Dalai Lama


Father Choekyong Tsering
Mother Diki Tsering
Born 6 July 1935 (1935-07-06) (age 76)
Taktser, Qinghai, Republic of China

Dee Finney's blog

start date July 20, 2011

Today's date November 3, 2011

page 61




11-3-11 DREAM -  I was in the balcony of a darkened theatre.  It was very quiet in there - no film was playing, nobody was on stage.  I didn't see any other people in the theatre either - just the older Tibetan couple and an infant they were caring for.

When I saw the infant at first, he was in swaddling clothes.  He had his eyes open but didn't make a sound and didn't move either.  He was so precious to look at. I wanted to hold him immediately, but that wasn't appropriate.

Finally the couple decided to leave and I followed them down the hall towards the lobby.  By then I could see the child was a thinly built toddler with short pants on, and they stopped in a little vestibule where there was a small oval table and I asked them if I could help the boy.

The man quickly got out a stack of gold cards, and put one on the table so I could put my name on it, which I did..  I started to write Dee Finney but I messed up the spelling and wanted to take the card I messed up and fill out a new one.

While all this was happening, I saw that they had a book in which I remember seeing the words "God's son" and a list of titles the baby would have.

I did NOT see Buddha or Dalai Lama, but I had the feeling that this child probably born in 2010 was going to be the new Dalai Lama.


11-3-11 - DREAM - I was living in an apartment building and I went down the hall where my cousin Shirley was living and told her, "I dreamed last night that I met the baby who is going to be the next Dalai Lama."

She responded, "I wish I could dream like that."



Dalai Lama

AUGUST 11, 2011

Dharamsala, Aug 8 (IANS) The Dalai Lama was ready to embark on an epic journey back to Lhasa, Lobsang Sangay said Monday, as he took over as the new prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile. He also said that Tibetans would resist as long as China repressed them

Though I have never been allowed to set foot in Tibet… My late father, like many of our parents, could not return to Tibet. Together, we will ensure the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet, reunite our people, and restore freedom in Tibet,” 43-year-old Harvard educated Sangay said in a message read out at a function where he took his oath of office in this northern Indian hill town.

“We are always ready to embark on this epic journey from Dharamsala, the abode of Dharma, to Lhasa, the abode of Gods. From the town where the Dalai Lama lives, to the city where he belongs,” said Sangay, who took over as prime minister for a five-year term.

The ceremony was presided over by the 76-year-old Dalai Lama, who was draped only in his spiritual robe.

Addressing a gathering of more than 5,000 people, the Dalai Lama said in his native dialect: “Today is the most important day in the last 2,000 years. Now we have a successfully elected political leader who we call ‘Sikyongwa’ (top government leader). We should be proud and happy.”

The Dalai Lama had, in May, devolved his “formal authority” to the elected leadership of the exiles.

Sangay is the first to become the political successor to the Dalai Lama, who said “during my time as leader, we have changed and become completely and fully democratic. We’ve done this even in our situation as refugees.”

A senior fellow of Harvard Law School, Sangay took over the reins of the government from 73-year-old monk scholar Samdhong Rinpoche, who held the post for the past 10 years in two five-year terms.

For a peaceful resolution of the Tibetan issue, Sangay, once dubbed a “terrorist” by China because of his earlier association with the radical Tibetan Youth Congress, is now pursuing the Dalai Lama’s advocacy of genuine autonomy for the people of Tibet.

“Despite the tragedy in Tibet, we want the world to know, especially Chinese friends, that we remain firmly committed to non-violence… we will continue the ‘middle-way policy’, which seeks genuine autonomy for Tibet within China.”

"We believe in a peaceful resolution for Tibet, which means a peaceful process and peaceful dialogue. We are also willing to negotiate with the Chinese government anytime, anywhere.”

But he said: “As long as Tibetans are repressed, there will be resistance, and waning respect for China.”

“Our struggle is not against the Chinese people, nor is it against China as a country. Our struggle is against hard-line policies of the Chinese regime in Tibet.”

