The 14th Dalai Lama, His Holiness, Tenzin Gyatso, was born on July 6, 1935 into a peasant family in northeastern Tibet. At the age of 2, he was proclaimed the reincarnation of his predecessor after correctly identifying several objects that belonged to the 13th Dalai Lama.
The title of Dalai Lama is given to the most important spiritual leader of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism. The 14th Dalai Lama fled to India disguised as a soldier in 1959 after a failed Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule. He has since lived in exile in the Dharmshala of Himachal Pradesh.
As he turns 87 today, we take a look at some lesser-known facts about the 14th Dalai Lama:
- Although originally from Tibet, the family of the 14th Dalai Lama did not speak the Tibetan language. Instead, they spoke a modified version of a Chinese dialect spoken in the western provinces of China.
- The 14th Dalai Lama is the senior and senior of all his predecessors.
- He was enthroned as the Dalai Lama on February 22, 1940, at a ceremony in Lhasa, the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region which is now part of China.
- He received a series of awards for his work for the harmony of world peace, including a Nobel Prize in 1989.
- The Dalai Lama had a keen interest in science since childhood. In his youth, he enjoyed repairing watches and cars in his spare time. In his interview, the Dalai Lama said that if he hadn’t been raised as a monk, he probably would have decided to become an engineer.
- According to his official website, the Dalai Lama wakes up at 3 a.m. and meditates until 5 a.m., after which he takes a short morning walk in the residential premises. His Holiness usually eats a breakfast of porridge and tsampa, traditional barley flour, and spends the morning reading Buddhist texts, before holding audiences in the afternoon.
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