Little Bits of History


Posted in History by patriciahysell on November 17, 2014
The 14th Dalai Lama

The 14th Dalai Lama

November 17, 1950: Lhamo Dondrub (or Thondup) gets a new job. He was born on July 6, 1935 to a farming and horse trading family in Taktser. This region had formerly been part of the Tibetan region of Amdo but had already been assimilated into the Qinghai province of China. He was one of seven siblings to survive childhood with his oldest sister 18 years older than Lhamo. His first language was a dialect of Chinese, Xining and his family did not speak any Tibetan language. When he was two years old, a search party was sent out to locate a new incarnation. The thirteenth Dalai Lama’s head had turned in Lhamo’s direction, indicating the area to search. The seekers came to Lhamo’s home and the youngster was presented with relics and could identify all that had been the thirteenth Dalai Lama’s from those that had not.

Lhamo was recognized at the fourteenth reincarnation of the Dalai Lama and renamed Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso. He was not formally enthroned as the Dalai Lama until he was fifteen and until this date, a regent acted as the head of the Kashag. While a child, he had a series of tutors in Tibet and met Austrian mountaineer Heinrich Harrer in 1946. The two remained friends until Harrer’s death. In 1959 at the age of 23, the Dalai Lama took his final examination at Jokhang Temple and passed with honors. He received the Lharampa degree, the highest-level geshe degree akin to a PhD in Buddhist philosophy.

The Dalai Lama’s formal rule was brief. He worked with the Chinese government to achieve a peaceful libration of Tibet. This was an unsuccessful attempt to free the highest region in the world, nestled in the Himalayan mountains, from Chinese control. While the Dalai Lama was on a trip to India in 1956, he asked for political asylum from Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru. He was discouraged from this tactic, as it might incite more strife in the region. The CIA offered help but even with this, Tibet remained under Chinese control. The Dalai Lama was forced to flee to India for his safety, crossing the border on March 10, 1959. Later, he set up the Government of Tibet in Exile and helped about 80,000 refugees.

The 14th Dalai Lama has also worked for international ideals. In 1987 he proposed to make Tibet a “zone of peace” without nuclear weapons and supporting human rights. He expanded on the idea the next year in Strasbourg proposing that Tibet work with the People’s Republic of China, but the plan was rejected. He has met with Popes and other religious leaders to open interfaith dialogues. His policy stance is nuanced and varied but tends toward the liberal ideology in most respects. Although calling himself a feminist, he stance on abortion is more rigid. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for his work with freeing Tibetans both in and outside Tibet. He has stated he will seek the next reincarnation for the 15th Dalai Lama when he is 90 – or in another decade or so.

My true religion is Kindness.

It is very important to generate a good attitude, a good heart, as much as possible.

I feel that the essence of spiritual practice is your attitude toward others.

Reason well from the beginning and then there will never be any need to look back with confusion and doubt. – all from Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

Also on this day: The Heidi Game – In 1968, NBC didn’t finish the game, leaving a football game in progress to air the previously scheduled movie.
Point Made – In 1970, the computer mouse was patented.
Delta Phi – In 1827, the fraternity was formed.
Anglo-Swedish War – In 1810, war was declared between two non-combatants.

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