According to Sangay, born in a refugee settlement in the eastern Indian hill town of Darjeeling in 1968, the political repression, cultural assimilation, economic marginalisation and environmental destruction in Tibet was unacceptable.

“But three years ago, in 2008, Tibetan men and women rose up against the Chinese rule in Tibet. They spoke out against Chinese oppression… Let me be clear, the Tibetan administration does not encourage protest.”

On starting dialogue between representatives of the Dalai Lama and the Chinese, Sangay told reporters that “if Chinese are interested in talking only to the Dalai Lama’s envoy then he would facilitate the talks. If China wants to talk to him directly, he is also ready for that”.

On constitution of Kashag (the cabinet), he said: “I will have three elders to continue the existing successful policies and programmes and four younger members to bring in innovation and 21st century know-how to make the Tibetan administration and movement more effective”.

Sangay studied law from Delhi University before moving to Harvard for his doctoral studies. He has been chosen in the third direct elections for the Kalon Tripa that were held March 20.

He polled 55 percent of the votes cast by Tibetans around the world.

Some 140,000 Tibetans now live in exile, over 100,000 of them in different parts of India. Over six million Tibetans live in Tibet.


Dalai Lama To Speak At Loyola Next Spring

November 2, 2011

CHICAGO (CBS) — The Dalai Lama will make his sixth visit to Chicago – and his second in less than a year – for a talk on non-violence at Loyola University next spring.

The Chicago TIBETcenter says the exiled spiritual leader will give the talk on April 26 of next year at the Joseph J. Gentile Center, at 6511 N. Winthrop Ave. on the Loyola Lakeshore Campus in Rogers Park.

The center is selling about 4,000 tickets for the event, and more than 450 additional tickets are being provided for free to high school juniors and seniors throughout Illinois.

The Dalai Lama, whose worldly name is Tenzin Gyatso, fled Tibet in 1959 after the Chinese quelled a popular uprising. He is still widely revered in Tibet, though he is now based in Dharmsala, India, where he heads a government in exile.

He was proclaimed the 14th Dalai Lama at age 5 and became Tibet’s leader at 15.

The Dalai Lama describes himself as a simple Buddhist monk, but has been recognized with a Congressional gold medal of honor for his advocacy of nonviolence for Tibetans in the face of Chinese oppression.

He appeared in July for a talk at the UIC Pavilion titled “Bridging the Faith Divide,” which drew about 7,000 people. He also held a discussion with other religious leaders at the Harris Theater in Millennium Park


1st Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama is a high lama in the Gelug or "Yellow Hat" branch of Tibetan Buddhism. The name is a combination of the Mongolian word dalai meaning "Ocean" and the Tibetan word བླ་མ་ bla-ma (with a silent "b") meaning "teacher".[1] According to the current Dalai Lama, the Tibetan word "lama" corresponds precisely to the better known Sanskrit word "guru".

In religious terms, the Dalai Lama is believed by his devotees to be the rebirth of a long line of tulkus who are considered to be manifestations of the bodhisattva of compassion, Avalokiteśvara. Traditionally, the Dalai Lama is thought of as the latest reincarnation of a series of spiritual leaders who have chosen to be reborn in order to enlighten others. The Dalai Lama is often thought to be the leader of the Gelug School, but this position belongs officially to the Ganden Tripa, which is a temporary position appointed by the Dalai Lama who, in practice, exerts much influence.

For certain periods of time between the 17th century and 1959, the Dalai Lamas sometimes directed the Tibetan government, which administered portions of Tibet from Lhasa. The 14th Dalai Lama remained the head of state for the Central Tibetan Administration ("Tibetan government in exile") until his retirement on March 14, 2011. He has indicated that the institution of the Dalai Lama may be abolished in the future, and also that the next Dalai Lama may be found outside Tibet and may be female. [2] The Chinese communist government was very quick to reject this and claimed that only they have the authority to select the next Dalai Lama, despite being an officially atheist nation.

