The 14th Dalai Lama is perhaps one of the most interesting and significant public figures of the modern era. His struggle to maintain the culture, identity, and religion of the Tibetan people are renowned. The Dalai Lama’s peaceful manner and joyful approach to life is inspiring, despite the fact that he has lived most of his adult life as “a stateless refugee in India” (Beyond Religion, 2011). The Dalai Lama’s life path is endlessly uplifting as a humanitarian example and his role in modern history is difficult to overestimate.
The Dalai Lama was born in 1935 to a family of poor farmers in Taktser, a small village in the Amdo province (From Birth to Exile, n.d.) of what was then known as Tibet. These humble beginnings contrasted starkly with the new life into which he was thrust into when he was declared to be the “new incarnation of the Dalai Lama” when he was not quite three years old (From Birth to Exile, n.d.). In 1959, he had to flee to India because of the Tibetan uprising; there he denounced the People’s Republic of China and established a Tibetan government while in exile. Since that time, he has traveled around the world propagating the ideals of peace and equality, advocating the welfare of Tibetans, and propagating the ideals of Tibetan Buddhism. Many people around the world know the Dalai Lama primarily as an influential political leader and the Nobel Peace Prize winner.
Dalai Lama’s spirituality and wisdom is the subject of admiration among his followers. According to the Dalai Lama’s webpage, “he frequently states that his life is guided by three major commitments: the promotion of basic human values or secular ethics in the interest of human happiness, the fostering of inter-religious harmony and the welfare of the Tibetan people, focusing on the survival of their identity, culture and religion” (dalailama.com, n.d.). In his book, The Art of Happiness, the Dalai Lama lays out his blueprint for achieving happiness through training the mind. He often emphasizes how important compassion is as a source of a happy life for every human being. The Dalai Lama has always been the incarnation and conductor of his ideas into the world and many people have changed their lives with the help of his teachings.
Many of Dalai Lama’s philosophical and ethical views come from, or are a continuation of, the ancient Buddhist teachings. The Dalai Lama has spent a lifetime learning Buddhist philosophy and methods of meditation. He has worked tirelessly to promote peace throughout the world using his knowledge of Buddhist precepts as his guide (Living Wisdom, 2006). One of the key points of his doctrine is a concept of non-violence, not only toward human beings, but all living creatures. Together with other great teachers of humanity, Dalai Lama prescribes us to be patient towards each other, to resolve conflicts peacefully, and to be tolerant of the flaws of other people. The strengths of these conceptions are multiplied by Dalai Lama’s personal charisma, his ability to persuade, and his authority as a religious and philosophical guru.
The Dalai Lama is a complex person who has lived a fascinating life. His whole existence has been marked with his recognition of himself as the reincarnated leader of Tibetan Buddhism. Though he is seen as a political figure, he is also renowned for dedicating his life to advocating the rights and the well-being of Tibetan people and to propagating the ideals of peace and tolerance. The 14th Dalai Lama possesses a strong and charismatic personality; he is a living embodiment of his own teaching about the importance of love and compassion. While many of his ideas have their roots in ancient Buddhism, the Dalai Lama has made them easier to understand for many of his followers all over the world.
Dalai Lama (2011). Beyond Religion. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing.
Dalai Lama & Cutler, H.C., M.D. (2009). The Art of Happiness. New York, NY: Riverhead Books.
Farber, D. & The Dalai Lama (2006). Living Wisdom. Boulder, CO: Sounds True.
From Birth to Exile (n.d.). His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet. Retrieved from http://www.dalailama.com/biography/from-birth-to-exile.
Welcome (n.d.). His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet. Retrieved from http:www.dalailama.com.
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