Who Are The Dalai Lamas Of Tibetan Buddhism?

Tenzin Gyatso, 14th and current Dalai Lama.

5. Context and initial training

The term “Dalai Lama” refers to the religious leader of a specific school of Buddhism originating in Tibet. Known as Gelug, or “Way of Virtue”, this branch of Buddhism was founded by Je Tsongkhapa, who lived from 1357 to 1419. Tibetan Buddhism is based on a complex belief system, in which the figure known as the Dalai Lama is considered by his followers to be a bodhisattva (or be awake). The Dalai Lama is seen by the faithful as the embodiment of the collective compassion found in all previous Buddhas. The first Dalai Lama was Gedun Drupa (1391-1474), who took his first vows at the age of fourteen. Tibetan Buddhism has its origins in northern India. In terms of spiritual beliefs, religion places great importance on logic as well as training the mind.

4. Rise and Achievements

The roots of modern Tibetan Buddhism were firmly established in the 14th century when the first Dalai Lama founded three monasteries around the area of ​​what is now Lhasa in Chinese-controlled Tibet. After the powerful king of Mongolia, Altan Khan, converted to Buddhism, the influence of the Dalai Lamas spread to much of Central Asia. At one time in history, Tibetan Buddhism was the primary source of spiritual guidance for an estimated fifty million people. Through their scholarly teachings and works of art, as well as their religious practices, the Dalai Lamas continued to maintain a great influence on the local people of Tibet and played an important role in shaping the culture, of the economy, often turbulent political environment.

3. Challenges and controversies

Perhaps the greatest challenge to the tradition and survival of the Dalai Lamas involves Tibet’s historic struggle and tenuous political relationship with the Chinese government. In 1959, during the time of the Tibetan uprising, the 14th Dalai Lama, fearing for his life under pressure from the Chinese communist regime, was forced to flee the country and subsequently live in exile. Shortly after the Dalai Lama’s clandestine escape, the Chinese government officially dissolved the national government of Tibet. Despite the continuous efforts of Tibetan citizens, the international community and the Dalai Lama himself, the country has suffered from continuous violence and political unrest.

2. Current Dalai Lama

The most recent Dalai Lama, His Holiness the 14th, was born as Tenzin Gyatso in 1935. His religious education began at the age of six and included a rich curriculum in subjects such as Buddhist philosophy, art, medicine, logic and the ancient. Sanskrit language and scriptures. After fleeing Tibet and Chinese rule, the current Dalai Lama has become a powerful and influential spokesperson for the international movement to restore Tibet’s independence and political autonomy. Among his many accomplishments, the Dalai Lama won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. The Buddhist leader has also become a world-renowned symbol for living a life of peace and compassion. Its crowds of fans and loyal followers across the world include both Buddhists, people of other religions and non-believers.

1. Historical Significance and Legacy

According to traditional Tibetan Buddhist religious beliefs, the Dalai Lamas are beings who, despite having already attained enlightenment, have chosen to be reborn in order to serve their fellow human beings. Due to the complex political climate in Tibet, the current Dalai Lama has chosen to relinquish his traditional role as the country’s resident political leader and instead endorsed a democratic government aimed at securing the independence of the Tibetan people over the years. coming. Historically, after the death of each previous Dalai Lama, the next such leader is reincarnated as a child. The legacy of the current Dalai Lama will undoubtedly be closely linked to the struggle for freedom in Tibet. At present, however, and despite continued resistance from indigenous Tibetans and international outcry, China has shown no sign of relinquishing its control over Tibet.