The origin of the title of Dalai Lama

In 1578 the Mongol ruler Altan Khan bestowed the title Dalai Lama on Sonam Gyatso. The title was later applied retrospectively to the two predecessors in his reincarnation line, Gendun Drup and Gendun Gyatso. Gendun Gyatso was also Sonam Gyatso's predecessor as abbot of Drepung monastery. However, the 14th Dalai Lama asserts that Altan Khan did not intend to bestow a title as such and that he intended only to translate the name "Sonam Gyatso" into Mongolian.

. . . many writers have mistranslated Dalai Lama as "Ocean of Wisdom". The full Mongolian title, "the wonderful Vajradhara, good splendid meritorious ocean", given by Altan Khan, is primarily a translation of the Tibetan words Sonam Gyatso (sonam is "merit").[3]

The 14th Dalai Lama commented:

The very name of each Dalai Lama from the Second Dalai Lama onwards had the word Gyatso [in it], which means "ocean" in Tibetan. Even now I am Tenzin Gyatso, so the first name is changing but the second part [the word "ocean"] became like part of each Dalai Lama's name. All of the Dalai Lamas, since the Second, have this name. So I don't really agree that the Mongols actually conferred a title. It was just a translation.[4]

Whatever the intention may have been originally, the Mongolian "Dalai", which does not have any meaning as a Tibetan term, came to be understood commonly as a title.

The name or title Dalai Lama in Mongolian may also have derived originally from the title taken by Temüjin or Genghis Khan when he was proclaimed emperor of a united Mongolia during 1206. Temüjin took the name Čingis Qāghan or "oceanic sovereign", the anglicized version of which is Genghis Khan.[5]

Tibetans address the Dalai Lama as Gyalwa Rinpoche ("Precious Victor"), Kundun ("Presence"), Yishin Norbu ("Wish fulfilling Gem") and so on.[6]

Sonam Gyatso was an abbot at the Drepung Monastery who was considered widely as one of the most eminent lamas of his time. Although Sonam Gyatso became the first lama to have the title "Dalai Lama" as described above, since he was the third member of his lineage, he became known as the "Third Dalai Lama". The previous two titles were conferred posthumously upon his supposed earlier incarnations.

Yonten Gyatso (1589–1616), the 4th Dalai Lama, and a non-Tibetan, was the grandson of Altan Khan.

The tulku tradition of the Dalai Lama has evolved into, and been inaugurated as, an institution:

"The institution of the Dalai Lama has become, over the centuries, a central focus of Tibetan cultural identity; "a symbolic embodiment of the Tibetan national character." Today, the Dalai Lama and the office of the Dalai Lama have become focal points in their struggle towards independence and, more urgently, cultural survival. The Dalai Lama is regarded as the principal incarnation of Chenrezig (referred to as Avalokiteshvara in India), the bodhisattva of compassion and patron deity of Tibet. In that role the Dalai Lama has chosen to use peace and compassion in his treatment of his own people and his oppressors. In this sense the Dalai Lama is the embodiment of an ideal of Tibetan values and a cornerstone of Tibetan identity and culture."[7]

Verhaegen mentions the trans-polity influence that the Institution of the Dalai Lama has had historically in areas such as western China, Mongolia, Ladakh in addition to the other Himalayan Kingdoms:

"The Dalai Lamas have also functioned as the principal spiritual guide to many Himalayan kingdoms bordering Tibet, as well as western China, Mongolia and Ladakh. The literary works of the Dalai Lamas have, over the centuries, inspired more than fifty million people in these regions. Those writings, reflecting the fusion of Buddhist philosophy embodied in Tibetan Buddhism, have become one of the world's great repositories of spiritual thought."[8]

The current Dalai Lama is often called "His Holiness" (HH) by Westerners (by analogy with the Pope), although this does not translate to a Tibetan title.

