Tenzin Gyatso was born Llhamo Döndrub in 1935 in North-Eastern Tibet and was just like any other normal child until the age of two when he was recognized as the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama before him. When he was fifteen years old he took on a huge role and became a political leader for Tibet as a response to the invasion of Tibet by the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army. At the age of twenty-five he graduated with a doctorate of Buddhist philosophy. Since 1960 he has been living in exile in Dharamsala, India.
The Dalai Lama has made many contributions to Buddhism and has changed it in many ways for the better. One of these contributions was the putting together of a Five Point Peace Plan for Tibetan independence and for the restoration of peace and human rights in Tibet. The plan is as follows:Transformation of the whole of Tibet into a zone of Ahimsa, a demilitarised zone of peace and non-violence.
Abandonment of china’s population transfer policy, which threatened the very existence of the Tibetans as people.
Respect for the Tibetan people’s fundamental human rights and democratic freedoms.
Restoration of the protection of Tibet’s natural environment and abandonment of China’s use of Tibet for the production of nuclear weapons and dumping of nuclear waste.
Commencement of earnest negotiations on the future status of Tibet and of relations between the Tibetan and Chinese people.
On 10th of December 1989 the Dalai Lama was awarded the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize. It was given to him in recognition of his struggle for the freedom of Tibet and the fact that in this struggle he has opposed the use of violence in order to resolve the problem and has, as an alternative, advocated peaceful solutions based on tolerance and mutual respect. He accepted the prize on behalf of the oppressed everywhere and everyone who struggles for freedom and work towards world peace and also for the people of Tibet.
The Dalai Lama has frequently met with religious leaders on many different occasions in order to engage in discussions about religious issues. People that he has met with include Pope Paul IV, Pope John Paul II, Jewish teachers for extensive interfaith dialogue, Pope Benedict XVI, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Robert Runcie and other leaders of the Anglican Church in London, as well as Eastern Orthodox Church, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh officials.
The endless effort that the Dalai Lama has put into campaigning for the freedom of his people should be emphasized by the fact that he has done this all by his own will. He had no say in his recognition as the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama and had that life chosen for him but has still risen to the expectation of his people and to the expectation of the roles that a Dalai Lama should fulfil and has done so much more. He has gained the trust of his peoples and lead their hopes and guided their aspirations.
The Dalai Lama has shown his people how to act by not only educating them of his ideas but by also supporting them with action and behaviour and setting an example. He has lived his beliefs and not shown hypocrisy by creating a difference between statement and action. He has set out to use his life as an example and has showed that one needs to put belief into action in order to make it worthwhile. The Dalai Lama has put his belief into action by going out of his way to spread the news of peace, compassion and care throughout his people and also all throughout the world.
The Dalai Lama has diligently lobbied and campaigned for the independence of Tibet and has travelled abroad on many occasions, to many different nations as part of his campaign. He also raises awareness for his cause all over the world. The Dalai Lama, unlike Dalai Lamas before him has travelled to many different countries all over the world spreading his ideas and discussing world issues with many westerners. Places that he has visited include the United States, Canada, Western Europe, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, Mongolia, Greece, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Nepal, Costa Rica, Mexico, the Vatican, China and Australia. He has also met with religious leaders of these countries.
The Dalai Lama is a spiritual leader for the Tibetan people but is also a political leader and has the responsibility as a spokesman for the Tibetan people and he wishes to represent their struggle for freedom and justice.
Tenzin Gyatso has had a greater effect on Buddhism and the followers of Buddhism than any other Dalai Lama. He has become a face for Buddhism especially in the western world, when many people think of Buddhism the first thing they think of is the XIVth Dalai Lama. He has affected and changed the understanding and attitudes of the world towards Buddhism and Buddhism is beginning to spread further into the western world which has caused Buddhism to become one of the most popular religions in the world.
Due to the Dalai Lamas endless efforts and actions in an attempt to achieve world peace he has become one of the best known advocates for peace in the world today. Regardless of his suffering, and in some ways because of it the Dalai Lama has become a truly international figure and has been invited to all corners of the world to give talks and in order for people to engage in hours of discussions with him.
The Dalai Lama does not try to convert people to his religion and does not try no extend his power over the world or extend Buddhism he just simply informs people of his beliefs and ideas in order to make the world a better place. He promotes religious harmony and an understanding of all religious beliefs and respects other cultures.
He believes that all humans are equal and therefore should be treated with equality. He strongly believes in and promotes the human values of compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, contentment, universal responsibility and self discipline. “The need for simple human-to-human relationships is becoming increasingly urgent . . . Today the world is smaller and more interdependent. One nation’s problems can no longer be solved by itself completely.
Thus, without a sense of universal responsibility, our very survival becomes threatened. Basically, universal responsibility is feeling for other people’s suffering just as we feel our own. It is the realization that even our enemy is entirely motivated by the quest for happiness. We must recognize that all beings want the same thing that we want. This is the way to achieve a true understanding, unfettered by artificial consideration.” – Dalai Lama.
The Dalai Lama has presented his views on many modern issues. These include:Homosexuality – should be accepted but not within Buddhism or for Buddhists.
“If the two people have taken no vows [of chastity] and neither is harmed, why should it not be acceptable?”Abortion- he is opposed to, but it depends on the circumstances for example if the child is going to be born deformed or if giving birth is going to cause harm to the mother.
Bibliography: Websiteshttp://www.1000ventures.com/business_guide/crosscuttings/cultures_buddhism_dalai_lama.htmlhttp://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G1-131433480.htmlhttp://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/d/dalai_lama.htmlhttp://www.savetibet.org/tibet/hhdl/5pointplan.phpwww.dalailama.comen.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tenzin_Gyatso,_14th_Dalai_Lamahttp://www.tibet.com/DL/http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1989/lama-bio.htmlBooksNoble, P. HSC Studies of Religion Revised Edition, Macquarie.
Gibb, C. The Dalai Lama – Peacemaker From Tibet, Great Britain: Hodder Wayland, 2002Hatier, F. The Spirit of Peace – Teachings on Love, Compassion and Everyday Life – His Holiness the Dalai Lama, London: Thorsons, 2002.