DALAI LAMA : Past, Present and the Future

DALAI LAMA … what is it ?

3 Lessons From the Dalai Lama's Morning Routine | Goalcast

Many of you might be finding my question absurd, but did you know that ‘Dalai Lama’ is not the name of the person but it is a ‘POST’ of a spiritual leader in Tibet. Actually … even I came to know about this fact only while studying for this Article. So what does a Dalai Lama do, how is he chosen and what are the issues concerning it with Tibet and China. Let’s try to find answers to these questions.

Significance of a Dalai Lama

Dalai Lama is a spiritual leader of Tibet who propagates Buddhist teachings internationally … though have served politically as well. The current Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso is the 14th of that sort (real name Lhamo Dhondup). The 14 generations have spanned over 6 decades with the first one identified way back in 15th century. A Dalai Lama is chosen by senior monastic disciples based on spiritual signs and visions.

A Dalai Lama is considered an AVALOKITESVARA, which means a Bodhisattva who embodies the compassion of all Buddhas and has achieved NIRVANA (liberation from birth and death cycle). It is believed that a Dalai Lama never dies and only reincarnates in the form of another Dalai Lama. There is another concept, an identified lineage of rebirths called TULKU, developed by Tibetan Buddhists which is used for a Bodhisattva who is believed to be a reincarnation of previous teacher, master or leader. ‘Dalai Lama’ is the most special lineage amongst many such.

History of Tenzin Gyatso

The current Dalai Lama was enthroned merely at the age of 4 years. As soon as the 13th Dalai Lama died, quest for the 14th began and how. The body of 13th Dalai Lama was laid facing south after death with his head tilted east, after a few days and very unusually a Fungus appeared on the northeastern side of the shrine containing the body. All this was interpreted to mean that the next Dalai Lama will be somewhere in the ‘Northeastern part of Tibet’. The monastic attendants also checked Lhamoi Latso lake which is traditionally used to see the visions of location of Dalai Lama’s rebirth.

Dokham district matched all those criterion and a 2 year old LHAMO DHONDUP ended their Quest. Though he was dressed only as a Servant at that time and the search party came without revealing their identity. According to the ‘Selection Procedure’ a Dalai Lama must identify the items of previous Dalai Lama. The young boy asked for Rosary Beads wore by one of the monks (of search party) which belonged to the 13th Dalai Lama. After this, the search party revisited with some other items of previous Dalai Lama like a Traditional Drum and Walking Stick and guess what, the young boy was able to identify all of them correctly. Finally the next Dalai Lama was chosen and renamed as Tenzin Gyatso.

The Chinese Invasion

In 1950 China invaded Tibet and the Dalai Lama had to flee to India . China has throughout wanted to take full control of Tibet and even this Dalai Lama selection process. Earlier there was a post of Panchen Lama as well, the second highest Lama in Tibet who was instrumental in selecting the next Dalai Lama. But in 1995, China abducted Ghedhun Choekyi Nyima (then Panchen Lama) and appointed its own candidate to take control of the ‘Dalai Lama selection process’ though he is completely rejected by all Tibetans. China even wants to appoint its own Dalai Lama but has not been successful as that selection process is completely in the hands of Tibet and also Tibetans will never accept him.

But despite being away from Tibet he serves as the highest profile global advocate of Tibet. He is highly respected and recognised worldwide as a religious and moral leader and he serves that recognition, travelling the world and spreading spiritual and ethical teachings. He was also awarded Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.

Situation inside Tibet

But despite all this, support and revere for Dalai Lama inside Tibet is way too much. Getting fed up of it, China has not only banned his image inside Tibet, but also announces his Denunciation frequently. If anyone praises and wishes for Dalai Lama or even just refuses to denounce him, he is punished.

Compassion & Technology and the Life of the… | The 14th Dalai Lama

There have been numerous cases where Tibetans were tortured over Dalai Lama :

1. 26 nuns were once expelled not for denouncing him,

2. Fires were opened on people gathered for Dalai Lama’s birthday.

3. A monk was jailed after Dalai Lama’s teachings were found his room

China has been occupying Tibet since 1949 and will torture and kill  peaceful protestors who advocate for Tibetan freedom. : pics

These are only some of the many examples of the poison that China spits in the name of Dalai Lama. China even accuses Dalai Lama of being a ‘spittist’ who is hampering national harmony by controlling resentment and outrage inside Tibet. Even the foreign leaders meeting him is objected by China, including Dalai Lama residing in India.

Conclusion : What will happen in Future … ?????

Currently, Dalai Lama has said that Tibetans will never accept China appointed Dalai Lama. He has also said that maybe he will be the LAST EVER Dalai Lama and this post could end with him. He has alternatively said that his reincarnation (if happens) might be a girl as well (but a Beautiful one) and it might take birth abroad also (Most probably INDIA). India has always supported Dalai Lama and should continue to do so despite any resistance posed by China.

So it is beyond doubt that Dalai Lama is a very interesting concept, specially its selection process. The way Tibetans have stood with their Dalai Lama despite all the hardships and sufferings is commendable, and so is the dedication of Tenzin Gyatso while serving the post with full enthusiasm even at the age of 80s. It will be very interesting to see what option he opts regarding the future of Dalai Lama.




References :

  1. How the Dalai Lama is chosen and why China wants to appoint its own, by Brooke Schedneck July 3, 2019
  2. THE DALAI LAMA AND TIBET, by Free Tibet


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