Before the 20th century, European sources often referred to the Dalai Lama as the "Grand Lama". For example, in 1785 Benjamin Franklin Bache mocked George Washington by terming him the "Grand Lama of this Country".[9] Some in the West believed the Dalai Lama to be worshipped by the Tibetans as the godhead.[10]

[edit] HistoryDuring 1252, Kublai Khan granted an audience to Drogön Chögyal Phagpa and Karma Pakshi, the 2nd Karmapa. Karma Pakshi, however, sought the patronage of Möngke Khan. Before his death in 1283, Karma Pakshi wrote a will to protect the established interests of his sect by advising his disciples to locate a boy to inherit the black hat. His instruction was based on the premise that Buddhist ideology is eternal, and that Buddha would send emanations to complete the missions he had initiated. Karma Pakshi's disciples acted in accordance with the will and located the reincarnated boy of their master. The event was the beginning of the teacher reincarnation system for the Black-Hat Line of Tibetan Buddhism. During the Ming Dynasty, Emperor Yongle bestowed the title Great Treasure Prince of Dharma, the first of the three Princes of Dharma, upon the Black-Hat Karmapa. Various sects of Tibetan Buddhism responded to the teacher reincarnation system by creating similar lineages

Unification of Tibet

In the 1630s, Tibet became entangled in power struggles between the rising Manchu and various Mongol and Oirat factions. Ligden Khan of the Chakhar, retreating from the Manchu, set out to Tibet to destroy the Yellow Hat sect. He died on the way to Qinghai (Koko Nur) in 1634.[11] His vassal Tsogt Taij continued the fight, even having his own son Arslan killed after Arslan changed sides. Tsogt Taij was defeated and killed by Güshi Khan of the Khoshud in 1637, who would in turn become the overlord of Tibet, and act as a "Protector of the Yellow Church."[12] Güshi helped the Fifth Dalai Lama to establish himself as the highest spiritual and political authority in Tibet and destroyed any potential rivals. The time of the Fifth Dalai Lama was, however, also a period of rich cultural development.

The Fifth Dalai Lama's death was kept secret for fifteen years by the regent (Tibetan: སྡེ་སྲིད།; Wylie: sde-srid), Sanggye Gyatso. This was apparently done so that the Potala Palace could be finished, and to prevent Tibet's neighbours taking advantage of an interregnum in the succession of the Dalai Lamas.[13]

Tsangyang Gyatso, the Sixth Dalai Lama, was not enthroned until 1697. Tsangyang Gyatso enjoyed a lifestyle that included drinking, the company of women, and writing love songs.[14] In 1705, Lobzang Khan of the Khoshud used the sixth Dalai Lama's escapades as excuse to take control of Tibet. The regent was murdered, and the Dalai Lama sent to Beijing. He died on the way, near Koko Nur, ostensibly from illness. Lobzang Khan appointed a new Dalai Lama who, however was not accepted by the Gelugpa school. Kelzang Gyatso was discovered near Koko Nur and became a rival candidate.

The Dzungars invaded Tibet in 1717, and deposed and killed Lobzang Khan's pretender to the position of Dalai Lama. This was widely approved. However, they soon began to loot the holy places of Lhasa, which brought a swift response from Emperor Kangxi in 1718; but his military expedition was annihilated by the Dzungars, not far from Lhasa.[15][16]

A second, larger, expedition sent by Emperor Kangxi expelled the Dzungars from Tibet in 1720 and the troops were hailed as liberators. They brought Kelzang Gyatso with them from Kumbum to Lhasa and he was installed as the seventh Dalai Lama in 1721.[17]

"After him [Jamphel Gyatso the VIIIth Dalai Lama (1758–1804)], the IXth and Xth Dalai Lamas died before attaining their majority: one of them is credibly stated to have been murdered and strong suspicion attaches to the other. The XIth and XIIth were each enthroned but died soon after being invested with power. For 113 years, therefore, supreme authority in Tibet was in the hands of a Lama Regent, except for about two years when a lay noble held office and for short periods of nominal rule by the XIth and XIIth Dalai Lamas.
It has sometimes been suggested that this state of affairs was brought about by the Ambans—the Imperial Residents in Tibet—because it would be easier to control the Tibet through a Regent than when a Dalai Lama, with his absolute power, was at the head of the government. That is not true. The regular ebb and flow of events followed its set course. The Imperial Residents in Tibet, after the first flush of zeal in 1750, grew less and less interested and efficient. Tibet was, to them, exile from the urbanity and culture of Peking; and so far from dominating the Regents, the Ambans allowed themselves to be dominated. It was the ambition and greed for power of Tibetans that led to five successive Dalai Lamas being subjected to continuous tutelage."[18]

