10 Things About The Dalai Lama You Didn’t Know

Dalai Lama

It seems that everyone in the world is smitten with this humble leader; after all, his image is used everywhere as a sign of hope.
But while we may know a great deal about him, there is still much to be learned, because religious figures are usually shrouded with mystery…whether it pertains to their origins, practices, or even death.
Here are 10 things you did not know about the Dalai Lama:


The current Dalai Lama is the 14th of his line and has a very long name: Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso.
This means Holy Lord, Gentle Glory, Compassionate, Defender of the Faith, Ocean of Wisdom.
But that is his religious name. His actual name is Lhamo Dondrub.


Each Dalai Lama (including this one) are said to be a manifestation of the Bodhisattva of Compassion.
These chosen ones are said to have postponed their ‘nirvana’ so as to be rebirthed with the purpose of serving humanity.
This Dalai Lama is the 74th incarnation of Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva.


Considered to be important monks of the Gelug school, this reincarnation of the Dalai Lama has been the longest living incumbent and is 80 years old.
He was born in Taktser village in Amdo, Tibet.
In fact, his very birth was on the floor of a cowshed of his family’s farm and was one of the seven out of 16 children who survived infancy.


Gyatso was recognized to be the successor to the 13th Dalai Lama by a simple test.
At age two, he was asked to identify certain articles of clothing that belonged to the Dalai Lama before him.
One such article was the 13th Dalai Lama’s rosary.
Once he passed the tests, he assumed the throne at the age of four while becoming a monk at age six.
From the age of five, he began his training at a monastery in Kumbum.
His favorite game was to play with two white mice who distracted him from his studies on a daily basis.


When asked what he would be if he wasn’t the Dalai Lama, he responded that engineering would be his passion.
In particular, he’s been fascinated with neuroplasticity – the study of how the brain rewires itself.


It should be surprising that his hobbies include gardening and meditation; but oddly enough, he enjoys collecting and repairing watches too.


The Dalai Lama fled to India during the 1959 Tibetan uprising and has been living there ever since as a refugee.
In fact, he has gone so far as to say that he is a ‘son of India’ which drew criticism from the Chinese.
But he was definitely within his rights to say so, since Buddhism began in Nalanda, a province of India.


The current Dalai Lama won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for advocating the liberation of Tibet from China peacefully.
He shared the award with Mikhail Gorbachev.


So, what will happen when the Dalai Lama dies?
According to him, either the tradition will die or there will be a rival of Dalai Lamas selected by both the exiled Tibetan community and China.

In Closing

Given his current age, there’s no doubt that he will not live for very long.
Still, he has lived a long and interesting Life with a big following, both celebrities and lay people showing great affection.
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