The 14th Dalai Lama (religious name: Tenzin Gyatso, shortened from Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso; born Lhamo Dhondup; 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, Qinghai, Republic of China. He was selected as the tulku of the 13th Dalai Lama in 1937 and formally recognized as the 14th Dalai Lama in a public declaration near the town of Bumchen in 1939. On 26 January 1940, the Regent Reting Rinpoche requested the Central Government to exempt Tenzin Gyatso from the lot-drawing process of the Golden Urn to become the 14th Dalai Lama. The request was approved by the Central Government. His enthronement ceremony as the Dalai Lama was held in Lhasa on 22 February 1940 and he eventually assumed full temporal (political) duties on 17 November 1950, at the age of 15, after the People’s Republic of China’s occupation 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. He has traveled the world and has spoken about the welfare of Tibetans, environment, economics, women’s rights, nonviolence, interfaith dialogue, physics, astronomy, Buddhism and science, cognitive neuroscience, reproductive health, and sexuality, along with various topics of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhist teachings. A recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 and the US Congressional Gold Medal in 2006, Time magazine named him one of the “Children of Mahatma Gandhi” and Gandhi’s spiritual heir to nonviolence.
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