Thubten Jigme Norbu, the elder brother of the present 14th Dalai Lama, describes these unfortunate events as follows:

"It is perhaps more than a coincidence that between the seventh and the thirteenth holders of that office, only one reached his majority. The eighth, Gyampal Gyatso, died when he was in his thirties, Lungtog Gyatso when he was eleven, Tsultrim Gyatso at eighteen, Khadrup Gyatso when he was eighteen also, and Krinla Gyatso at about the same age. The circumstances are such that it is very likely that some, if not all, were poisoned, either by loyal Tibetans for being Chinese-appointed impostors, or by the Chinese for not being properly manageable."[19]

Throne awaiting Dalai Lama's return. Summer residence of 13th Dalai Lama, Nechung, Tibet.

Thubten Gyatso, the 13th Dalai Lama, assumed ruling power from the monasteries, which previously had great influence on the Regent, during 1895. Due to his two periods of exile in 1904–1909, to escape the British invasion of 1904, and from 1910–1912 to escape a Chinese invasion, he became well aware of the complexities of international politics and was the first Dalai Lama to become aware of the importance of foreign relations. After his return from exile in India and Sikkim during January 1913, he assumed control of foreign relations and dealt directly with the Maharaja and the British Political officer in Sikkim and the king of Nepal rather than letting the Kashag or parliament do it.[20]

Thubten Gyatso issued a Declaration of Independence for his kingdom in Central Tibet from China during the summer of 1912 and standardised a Tibetan flag, though no other sovereign state recognized the independence.[21] He expelled the Ambans and all Chinese civilians in the country, and instituted many measures to modernise Tibet. These included provisions to curb excessive demands on peasants for provisions by the monasteries and tax evasion by the nobles, setting up an independent police force, the abolishment of the death penalty, extension of secular education, and the provision of electricity throughout the city of Lhasa in the 1920s.[22] Thubten Gyatso died in 1933.

The 14th Dalai Lama was not formally enthroned until 17 November 1950, during the People's Republic of China invasion of the kingdom. In 1951, he and the Tibetan government formally accepted the Seventeen Point Agreement by which Tibet was formally incorporated into the People's Republic of China. Fearing for his life in the wake of a revolt in Tibet in 1959, the 14th Dalai Lama fled to India where he has led a government in exile since.[23][24]. In 2001, he ceded his absolute power over the government to an elected parliament of selected Tibetan exiles. His original goal was full independence for Tibet, but by the late 1980s, he was seeking high-level autonomy instead.[25] He is still seeking greater autonomy from China, although he has threatened to go back to advocating independence if this strategy does not work.[26]

[edit] Residence

Starting with the 5th Dalai Lama and until the 14th Dalai Lama's flight into exile during 1959, the Dalai Lamas spent the winter at the Potala Palace and the summer at the Norbulingka palace and park. Both are in Lhasa and approximately 3 km apart.

Following the failed 1959 Tibetan uprising, the 14th Dalai Lama sought refuge in India. The then Indian Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, allowed in the Dalai Lama and his coterie of Tibetan government officials. The Dalai Lama has since lived in exile in Dharamsala, in the state of Himachal Pradesh in northern India, where the Central Tibetan Administration is also established. Tibetan refugees have constructed and opened many schools and Buddhist temples in Dharamsala.[27]

[edit] Searching for the r

By the Himalayan tradition, phowa (Tibetan) is the discipline that transfers the mindstream to the intended body. Upon the death of the Dalai Lama and consultation with the Nechung Oracle, a search for the Lama's reincarnation, or yangsi (yang srid), is conducted. Traditionally it has been the responsibility of the High Lamas of the Gelugpa Tradition and the Tibetan government to find his reincarnation. The process can take around two or three years to identify the Dalai Lama, and for the 14th, Tenzin Gyatso it was four years before he was found. The search for the Dalai Lama has usually been limited historically to Tibet, although the third tulku was born in Mongolia. Tenzin Gyatso, though, has stated that he will not be reborn in the People's Republic of China.[28] In his autobiography, Freedom In Exile, he states that if Tibet is not free, he will reincarnate elsewhere."

