give a teaching on Shantideva's Chapter 6 on Patience from A Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life at the Rai Congress Center.  Contact Website: www.dalailamanederland.nl 

Public Talk in Amsterdam, The Netherlands on June 4: His Holiness will give a public talk on The Power of Compassion At A Turbulent Time at the Rai Congress Center.  Contact Website: www.dalailamanederland.nl

Public Talk in Paris, France on June 7: His Holiness will give a public talk on Ethics and Society at the Bercy Omnisports Center.  Contact Website: www.dalailama-paris2009.fr

Teaching in Kaza, H.P., India from July 10 to 12: His Holiness will give three-day teachings at the request of the Sakya Monastery in Kaza.  On July 10 His Holiness will give a Buddhist teaching (topic yet to be decided).  On July 11 and 12 His Holiness will confer the Avalokiteshvera Initiation (chenresig wangchen).

Teaching in Frankfurt, Germany on July 30 & 31: His Holiness will give a day and a half teaching on Kamalashila's The Middling Stages of Meditation (gomrim barpa).  On the morning of July 31 he will confer an Amitabha Empowerment (opakmey jenang). Contact Website: www.dalailama-frankfurt.de 
 
Symposium in Frankfurt, Germany on August 1 & 2: His Holiness will participate in a symposium on the theme One World One Mind One Heart on the subject of global responsibilities with selected scientists and and/or political personalities. Contact Website: www.dalailama-frankfurt.de 

Public Talk in Frankfurt, Germany on August 2: His Holiness will give a public talk on The Art of Living.  Contact Website: www.dalailama-frankfurt.de

Teaching in Lausanne/Prilly, Switzerland on August 4 & 5: His Holiness will give teachings on Lama Tsongkhapa's The Three Principal Aspects of the Paths (lam ghi tsowo nampa soom) on August 4.  On the morning of August 5, His Holiness will confer a Medicine Buddha Initiation followed by a long life offering ceremony to His Holiness by the Tibetan Communities of Europe.  Contact Website: www.dalailama-lausanne2009.ch

Public Talk in Lausanne/Prilly, Switzerland on August : His Holiness will give a public talk on World Peace Through Inner Peace.  Contact Website: www.dalailama-lausanne2009.ch

Teaching in Zanskar, Ladakh, J&K, India in August: His Holiness is scheduled to visit Zanskar from August 16 to 21.  He is scheduled to be giving teachings from August 17 to 19 (subject to change).

Teaching in Leh, Ladakh, J&K, India in August: His Holiness is scheduled to visit Leh from August 21 to 29.  He is scheduled to be giving teachings from August 23 to 26 (subject to change).

Teaching in Dharamsala, HP, India on September 15 & 16: His Holiness will give a two-day general Buddhist teaching (no specific text) at the request of Korean Buddhists at the Main Tibetan Temple.

Teaching in Los Angeles, CA, USA on September 25 & 26: His Holiness will give teachings on The Four Noble Truths and confer the Amitabha Permission Initiation (opakmei jenang) and Medicine Buddha Initiation organized by Geden Shoeling Tibetan Manjushri Center of Westminster, CA.  Contact Website: www.gedenshoeling.comli.com

Peace Summit in Vancouver, BC, Canada from September 27 & 29: His Holiness will participate in the Vancouver Peace Summit: Nobel Laureates in Dialogue organized by the Dalai Lama Center for Peace & Education.  Contact Website: www.dalailamacenter.org

Public Talk in Calgary, Alberta, Canada on September 30 & October 1: His Holiness will be visiting the University of Calgary and participating in events during these two days.  Contact Website: www.ucalgary.ca/news/april2009/DalaiLama

Mind and Life Conference in Washington, DC, USA on October 8 & 9: His Holiness will participate in a Mind and Life Conference on the theme of Educating World Citizens in the 21st Century.  The conference will feature educators, scientists and contemplatives discussing issues on Cultivating a Healthy Mind, Brain and Heart to be held at the DAR Constitution Hall. Contact Website: www.educatingworldcitizens.org

Teaching in Washington, DC, USA on October 10: His Holiness will give a half-day teaching on Open the Mind, Educate the Heart organized by the Conservancy for Tibetan Art and Culture.  Contact Website: www.tibetanculture.org 

Teaching in Dharamsala, HP, India from October 15 to 18: His Holiness will give teachings on The Diamond Sutra (dorjee chotpa), Geshe Chekewa's Seven Point-Mind Training (lojong dhondunma) & Tsongkhapa's The Three Principal Paths (lamtso namsum)at the request of Taiwanese devotees at the Main Tibetan Temple.  On the last day, he will confer the Avalokiteshvera Initiation (chenresig wang).

Teaching in Dharamsala, HP, India from October 20 to 22: His Holiness will give teachings on The Four Noble Truths (denpa shi)at the request of Singaporean Buddhists at the Main Tibetan Temple.  Contact Website: www.tibetanbc.org

Teaching in Dharamsala, HP, India from November 25 to 27: His Holiness will give teachings on Atisha's Lamp of the Path To Enlightenment (jangchup lamdron) at the request of Russian devotees at the Main Tibetan Temple. Contact Websites: www.buddhisminkalmykia.ru and www.savetibet.ru

Teaching in Sydney, Australia on December 1 & 2: His Holiness will give two days of teachings on Nagarjuna's Commentary on Bodhicitta (jangchup semdrel) organized by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Australia Committee.  Contact Website: www.dalailamainaustralia.org

Public Talk in Sydney, Australia on December 3: His Holiness will give a public talk on Our Future: Who Is Responsible? organized by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Australia Committee.  Contact Website: www.dalailamainaustralia.org  

Public Talk in Auckland, New Zealand on December 5: His Holiness will give a public talk on A Peaceful Mind organized by the Dalai Lama Visit Trust New Zealand.  Contact Website: www.dalailamavisit.org.nz  

Teaching in Auckland, New Zealand on December 6: His Holiness will give teachings on Nagarjuna's Commentary on Bodhicitta (jangchup semdrel) organized by the Dalai Lama Visit Trust New Zealand.  Contact Website: www.dalailamavisit.org.nz  

Public Talk in Hobart, Australia on December 8: His Holiness will give a public talk on Compassion in Diversity organized by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Australia Committee.  Contact Website: www.dalailamainaustralia.org  

Public Talk in Melbourne, Australia on December 10: His Holiness will give a public talk on World Peace: Who Is Responsible? organized by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Australia Committee.  Contact Website: www.dalailamainaustralia.org  

 

 

 

 

 



 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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