Biography of S.S. The Dalai Lama
and the path of non-violence
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is the spiritual and temporal leader of Tibetan people. He was born on July 6,1935 July, in a small village called Taktser in northeastern Tibet, and was called Lhamo Dhondup. Born to a peasant family His Holiness was recognized at the age of two in accordance with Tibetan tradition, as the reincarnation of his predecessor the 13th Dalai Lama. His Holiness is an incarnation of Avalokitesvara, the Buddha of Compassion.
November 17, 1950 His Holiness was called upon to assume full political responsibility (Head of the state and Government) when Tibet was threatened by the might of China. In 1954, he went to Beijing to hold peace talks with Mao Tsetung and other chinese leaders, including Chou En- Lai and Deng Xiaoping.
In 1956, while visiting India to attend the 2.500th birth anniversary of the Buddha, he had a series of meetings with Indian Prime Minister Nehru and Premier Chou about the deteriorating situation in Tibet.
His efforts to bring about a peaceful solution to the Sino-Tibetan problem were frustrated by Beijing’s ruthless policy in eastern Tibet, which led a popular uprising. This resistance movement spread to other parts of the country, and on March 10, 1959, the capital of Tibet, Lhasa, exploded with a massive demonstration, called on China to leave Tibet and reaffirmed Tibet’s independency. His Holiness escaped to India where he was given political asylum. Some 80,000 Tibetan refugees at the time managed to follow His Holiness into exile.
In the early years of exile, His Holiness appealed to the United Nations on the question of Tibet, resulting in three resolutions adopted by the General Assembly in 1959, 1961 and 1965, calling on China to respect the human rights of Tibetans and their right to the self-determination. With the re-establishment of the Tibetan Government in India, His Holiness saw that his immediate and urgent task was to preserve Tibetan culture.
In 1963, His Holiness promulgated a democratic constitution, based on Buddhist principles and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a model for a future free Tibet.. Since then, His Holiness has been the most rigorous advocate for the refugees’ own democratic experiment, while consistently reaffirming his desire not to hold political office once Tibet regains his independence. His Holiness continues to present new initiatives to resolve the Tibetan issue.
In spite of all this, the Dalai Lama hasn’t lost his hope and his determination to obtain justice for his people. For over 40 years he has struggled with this giant (China) not with anger, but with compassion, in a non-violent way, armed only with the truth. His strategy has been to attract world attention towards the Tibetan crisis in the belief that the justice of its cause will cause the changes in the Chinese policy towards Tibet.
December 10, 1989 His Holiness was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his perseverance in striving for a non-violent solution for Tibet in the struggle of Tibetan people to recover their freedom. He is honorary member of the International Coalition for the Decade for the Culture of peace and non-violence.