The High Lamas used several ways in which they can increase the chances of finding the reincarnation. High Lamas often visit the holy lake, called Lhamo La-tso, in central Tibet and watch for a sign from the lake itself. This may be either a vision or some indication of the direction in which to search and this was how Tenzin Gyatso was found. It is said that Palden Lhamo, the female guardian spirit of the sacred lake, Lhamo La-tso, promised Gendun Drup, the 1st Dalai Lama in one of his visions "that she would protect the reincarnation lineage of the Dalai Lamas." Ever since the time of Gendun Gyatso, the 2nd Dalai Lama, who formalised the system, the Regents and other monks have gone to the lake to seek guidance on choosing the next reincarnation through visions while meditating there.[29]

The particular form of Palden Lhamo at Lhamo La-tso is Gyelmo Maksorma, "The Victorious One who Turns Back Enemies". The lake is sometimes referred to as "Pelden Lhamo Kalideva", which indicates that Palden Lhamo is an emanation of the goddess Kali, the shakti of the Hindu God Śhiva.[30]

Lhamo Latso ... [is] a brilliant azure jewel set in a ring of grey mountains. The elevation and the surrounding peaks combine to give it a highly changeable climate, and the continuous passage of cloud and wind creates a constantly moving pattern on the surface of the waters. On that surface visions appear to those who seek them in the right frame of mind.[31]

It was here that during 1935, the Regent, Reting Rinpoche, received a clear vision of three Tibetan letters and of a monastery with a jade-green and gold roof, and a house with turquoise roof tiles, which led to the discovery of Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama.[32][33][34]

High Lamas may also have a vision by a dream or if the Dalai Lama was cremated, they will often monitor the direction of the smoke as an indication of the direction of the rebirth.[28]

Once the High Lamas have found the home and the boy they believe to be the reincarnation, the boy undergoes a series of tests to affirm the rebirth. They present a number of artefacts, only some of which belonged to the previous Dalai Lama, and if the boy chooses the items which belonged to the previous Dalai Lama, this is seen as a sign, in conjunction with all of the other indications, that the boy is the reincarnation.

If there is only one boy found, the High Lamas will invite Living Buddhas of the three great monasteries together with secular clergy and monk officials, to confirm their findings and will then report to the Central Government through the Minister of Tibet. Later a group consisting of the three major servants of Dalai Lama, eminent officials and troops will collect the boy and his family and travel to Lhasa, where the boy would be taken, usually to Drepung Monastery to study the Buddhist sutra in preparation for assuming the role of spiritual leader of Tibet.[28]

However, if there are several possibilities of the reincarnation, in the past regents and eminent officials and monks at the Jokhang in Lhasa, and the Minister to Tibet would decide on the individual by putting the boys' names inside an urn and drawing one lot in public if it was too difficult to judge the reincarnation initially.[35]

[edit] List of Dalai Lamas

The 14th Dalai Lama (religious name: Tenzin Gyatso, shortened from Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso, born Lhamo Dondrub,[2] 6 July 1935) is the 14th and current Dalai Lama. Dalai Lamas are the most influential figures in the Gelugpa lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, although the 14th has consolidated control over the other lineages in recent years. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, and is also well known for his lifelong advocacy for Tibetans inside and outside Tibet. Tibetans traditionally believe him to be the reincarnation of his predecessors and a manifestation of the Bodhisattva of Compassion.

The Dalai Lama was born in Taktser, Qinghai, and was selected as the rebirth of the 13th Dalai Lama two years later, although he was only formally recognized as the 14th on 17 November 1950, at the age of 15. He inherited control over a government controlling an area roughly corresponding to the Tibet Autonomous Region just as the nascent People's Republic of China wished to reassert central control over it. There is a dispute over whether the respective governments reached an agreement for a joint Communist-Lamaist administration.

