17 November 1950

Lhamo Dondrub is officially named the 14th Dalai Lama.

The 14th Dalai Lama religious name: Tenzin Gyatso, shortened from Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso; born Lhamo Thondup, 6 July 1935 is the current Dalai Lama. Dalai Lamas are important monks of the Gelug school, the newest school of Tibetan Buddhism which was formally headed by the Ganden Tripas. From the time of the 5th Dalai Lama to 1959, the central government of Tibet, the Ganden Phodrang, invested the position of Dalai Lama with temporal duties.

The 14th Dalai Lama was born in Taktser, Amdo, Tibet, and was selected as the tulku of the 13th Dalai Lama in 1937 and formally recognized as the 14th Dalai Lama at a public declaration near the town of Bumchen in 1939. His enthronement ceremony as the Dalai Lama was held in Lhasa on 22 February 1940, and he eventually assumed full temporal duties on 17 November 1950, at the age of 15, after the People’s Republic of China’s incorporation of Tibet. The Gelug school’s government administered an area roughly corresponding to the Tibet Autonomous Region just as the nascent PRC wished to assert control over it.

During the 1959 Tibetan uprising, the Dalai Lama fled to India, where he currently lives as a refugee. The 14th Dalai Lama received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. Time Magazine named him one of the “Children of Mahatma Gandhi” and his spiritual heir to nonviolence. He has traveled the world and has spoken about the welfare of Tibetans, environment, economics, women’s rights, non-violence, interfaith dialogue, physics, astronomy, Buddhism and science, cognitive neuroscience, reproductive health, and sexuality, along with various topics of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhist teachings.

17 November 1950

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Lhamo Dondrub is made the 14th Dalai Lama.

The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is a living paradox; he upholds compassion and nonviolence while battling for his people’s rights. While his right foot was on the pulpit teaching the Buddhist canon, his left rested on the seat of the Tibetan government.There were 13 Dalai Lamas before him, but Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso, or simply “Tenzin Gyatso,” may be the most loved and decorated of them all. Because of the belief that Dalai Lamas are reincarnated beings of their god, the 14th Dalai Lama must be considered the best of his reborn self.

But, really, the 14th Dalai Lama is different in many ways, perhaps because he was born at a chaotic time which called for an extraordinary spiritual and political leader to inspire the oppressed Tibetan people.The Dalai Lama has used his influence to rally for the support of nations for years. While he knows that he is fighting for justice, he is well aware of how dirty politics can be. But as long as he is there to cast light to his people, they will never get lost. In spite of what he has accomplished, he still humbly thinks of himself as a “simple monk.” Apparently, humility is another virtue he has also mastered.