During the 1959 Tibetan uprising, which China regards as an uprising of feudal landlords, the Dalai Lama, who regards the uprising as an expression of widespread discontent, fled to India, where he denounced the People's Republic and established a Tibetan government in exile. A charismatic speaker, he has since traveled the world, advocating for the welfare of Tibetans, teaching Tibetan Buddhism and talking about the importance of compassion as the source of a happy life. Around the world, institutions face pressure from China not to accept him. He has spoken about such topics as abortion, economics, firearms, and sexuality, and has attracted controversy for his treatment of Dorje Shugden followers, his relationship with the CIA, and other issues.

Lhamo Döndrub (or Thondup) was born on 6 July 1935 to a farming and horse trading family in the small hamlet of Taktser,[1] in the eastern border of the former Tibetan region of Amdo, then already incorporated into the Chinese province of Qinghai.[3][4] He was one of seven siblings to survive childhood. The eldest was his sister Tsering Dolma, eighteen years older. His eldest brother, Thupten Jigme Norbu, had been recognised at the age of eight as the reincarnation of the high Lama Taktser Rinpoche. His sister, Jetsun Pema, spent most of her adult life on the Tibetan Children's Villages project. The Dalai Lama's first language was, in his own words, "a broken Xining language which was (a dialect of) the Chinese language" as his family did not speak the local Tibetan language.[5]

The Dalai Lama and his family spoke a dialect of Xining Chinese as their primary language prior to 1939 when they relocated to Lhasa.[6]

Tibetans traditionally believe Dalai Lamas to be the reincarnation of their predecessors, each of whom is believed to be a human emanation of the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara. A search party was sent to locate the new incarnation when the boy who was to become the 14th was about two years old.[7] It is said that, amongst other omens, the head of the embalmed body of the thirteenth Dalai Lama, at first facing south-east, had mysteriously turned to face the northeast—indicating the direction in which his successor would be found. The Regent, Reting Rinpoche, shortly afterwards had a vision at the sacred lake of Lhamo La-tso indicating Amdo as the region to search—specifically a one-story house with distinctive guttering and tiling. After extensive searching, the Thondup house, with its features resembling those in Reting's vision, was finally found.

Thondup was presented with various relics, including toys, some of which had belonged to the 13th Dalai Lama and some of which had not. It was reported that he had correctly identified all the items owned by the previous Dalai Lama, exclaiming, "That's mine! That's mine!"[8]

The Chinese Muslim General Ma Bufang did not want the 14th Dalai Lama to succeed his predecessor. Ma Bufang stationed his men to place the Dalai Lama under effective house arrest, saying it was needed for "protection", refusing to permit his leaving to Tibet.[9] He did all he could to delay the transport of the Dalai Lama from Qinghai to Tibet, by demanding massive sums of money in silver.[10] The demanded payment by Ma Bufang was 100,000 Chinese silver dollars.[11]

Lhamo Thondup was recognised formally as the reincarnated Dalai Lama and renamed Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso (Holy Lord, Gentle Glory, Compassionate, Defender of the Faith, Ocean of Wisdom) although he was not formally enthroned as the temporal ruler of Tibet until the age of 15; instead, the regent acted as the head of the Kashag until that time. Tibetan Buddhists normally refer to him as Yishin Norbu (Wish-Fulfilling Gem), Kyabgon (Saviour), or just Kundun (Presence). His devotees often call him His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the style employed on the Dalai Lama's website.

Monastic education commenced at the age of six years, his principal teachers being Yongdzin Ling Rinpoche (senior tutor) and Yongdzin Trijang Rinpoche (junior tutor). At the age of 11 he met the Austrian mountaineer Heinrich Harrer, who became his videographer and tutor about the world outside Lhasa. Harrer effectively became one of the young Dalai Lama's tutors, teaching him about the outside world. The two remained friends until Harrer's death in 2006.[12]

During 1959, at the age of 23, he took his final examination at Lhasa's Jokhang Temple during the annual Monlam or prayer Festival. He passed with honours and was awarded the Lharampa degree, the highest-level geshe degree, roughly equivalent to a doctorate in Buddhist philosophy.

Life as the Dalai Lam